Opinion Editorials, January 2006, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info
Memory of Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream for America and Arabia
By Hassan El-Najjar
Al-Jazeerah, January 16, 2005
Today, the United States is observing a national holiday in memory of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. I am here publishing my dreams for America and Arabia, following his example in his famous speech, "I have a dream." *
It was striking to observe that military, political, and media leaders in the United States and other coalition countries boasting that the 1991 Gulf War cost them few casualties. They ignored the fact that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed during the war and hundreds of thousands more as a result of the embargo, about half a million Palestinians were forced out of Kuwait, and about one million Yemenis were forced to leave Saudi Arabia. These Arab victims of the war are also important. Their lost lives, lost jobs, and their suffering have also affected their loved-ones forever. A new thinking needs to emerge. Leaders should not be allowed to launch wars without consulting with representatives of the people. When wars are launched, leaders who launch them should be held responsible for the social consequences, particularly civilian losses.
Because the circumstances that led to the 1991 Gulf War still exist (in January 2001) in America and Arabia, the author wishes to present his dreams for a better future for America and Arabia, following the example of Martin Luther King Jr.
· I dream that, one day, the influence of war hawks on American foreign policy is removed, so that the embargo on Iraq can be lifted, and the Palestinian state can be established without further suffering among Palestinians and Iraqis.
· I dream that, one day, the American foreign policy be guided by fairness and by spreading freedom and democracy, not siding with aggressors, dictators, and absolute monarchs.
· I dream that, one day, America will lead the world by example, not by the power of its weapons.
· I dream that, one day, the influence of pro-Israel “experts” and bureaucrats in various government departments and agencies be checked by appointing an equal number of Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans as their counterparts.
· I dream that, one day, the influence of the military-industrial complex on American foreign policy be reduced so that more funds can be directed to raise the standard of living of the poor in America.
· I dream that, one day, American politicians running for office will be able to debate issues using free and equal time and space in the media without having to worry about how to finance their campaigns.
· Finally, I dream that, one day, America will have a ruling elite whose members value the life of all people equally, whether they are from the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere, whether they are rich or poor.
dream that, one day, Arabs can travel anywhere within their homeland
without visas and can stay in any Arab state permanently if they wish.
dream that, one day, border posts between Arab states be dismantled or
sold to entrepreneurs who would convert them into restaurants,
resorts, or museums.
dream that, one day, there will be one Arab citizenship so that there
will be no more discrimination among Arabs.
dream that, one day, all Arabs will enjoy the right to change their
governments through the ballot box, not by military coups or civil
dream that, one day, all Arab presidents, kings, and leaders become
symbols of their states, allowing the people to elect their own
governments through fair and free elections.
dream that, one day, inter-Arab rivalries and conflicts are replaced
with unification of the entire Arab homeland in one political and
economic entity, like the United States or the European Union.
I dream that, one day, Kuwaiti war criminals are tried, so that the
souls of their Palestinian and other Arab victims rest in peace.
* This piece was first first published as a wish at the end of my book, "The Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness," which can be found at www.gulfwar1991.com .
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