A million, protest war in London but Arab streets are silent

Category: Europe, World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War Views: 3448

Could anything be more pathetic than the Arab demonstration against war? A million Britons marched in London, more than half a million Spaniards in Madrid; 200,000 in Paris and New York. And Cairo? Well, just 600 Egyptians turned up in their capital to protest at America's forthcoming invasion of brotherly Iraq - surrounded by 3,000 security police. By way of contrast - brave contrast - 2,000 Israelis protested in Tel Aviv against the war. 

What on earth is it with the Arabs? Of all people, they - and they alone - are likely to suffer in this American invasion of their homeland. They - and they alone - have the will and the ability to understand that this US military adventure is intended - as Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, frankly declared last week - to change the map of the Middle East. 

Yet, faced with catastrophe, the Arabs are like mice. Their leaders may agree with their people - but they will not let their people say so. 

President Mubarak of Egypt has made it all too clear there is little he can do to rein in President Bush. King Abdullah of Jordan has said there is almost "nothing" the Arabs can do to avert war. Which means Arabs ask, more and more, what their leaders are for. The presidents and kings of the Arab world agree with their people, it seems, but do not wish them to express the views they themselves hold. 

It's one thing for Mr. Mubarak to criticize the United States - quite another for Egyptians to do so. What on earth, one wonders, did the 3,000 Egyptian security police think as they surrounded their protesting brothers and sisters? 

True, 200,000 Syrians protested against the war in Damascus. But no one protests in Syria unless they are in accord with their government, which means that this particular "popular" protest was arranged by the Arab Socialist Baath Party of Syria. But at least the Syrians did not carry, as their neighbours in Beirut did, portraits of Saddam Hussein. For in Arab capital cities, there is a special problem. Repeatedly, Arab opposition to war is trammeled up with Arab support for the Iraqi dictator. 

In Cairo two weeks ago, pictures of the Iraqi leader detracted from anti-war protests. In Beirut on Saturday, men who had fought each other in Lebanon's 15-year civil war came together to oppose America's invasion of Iraq, but were then demeaned by far greater numbers of Lebanese who supported Saddam Hussein and carried pictures of the wretched man to prove it. 

Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese Hizbollah guerrilla army, castigated the Arabs for their "silence" and urged them to "re-evaluate" their attitude towards Europe following the protests against war - this, remember, from the man who leads an organization whose satellite groups once held dozens of Westerners hostage in Lebanon during the 1980s. 

Sayed Nasrallah also deplored the fact that "the greatest Muslim demonstration in history" - the gathering of two million Muslim pilgrims at Mecca for the Haj - had not used the slogan "Death to America" or "No to War". Nasrallah also accused "certain" Arab regimes of "supporting the war or approving of it in secret". And, of course, we all know who they are.

Source: The Independent

  Category: Europe, World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War
Views: 3448

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Older Comments:
I dont understand why the author of this feature doesnt have his own view, but just following the "blind" line of everyone. Sorry i do not agree at all with what did you wrote here.

Amazing isn't it ?????????
The Arabs themselves feel they are not humans and therefore target for extermination.
May Almighty help them reach this goal !!!!!!!!!!!!

For me too see Arabs stand idol while thousands might be killed by the misguided American invaison of Iraq is heart breaking! No matter who we are we are Human! No matter if you live in occupied Chechnya or occupied Tibet, the enemy is the same! Communism, Nazism, Zionism; PURE HATE! All Human people should present solderity against the Bush vendetta! Arabic Pride, Altaic Pride, Afircan Pride, Farsi Pride, Pakistani Pride, Indian Pride, HUMAN PRIDE FOREVER! ATLANTIS FOREVER!

first, the silent of arab street is under a great control of this horrible governments and their tyranny! of course this silent is only temporary. It may be the beginnings of a last rising. Ican't Imagine the arab World with the same governments after an expected war in Iraq especially if this war endures and adds iraqian innocent's Blood to palestinian!
I think, this calm is a forced and it can't go on! In any case I hope, I can't imagine this situation when war will begin!

At all events Non arabic MUSLIMS are more reactive especially in occidental countries!


It makes me sick to my stomach to watch Arab leaders crawl in front of America. I hope and pray that one day God almighty will give them what they deserve.

Sayed Nasrallah also deplored the fact that "the greatest Muslim demonstration in history" - the gathering of two million Muslim pilgrims at Mecca for the Haj - had not used the slogan "Death to America" or "No to War".

Sayed should know better. A pilgrim's sole focus during hajj is Allah, the ultimate decider of everything in this world and the next, both temporal and permanent. They are right not to corrupt their mission of answering the call of Abraham with what America's foreign policy on Iraq. I am confident that they would have prayed and ask Allah for the best for all believers & humanity and as a muslim, I believe that their prayers are answered, bi ithni llah.

That Allah answers prayers is not in doubt, even Bush believes that.

Also that the Arab streets are silent is not an indication of agreement with the the Bush-Blair-Sharon project on Iraq, I personally believe they are bracing themselves and focusing their energy on what no one can take away from them -their faith in Allah, having being short-changed over & over again by their faith in the West. First it was the British over Othoman empire (remember Lawrence of Arabia) and then Palestine, and now America seek to do the same over Iraq (naturally coaxed along by Britain & israel).


The only way to remap the Middle East, is to remove the leaders of all Arab countries and replace them with elected leaders.
I urge all Arabs to revolt againest there hopeless government and bring back their glorious history.

I would like that Orientalist Mr Fisk to read the article below:

100,000 Protesters Display Rejection of Iraq War
RABAT, Feb.24 - Some 100,000
Moroccans took to the streets Sunday in downtown Rabat, Morocco's capital
city, to protest the impending war on Iraq.

Leaders of political parties, civil society representatives, unions and
Ngos took part in the protest staged under the sign "No to war in Iraq."

Marchers waved banners reading "World Peoples for Peace", "Aggression
against Iraq is Aggression against all Arab nations", "Save the children
of Iraq", and other anti-war slogans.

Demonstrators also condemned the embargo hitting the Iraqi people and
called for peaceful settlement to the Iraqi crisis.

Iraq highly appreciates Morocco's brotherly gesture, charg d'affaires of
the Iraqi embassy in Rabat, Jaoudat Kadem Al Ani, said.

Head of the national committee of support to Iraq, Mohammed Lakhsassi,
said "today Morocco went out to the streets to voice rejection of war, and
solidarity with the brotherly Iraqi and Palestinian peoples," He added
that the participation of all political parties, professional
organizations and human rights associations to the march is an evidence of
the unity of the Moroccan people over the issue."

Wa Salam


This is in response to Mike from the US.
your response is typical of an ignorant individual. Your interest is not the truth nor its promotion but what you perceive to be the truth and your manipulation of facts to promote your ideals....very typical of the western intellectual world actually...do you wish me to cite the number of studies concerning data manipulation, population control, social trends and how to influence them, advertising techniques, etc...you my lover of democracy are the pray of your ego and the media machinery of Mr. Murdoch..(all of these studies by the way have been carried out by WESTERN secular scientists/ intellectuals and have not in anyway or form been corrupted by the bias of us followers of a strict religious code!!)
There is NO catch 22 for us as muslims!In order to do all those things,we do not have to become more western....we have to in fact become MORE ISLAMIC!!! It is Islam that teaches us about freedom. freedom of expression, freedom of worship (whatever your faith), freedom of speech, freedom of education, freedom of thought! if you had researched into Islam properly you would never have written such a myopic review.
what has the current muslim leadership got to do with Islam??? let me inform you my dear lover of democracy, NOTHING! EXCEPT that the muslims abondoned everything it stands for, justice, security and freedom for all, irrespective of colour, background etc etc..maybe you should practice a bit more in detail what it is your secular society teaches you and that is to actually research the point you are going to make before making it! that way you are not likely to get your ignorant hide embarassed or worse yet humiliated by the plethora of evidence against it.Then again fools seldom believe what they see.They only believe what they want to believe,look at hitler!
may Allah have mercy upon us and the rest of humanity, forgive us our pride and vanity and lift the veil of ignorance and deception from our hearts!Ami

There is no conspiracy.
Arabs Don't march unless by government sanction.
When there is a rally anywhere in the middle east it is the government who brings them out.
Arab governments don't bring the people out to protest because they don't want to risk angering America.
The Arab people (at least of the hundreds I know) don't want war in Iraq.
They don't protest because protesting in Arab countries for causes other than what the government wants can be punished by death.

Have Arab governments "prevented" their people from marching against a war? Please... save your conspiracy theories. Maybe the true explanation is that, in their hearts, Arabs know Saddam is a barbaric dictator and they can't see how getting rid of him will be all that bad.

SUMY said:
It is a very sad situation when people like us r stuck up in the arab world. they r inviting their enemies to stay, and hushing up their own people.
Allah, u r the most just, deal with them, most justly........

The arabs ,their so called leaders are too involved with their selfs and the love of worldly affairs.
How ever i think the new generations are on the ball and things will change
im ashamed of being an arab but will never be ashamed of being a MUSLIM.

The problem with the umma today is that they've forgotten their main aim in life n many r ignorant of the purpose of their existence.We've been created only to worship Allah i.e obeying all of His laws n following only the path of islam,by standing for truth n justice n forbidding n denouncing falsehood tyranny or corruption. Only the one who is the most just truthful n righteous n understand the aim n reality of islam deserves leadership.How can we expect victory when many among us do not yet understand that our aim n intention in this war must only be to please Allah , make Allah's words supreme, n liberate the umma n mankind from american n all other tyrannies.Fighting under banners of nationalism , arabism or bathism , will lead to nowhere n will only encourage more opression n tyranny.We have to get united under the banner of the shahada n islam n forget our minor differences.Our nationality is islam n our duty is to strive with whatever means for the establishment of the religion of Allah.This striving is jihad.The battle has to be fought ideologically intellectually n also with weapons against those who have transgressed all limits.Our duty is to preach the shahada, explain the fundementals of islam, n teach people to judge according to islamic criterias n concepts.The basics being freedom, justice n equal rights for all(in their real sense,not only in words, like america).Ideological confrontation of western values criterions n concepts is important to clarify the values of islam n to correct the misunderstandings.The aim in life in islam n the peace of mind a true muslim experiences compared to the moral fragility of western men n their feelings of anxiety fear n loneliness.Same for the peace n sense of respect honor n dignity which will be possible only in a true islamic state.Where everyone is truly considered equal with no racism or elitism , the state of mind n way of thinking of the population will be different from any other society.Praise be to Allah

This commentary poses as an intellegent debate, but deflates to become what Americans beleive all along- it is better to die free than to live eslaved! The fact that no Arabs protest says what? They are afraid to! How sad it must be to live in a nation where you must fear openning your mouth to voice your opinion! Irac's leader Saddam's history speaks for itsself- he came into power with the use of murder and tiranny, and he threatens his neighbors with the same ideology! I DO NOT AGREE WITH A WAR WITH IRAC. I DO NOT AGREE WITH AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF ANY PART OF THE MIDLLE EAST. Why, you may ask? Throughout the years I have witnessed the Middle East destroying itsself over religion! Why must men do these things? Why can't those in the Middle East live within their own borders and not try to enforce their religious beliefs on others? Why must Arabs, Muslims, Isrealis, or Palestinains believe each is closer to God than the other and use this as an excuse to kill one another? Why must the USA be the world police to show everyone that this leads only to one END - Mankind killing himself? WHY MUST NATIONS STRIVE TO CONQUER ONE ANOTHER!? If you feel any God rewards you for killing in his name, perhaps you are not worshiping God at all. Satan's greatest trick was leading the world to believe he didn't exsist at all.....


Arab leathers does not understand the teaching of al islam.Many Arab leather want their children to study the western life and also reason like westerner.This is the problem of the current Arab leathers.
May the Almigthy Allah should deliver the muslims from the leathers who have already been bought with money to sell Al islam that was suffred for by prophet mohammed(SWA).aMEEN

Inalillah wainna ilayhr-Rajiuun.

Arabs are coward, yes they are. This is great musiba! They fail to understand the mission of WAmericans and Jews. Powell made it clear "To change the map of east" Arab leader and their people are still blind, this is musiba! It could be wise Arabs to forget their differences at this time and come together, think their future instead of bleming each other. America has no friend in this world, they, America and British are great hypocrytes. Allah knows much, but what I can see is that after Iraq, that will be the end of Saudia regime. Let us expect what is going on in Palestna in other islamic countries.

Allah, save Muslim ummma from the evil hands of America and British. Amin

Abubakary A.

Its really sad that muslims r still sleeping
They forgot their duty in their luxury
We became a matter of joke for foreighners
Shame on us & our so called "ullamas".


Even with the huge energy reserves in the Arab lands, on which the indstrialized nations are dependant, the Muslims till haven't managed to unite and are in a weak position today.

The ummah lies in dormancy because the Almighty Allah isn't pleased with it.

I beleive the wake up call will come when the West becomes more energy efficient and less dependant on the oil. The potential loss of oil revenue will cause a panic in the oil producing Arab world and they'll be forced to re-evaluate their ways and start behaving more Islamically, possibly leading to an Islamic cooperation and unity. Allah will then help the ummah, insallah.

Question is, why wait till then to achieve unity? Why don't the oil rich Arabs start thinking about helping the ummah now, while they're in a better position?

Another question, what do the Islamic nations talk about when they get together for the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) Coneference?

Just my thoughts, thank you.


Not just the Arabs none of the islamic countries starting from pakistan to malaysia showed and sign of protest the great Indian muslims were sleeping comfortably in their beds it was left to the brits the aussies the spainards and other europeans to protest on behalf of the harassed Iraqis. All the breast beating the muslims do about being prosecuted or persecuted is just hogwash. If a road is laid out people will trample on it. If the people are not willing to stand up for themselves to be counted then why will they be taken into account. If making money was all the Arab countries can think of even in a situation of war then some serious analysis is required of their thinking capabilities.
What is the guarantee that the guns trained on Iraq will not turn on Saudi Arabia. after all most of the hijackers of 9/11 were saudis. Osama himself is a saudi. What of Oman? Kuwait and all those "princely states?
will they not be targetted next?
Or may be all this will be for the good of the poor beningted Arabs may be America will play saviour and install democratic rulers there may be they will actually give the crazy arabs a franchise.!!!!!!
Even i find that last hard to beleive. Amercians are having it so nice and easy dealing with the "princes" they would never even dream of having elected rulers ruin their party.
and what of Israel the poor lil lost country surrounded by the horrible beastly Arabs? no way it will be off with the princely heads and in with the replicas of Hamid Karzai. Viva Pax Amricana. Viva Israel. whoops. we were talking of the arabs werent we?

the are just so pathetic " the choosen rulers i.e. kings, persidents, sheikhs,dictators," i just wonder who installed them ?

As Salaamu Alaikum

Muslims of the world we ought to be a shamed of ourselfs. This war couldn't happen without our support and lack of action. We allow troops to be stationed, allow access to our airspace,allow war games to be held in our countries. Shame on us. The Saudi Royal Family along with leaders of Turkey,Iran,Jordan,Qatar,Bahran are puppets who love the dollar more than they love Allah. Don't they realise they along with the rest of us will be asked about this on Judgement Day? Protests all over the world and how many Muslims participate? Shame on us we should be organizing these events or at the very least attend them. The Prophet(PBUH)said it was our duty to help the oppressed and the oppressor the companions said we know how to help the oppressed but how the oppressor.The Prophet(PBUH)said prevent him from oppressing. On March 5th there will be another day of Peace. People are being asked not to go to school or work and at the very least wear a black band or ribbon to show support. Do Something Muslims. We are one fifth of the worlds population and make up over one third of the world refugees SHAME ON US!!! This means only one thing either we Muslims don't love this deen enough to practice it or make effort for it Or ALLAH is a liar. I for one know that ALLAH does not lie. So stop whinning, get up off your butts and be heard. Especially those in America and to my brothers and sisters in lands that suppress your right to speak and act in public then stand at night and cry to ALLAH perhaps if we start to behave like Muslims and stop acting like Muslims he will hear us

As Salaamu Alaikum


I don't beleive reality has hit them yet(the Arabs). They will wait to be in the Palestanian situation before they wake up. Then Isreal will be their superior, and then they will ask "what happened" America is like cancer, once they touch a place it kills or destroys everything around it. Every country America tried to help or say they are helping are worst off than if they had no help at all. ONCE AND FOR ALL, GET RID OF AMERICA, . The Arabs have the trump card and don't even know it. AAmerica can never do without OIL, so my muslims brothers don't sell out each other for ECONOMIC AID.

Manjit Singh, don't you know that we are cowards. We are 1.5 billion stupids, who only knows how to blame others. Our ignorant writers have all the time to blame CIA or Mossad or Bush. But these criminal writers have no time to highlight the deeds of the Muslim leaders. They are misleading to the ordinary Muslims. Amazingly, most of the Muslims beleves that the current problems of the Muslim world is because of Bush or Sharon. We are corrupt, we are liers, we only know how to blame non-Muslims. How many of us have the guts to go to Muslims embassies and block the roads. None. We have all the time to protest in front of western institutes. I don't know why?

Shuja Syed

More non muslims in India protested than the arabs. What has happened to the spirit of "jihad". "Muslim in the arab world is dead." They are so used to living easy lives they have become useless. They have forgotten Islam.

I think its the right time for the Muslim people to wake up or it will be too late.

I wish the Arabs and muslims would speak loudily against this attack wage by the U.S. And I also wish anybody who is against this invasion would boycott American goods.

It does't matter if Arab people protest or not, because I do't think it can change anything about this wor with Iraq. I think if Allah said it will happen. I do not worry about Arab not been protest. There is nothing can change Bush's mind, but Allah. If there are some Iraqi people who are leaving this world it will happen. I am prying to Allah this wor not to happen

TMS FROM U.S.A. said:
Wake up Arabs/Muslims! After Iraq who will be next. Iran? Saudi Arabia (the reaming part)?, Yemen? Kuwait is already under occupation. No Muslim country is safe. Yet we sleep wishing for a miracle to happen. Remember miracles will only happen if we are good Muslims which I don't think we are. So far it seems that the christians are better than us - at least they care about fellow humans.

We, peoples and regimes, are now like leaves tossed around by wind, or empty bottles carried aimlessly by waves.

God addressed us: "You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men". But since then we have become powerless peoples, we gave up our reins to strangers, forgot our history, blew up our heritage as if we are rootless people.

Thus, in these historical moments we ceased to have a past, present and probably future as well.
We surrendered when faced by challenges, thus we lost the last grain of our dignity; and became a flock of sheep driven into the unknown.

More - An honest view of the Arab silence

Well said, Brother Keith. Subhan Allah!

Sounds like you might be posting from points east. If so, I am actually a wee bit envious. Oh, well! Like you said, REAL jihad begins [here]. Jazak Allah wa Allah Hafiz!

If only Keith believed his own irrational nonsense ! The vast majority of people across the planet know what this war is about....and oppose it so. The reason the Arab world was quite was because the people know what happens to those who speak out in those countries.
You dont get detained or deported, you simply disappear without a trace. This is how puppet regimes operate in the middle east......why doesnt anyone have the gall to ask who's pulling the strings ......

Arab streets are silent so do the muslims in America. They fear either deportation or jailed.In Arab streets they fear of Bali like explosions in their country and Islamists get blamed for killing the foriegners and show the world that Islamists are intolerent.

Most Arabs did not protest because they know that the war is against Saddam and not Iraq. For anyone to say that Iraq is a state that would have the prophets(PBUH)approval is ignoring the message and going on pure emotional hatred against the U.S. For all the sanctions placed on Iraq, Saddam is to blame, he threatens his peaceful neighbors to the point were Saudi Arabia doesn't want him to rule any longer. The Ummah needs to wake up. Allah has lifted his blessing from us because of the injustice we have done to our brothers and sisters and the sins we have commited on ourselves. No rights are given to women, discrimination against non-Arabs, hatred toward the people of the book, and no integrity in government. It's not the west's fault, we all are to blame. If Allah has his protection over us then no one in the west or otherwise can defeat us. Stop looking elsewere, the REAL jihad starts with us.
Peace be with you all and my Allah bring us all to light.

The reason for 600 in Egypt is not because thay dont care, no one can protest in egypt with out the Pharoo Mubarik's permission. Did you get it?

Its a disgrace, but this has been the usual
pattern. We are used to being exclusive and
now we are seeing the results of that
behavior. We are also immune to our own and
those other have-nots physical pain and
suffering, instead we rouse ourselves only to
protest indignities being hurled at Islam.

We need to partner with all organizations and
individuals who espouse causes for the
betterment of humanity and we need to leave
our protective shells behind. Feel the pain of
humanity and be courageous as those who
are defending all our rights and liberties.

We are natural partners of have-nots, lets
make common cause with them instead of
seeking crumbs from the haves.

We have a lot to share on the ground and if we
were to give the pulpit a rest, it wouldn't be too
much of a loss.

Seek peace and share goodwill for all.

It is extremely sad that Arabs are so lazy about protesting. Here in Dallas, Texas...homestate to Mr. Bush we had about 3000 protestors...not a huge crowd by any standards but for every 100 people you saw maybe 1 Arab and maybe 5 muslims...the rest were all white or black Americans. How can we expect anything from our leaders, our own people and especially from those who we consider our enemies...they must look at this sorry situation and laugh. And they have every right to.

Islam does not teach passivity in the face of oppression and injustice, to the contrary. Islam strongly urges directly addressing and confronting injustice. Failing that the next best form of faith is to speak out against it. The weakest form of faith is simply harboring some sort of personal resentment against it.

When I see the attitude of the Arabs a part of me asks why even bother. Their own corruption, division and ignorance has got them into this mess. I'm convinced Allah will continue to punish them until they do reform their ways.

Arabs like to be proud about their adherance to those details of Islam that are part of their daily cultural routine. But when it comes to the spirit of Islam and the larger issues of courage, compassion, integrity and discipline in society the Arabs are sorely lacking and lagging behind non-Islamic western societies. For this their "punishment" will continue.

Only when the Arabs become united and become more concerned with the true spirit of Islam will anything change.

I think muslims,arabs particularly never lived in a fully democratic country.To say arabs are fool,stupid etc.are totally unfair.

Arabs demonstrated.most of the time,they did.but they rarely being highlight by western media(read:semite controlled)media.

no other race fiercely defend their land like the Palestinian.that took niether the marching nor shouting efforts to defend the land,but your own live,dignity,religion and everything you have or your been built.

so,we the free people,speak for them.shout every time they being abused.cry everytime their children being shot dead.learn lesson from the semite history.do whatever they did to us/arab.

'my aim is to make anti-islam equal to anti-semite.'

Its a shame on them.they are fools, stupids.
they fight each other.they forgot the the basic teachings of the holy prophet(PBUH).they dont respect each other they shed each others blood,no unity,no trust,rather they trust unbeleivers its a pity.they dont aquire knowledge became lazy ..May Almighty bless them !!

Dear mr mike whoever is the ruler whether saudi royal king or someone else people just should stand up against the unjust rulers ! and peaceful demonstration is the way u express yr voice and yr true concerns!! and i would like to remind you the relegion islam does not teach to keep quite!! people should be active !!!

The article exposes the sorry state of affair in the Middle East but I think the author did not consider two important factors that make the area a bit different from other places where people hit the streets to oppose war.
1- In the West, public opinion matters and the marchers were expecting that they would influences their leaders attitude towards war. This is not the case in the ME. Bush or Tony Blair may decide to go to war or otherwise but no single leader in the ME can even oppose Bush's plans.
2- True Muslims (very few in the ME) invoque Allah whenever they face a problem, not leaders or public opinion. Note that The Afgans who oppose war prayed for peacewe and did not march.
Well, most muslims feel impotent now and do not think they can change anything.
May we succeed.

What is wrong with the Arabs? Where were they when non-Muslim friends were out on streets in anti-war rallies? Are Arabs not having any brotherhood for the Iraqi people? Agree, that Saddam is a danger to the World but isn't Bush administration posing much more and bigger danger to the people of US? Oh! Arab leaders why are you so scared of these Crusaders? Don't forget the Great History of Islaam, we were the rulers of the World but when Ji'had was forgotten and we tried to pleased the non-Muslim then it came to our Black days.... At least I will say those people marching in the anti-War rallies are only lacking the gift of Emaan from Allah(swt). Otherwise, they are much better then us.... Think of answer to be answered when Allah(swt) wud ask you opn the day of Judgement...

this is a very good article, true statement indeed, Robert Fisk is a long time correspondent in mideast & I hope the arab leaders read this
god Bless the truth

This is a very interesting article, on the one hand the writer applaudes the protest of "free societies". But he admonishes the arab states for not participating. What a catch 22 in order to conduct free protests, where citizens can organize and demonstrate, you have to become more "western", that is open up society to democracy and all of its ideals. Of course there are demonstrations in these countries, but is it freedom to demonstrate. As the author stated it's government funded and backed. In palestine they have protests against Israel, but would a group have the freedom to demonstrate against Hams, or Yasser Arafat, or in Iraq could the Irai's even discuss demonstrating against Saddam. Or Saudi Arabia can they demonstrate against the royal family. No in order for the Arabs to have open free thought and sharing of ideas in a public forum they have to embrace that which they despise. You see when you live in a society where a religious zealot is the one who runs every aspect of your life, you're doomed to live under tiereny. Now if you look at the ideals of living under a strict religious code, it sounds great,utopian even. But in the history of the world has man ever been able to achieve this state without becoming horribly corrupt and brutal. The answer is No!, it's completely unattainable. So why do people in the middle east choose to live this way? Why not demand that your voice be heard, don't the people in a country know what's best for themselves? Or do you need a select few to think for you?