A few days ago The New York Times newspaper carried a picture of the Zionist Prime Minister Netanyahu holding a worldwide Internet "chat" in occupied Jerusalem. Netanyahu, who is thought to be well- versed with computers, was dictating to a typist as he fielded three- thousand queries.
The Israeli Prime Minister will be holding "chats" every Sunday. The Israelis who are masters of the "information game" - thanks to professional media people well-versed in several languages and also due to their own control of a large segment of the American media - have now ventured into the neutral area of the Internet.
The Internet does not belong to anyone and everyone can make use of it. The Zionists, masters at manipulating information, are now using this important vehicle of communication for their own benefit and to spread their lies.
Israel has thousands of pages on the Internet. It has placed maps and has placed its own historical perspectives across to millions of people who have no Arab alternative to read or view.
Netanyahu is a master at lies and distorting realties and facts. He uses every opportunity to project himself as a follower of peace and is slowly convincing others that it is the Arabs who do not want it. He used all available information resources to project his views.
Now he is promoting his theory that Israel - "exercising its moral and intellectual leadership, wealthy proud and strong" - would be the basis of a peaceful Middle East. And a 100-million people on the Internet are going to get doses of such propaganda.
He and his American allies have now embarked on a plan to hoodwink the Arabs using all available means of communications.
The Arabs in the meantime are forming committees and sub-committees on how to deal with the Internet.
The election of Ezzedine Laraki, a former prime minister of Morocco, to the post of secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) for a four-year term, will hopefully usher in needed changes.
The 54-member body has been criticized by many for not being strong enough to face the challenges confronting the Muslim world. In a fast changing world where might is right, the OIC needs to adapt if it is to be viewed seriously.
The Organization has many challenges to face, among them the correcting the global image of Islam. Politically the Organization has not been effective at stopping the bloodshed in several Muslim countries. The Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait, the Afghan civil war as well as other wars in several member states went on unabated. The OIC has had the clout to deal with these issues. The question of Muslim minorities and their persecution in several countries, especially India, was paid insufficient attention.
The OIC attempted to deal with some issues but, unlike such organizations as ASEAN, it is not taken very seriously. This is largely because the members themselves do not take it seriously; in fact many have not yet paid their dues. In this connection, it is worth that a $10-million donation by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd will surely help the OIC to carry out its work in the year 1997. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd also pledged all-out support to the Organization to carry out its mission in an effective manner.
Mr. Badrawi, Malaysia's foreign minister, has criticized the OIC for not living up to its ideals and goals. The Malaysians want the OIC to play a diverse role ranging from political affairs to economic, social, educational cohesion among Muslim states.
The outgoing OIC leader from Niger, Dr. Hamid Al-Gabid, has already called for closer cooperation among the 54-member states having a total Muslim population of 1.5 billion. Obviously, this is a tough assignment and Ezzedine Laraki will have to adopt some unpopular stands if he is to overcome the challenges of his new position.
Let us be optimistic on the future of the OIC.
In the past two or three years there has been a vigorous anti- smoking campaign almost all over the world and especially in the United States and Britain. Walking down almost any street you find men and women huddled near the door puffing away at their cigarette. These are office workers who are forced to pursue their pleasure because their work place has been designated a no-smoking zone.
Many airports in the United States too have now been affected by the no-smoking laws. Thus you find travelers having one last puff near the taxi stand or the parking lot.
But one could not imagine a day when a rail company would signal a new style of travel.
In a series of advertisements the Western Railway in Britain is announcing the introduction of mobile-phone-free carriages on some services. For mobiles are the new cigarettes; now that the smoker has been pushed out as a social misfit a new type of replacement has come and that is the mobile phone user. These people are now irritating many around them. You are enjoying yourself in a restaurant with your friend and engaging in pleasant conversation when this nasty jarring call rings and you notice people quickly going to their pockets to draw out their mobiles. Even movie-goers were not spared.
Advertisements before commencement of movies occur in theaters requesting viewers to switch off their mobiles. As waiters and reservations clerks of previous years asked "smoking or non-smoking?" the future ticket clerks will ask: "Phoning or non-phoning?" when you purchase your airline or train ticket.
Mobile phones therefore have become the new cigarettes and have become a social crutch by many who need something to do with their hands or with their lips, to stop biting their nails.
And like puffing too many cigarettes causes red eyes and coughing, we will begin to see evidence of people with bad headaches saying: "I used the mobile too much last night. I feel terrible." However, I am sure telephone companies will not feel that way.