What will Obama say in Egypt?
|Thursday, May 21,2009 14:52|
|By Ali Bulaç|
US President Barack Hussein Obama"s election as US president incited great hopes in the Muslim world. The public expected that Obama would abandon Bush"s policy of categorizing Muslim countries and Muslims as the "other," engage in dialogue with actors in conflict-prone regions deeply entrenched in crisis and eliminate major cases of perceived unfairness.
Under such circumstances, is there anything more natural than for Muslims to establish "good relations" with the US? Even in Iran, which America had included in the "axis of evil," women distributed halvah to express their happiness a day after Obama was elected as president.
Unfortunately, certain signs began emerging without out delay that these expectations were grounded on artificial facts. But hopes began fading about the Obama-led American administration and millions of people experienced some kind of disappointment. Israel launched an atrocious attack against Gaza during the lame-duck period in the American administration on Dec. 22, 2008; the assault continued for 22 days and thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, were killed. Obama remained silent while Israeli soldiers congratulated each other on the number of children they killed as if they were playing a deadly video game online and used phosphorus bombs over defenseless school children.
The US said it would gradually withdraw its troops from Iraq, yet drone missile attacks continue to target civilian-populated areas. But what"s worse is that American and NATO assaults on civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan are reaching extremely serious levels. America is continuing to attack civilians just about every day in the name of "isolating the Taliban and making it ineffective," and has announced that is has no plan to stop the attacks.
On June 4, 2009, Obama is going to address the Muslim world from Egypt. Most likely he will announce that there is no clash between America and the Muslim world and push for dialogue. But Obama"s plan to deliver a speech is not sparking excitement or leading to the rise of new hopes and expectations. In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt claims that Obama"s plan to send messages to the Muslim world is part of plans to create division between Arab and Muslim countries. Deputy leader Mohamed Habib said America"s suggestion to countries like Syria and Iran and recent visits by US officials to Egypt and Saudi Arabia were part of plans to further its pro-Israeli agenda.
Is Habib wrong? According to the Muslim Brotherhood, the stance the American administration has displayed up until now on democracy and human rights issues has not been in favor of Muslims. The strongest evidence of this is Westerners, especially Americans, are not subjected to the same oppression as Muslims. In Egypt and in other countries, when pressure is put on nongovernmental organizations that operate on Western funds and support, Western mechanisms mobilize, but when the basic rights of masses of Muslims are violated, no one does anything. Experts say that in order for the American administration to develop relations with Muslim communities and restore its image in the Muslim world, it needs to repair its relations with Muslim groups.
In Egypt, Obama is expected to a deliver a speech addressing the Muslim world in line with previously given promises. But Habib said, "The statements are rosy, but politics is not built on statements as much as it"s based on practices on the ground. Let"s wait and see."