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Sad Commentary on Western Civilisation


Howard's End: Sad Commentary on Western Civilisation

By Maree Howard

"If we agree that armed attack can properly achieve the purposes of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back the clock of internal order. We will have countenanced the use of force as a means of settling international differences and gaining national advantage. If the U.N. once admits that international disputes can be settled by using force, then we will have destroyed the very foundation of the organisation and our best hope of establishing a real world order" - (President Dwight D Eisenhower televised speech to the nation on February 20,1957.) Maree Howard writes.

It took twenty-seven years from the time of the U.N. partition decision creating Israel in November 1947 before the Palestinians could return to the U.N. and be granted a full hearing. Make no mistake, the Palestinian "question" remains at the root of Middle East troubles between the West and the East.

What a sad commentary on Western civilisation, and on the US in particular, which has opened its heart to every other oppressed, dispossed and disadvantaged people. When it came to the Palestinians, whose plight stemmed directly from the American act of opening its heart, its purse strings and its political power to redressing the wrongs done by Hitler, America immediately slammed its door to the Palestinians and cried "terrorism."

I quote the words of Professor Ya'cov Talmon an Israeli educator to Minister of Information Yisrael Galili, published in Ma'ariv in May 1969:-

" Don't forget, Your Excellency, that the Jewish national home and the establishment of the State of Israel were the result of an agreement between the great Powers imposed upon the Arabs. When, therefore, you say you do not recognise the Arabs of Palestine as a moral and legal entity in Palestine with specific national and popular characteristics, you are in fact saying they are 'natives,' with no identity of their own. In other words, Your Excellency, they have no rights as a community."

"Why should you, therefore, wonder when the Arabs or others describe you as colonisers and claim they cannot reach an agreement with you, because you simply do not recognise the principle of mutual respect, but look only toward expansion? Words are more painful than physical pain, and they are long remembered, even after the human body has been cured of its pain."

" And I ask you, what shall I answer the thinkers and educated people of other nations, when they ask me: why should not the Arabs join the ranks of the freedom fighters when he hears the word Galili?"

" You deprive him of his right to national existence and self-determination. When the British attempted to do the same with you, didn't the Haganah, the Irgun and the Stern Group resort to terror and violence? Yes, Mr Minister, I ask you most sincerely: what do you expect my answer to be? And I assure you most genuinely that I did not fabricate these questions, nor did I invent them. The duty of the historian impels him to see all aspects of a problem and not to be a liar or a propagandist."

Tomorrow, it seems, a "coalition of the willing" will go to war with Iraq and, it may be said, ultimately the Arab and Muslim world. The "coalition of the willing" will set-out to deliberately break international law and in doing so will likely destroy the very organisation, flawed though it is, that was our only hope of achieving global peace.

If we had invested in the Arab and Muslim populations a tenth of the energy, the passion, the ingenuity, the resourcefulness which we have spent in order to gain support for this war on Iraq, our global destiny may have been quite different. We were not ready for compromises, we did not regard it as a major problem, we did not make sufficient efforts to respect the views and wishes of the Arabs both inside and outside of Iraq. That is the original sin.


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