Tuesday, February 18, 2003

An Open Letter to Friedman

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi, Special to Arab News

I thought you were against this right-wing administration’s wars. Were there good rea-sons why you "seem" to accept the idea of war against Iraq, even if reluctantly?
I am confused and hurt these days: I hate to divide the world into "with us and against us", "good and bad guys" as the "Pushy Doctrine" advocates, but there are moments like this when you really need to know your friends from your enemies.
Just try it, Tom! Can you define as a friend someone advocating the Holocaust? I find it equally difficult to define as friends the advocates of such criminal war against us (all of us, not just Iraq) for the benefit of Israel, oil and arms companies, what-ever geopolitical motives the Zionist "men of peace" and "women of democracy and prosperity for ME" in Washington and Tel Aviv may have.
Tom, my friend, it is at moments like this when one defines and understands oneself and human identity.
A man with your access to information and inside stories knows better than to believe such propaganda from those who led us into two world wars and many regional conflicts from Korea and Vietnam to Angola and Nicaragua.
This is the same propaganda which por-trayed Saddam one day as a "good guy" fighting for the free world against dark-age Khomeinism, and sponsored OBL and company as Mujahedeen for a similar cause against the "Evil Empire" — then, when interests changed, rediscovered and rede-fined them!! And I am not referring to some claim in an old history book, Tom.
It is in such defining moments, as today, when we make a stand and get our records straight in history. I hope you agree with me (and ironically with Bush, too!!) that there is one choice to make and clearly mark: Either we support a war that we know how to start but no idea how it could end and at what human and material cost, or we try to achieve our goals through peaceful means as we have chosen in the much more danger-ous situation in North Korea.
I very much hope and pray that you will continue to agree with me as we always did, even before we met in Jeddah last year (I had been reading you for more than six years before that), that the Clinton drive for peace and prosperity in the Middle East is the only path we can take, and that taking measures with "teeth" doesn’t necessarily mean using guns.
Peace has proven ways of achieving hard goals, too, if we give it enough time and our persistent and sincere support.
Salam and Shalom from your Arab cousin,
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi
Arab News Opinion 18 February 2003

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