by Farid Ghadry
During this Israeli campaign to silence the terror of Hamas, one can discern two voices coming out of the Middle East against or in support of the Gaza operations.
The boisterous voices are those of Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah leader, who a few days ago, verbally attacked Egypt’s leadership for not standing by Gazans by opening the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. The attack was unprecedented in scope and intensity because it just fell short of asking Egyptians to overthrow the rule of Mubarak. It did, however, heighten anger amongst the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt enough to incite them to rise against their own government.
Other noises come from Damascus and Iran, where the “resistance” has its center of gravity. Both Assad and Ahmadinejad know that a Hamas defeat is their defeat. Those two have incited the Arab street in a show of force and complicity with extremism. And while many believe the fate of Hamas parallels the fate of Hizbullah, reality is that short of a total defeat of Hamas, not to exclude regime change, Palestinians and Israelis will continue to suffer the consequences of an election that brought them more misery than they imagined on that fateful day: January 23, 2006.
On the other side, the majority of voices approving of the Israeli campaign are those who have remained quiet or convoluted in their objections. Many Arab leaders, intellectuals, businesspeople, and even commoners from Iraq to Lebanon, from Egypt to Morocco, from Bahrain to Yemen, believe that Hamas represents deformity of an Arab civilization, one that is in dire need of an overhaul by existing homegrown leadership in Palestine, Syria and Iran capable of that solemn responsibility.
Many ask why fellow Arabs would support the destruction of Hamas and Hizbullah. The answer is simple. Both organizations, in addition to the rule in Damascus and Iran, represent everything that is wrong in the Middle East today: Morally weak organizations or states seeking revenge, extolling resistance, and abetting violence against those who have surpassed us in knowledge and technology.
Hamas, Hizbullah must be destroyed
Our only chance, as a civilization that invented Algebra and helped usher advances in medicine, astronomy, and literature during an era of co-existence with the west, is to re-create that co-existence. How could we do that if ignorance is our guide and violent men are our leaders? Witness co-existence by the fact that Algebra was invented by al-Jabr just about the same time the Jewish King Omri founded Samaria.
How could Arabs and Muslims help their societies if their program for progress is built upon violence? When was the last time Hamas or Hizbullah issued their 5-year plan to improve the lives of their followers? It will never happen because the failed leadership of both organizations seeks power instead of duty, money instead of benevolence, and longevity in both instead of renewal for the good of their people.
Hizbullah and Hamas must be destroyed and the regimes in Damascus and Tehran must be changed for all Arabs and Farsi people to survive and prosper in an ever evolving world timed in nanoseconds and propagating through quantum physics. Their poisonous rhetoric of violence feeding a frenzied mass of ignorant Arabs leaning on their extreme religion to honor their incapacity to compete with the West is destroying future generations of hopeful saviors of our culture and traditions.
We Arabs must be the ones to stop Hamas and Hizbullah, rather than support their demonic and twisted logic of resisting development, enlightenment, and progress of the region. Even when development and enlightenment stare them in the face, their instinct is to destroy them pretending to safeguard their honor, the mechanics of which supersede all else including a happy life of fulfillment and accomplishments.
So while we abhor violence of all kind, Israel’s campaign against Hamas must continue to the bitter end not only for the sake of peace but also to help Arabs realize they have a choice: Destroy like Gaza or develop like Dubai. Will this happen soon? Maybe not, but if a wake-up call and a nudge, once in a while, to pierce through the fog of deceit perpetrated by Syria and Iran is what it takes to see the light, then we stand by the West and Israel in the only hope that an Arab Renaissance in the Levant may actually have a chance of resurrection.
Farid Ghadry is the President of the Reform Party of Syria, a leading US-based opposition group to the rule of Assad and “resistance” in the Levant