America! Don't dim your inspirational light

Published: 16 July 2013
America! Don't dim your inspirational light
© AP Images

This is a message to #America, whose people I consider to be amongst the most enlightened on earth. It comes at a moment in history when anti-Americanism is on the rise in the Middle East, triggered by your government’s inept foreign policy. The vast majority of Arabs have no gripe with the American people or your country’s institutions. We recognise, with gratitude, that we have greatly benefited from your knowledge and have been recipients of your generosity for decades.

Our young people have graduated from American universities, our families have been treated in American hospitals; many cured thanks to your medical advances. We have adopted your business practices and banking systems. The aircraft carrying us beyond our borders are products of American innovation and it is thanks to your finest minds that today we take instant communications via mobile phones and the internet for granted. Several Arab countries continue to rely upon US military aid and training programs. It’s undeniable that without #America’s outstretched hand, we might have remained captive to the 20th century.

Gulf States have traditionally enjoyed excellent ties with US authorities. I value my personal friendships with Americans from all social and political strata, from hoteliers to shopkeepers, businessmen, doctors, celebrities, diplomats and politicians. I frequently visit the US to spend quality time with my American friends who often travel to Dubai to see me. We get together, trust one another and have developed a mutual understanding that transcends differing cultures and lifestyles. However, the White House and Congress consistently fail to understand our traditions, our way of life and our style of communication. It’s as though they wilfully remain in a bubble of ignorance when it comes to Arabs.

Americans famously question ‘Why don’t they like us?’ Right now, they are witnessing Egyptians hoisting posters depicting their president’s image under the tag “#Obama supports terrorists”. That’s an insult, that’s a gross exaggeration. But who can blame Egyptians from being bewildered by President Barack #Obama’s backing of the Muslim Brotherhood since Hosni Mubarak’s toppling? #Obama revealed that he liked Mohammed #Morsi and thought the feeling was mutual. He instructed his ambassador to #Egypt Anne Patterson, now one of the most hated figures in #Egypt, to thwart #Morsi’s ousting and condemn the June 30th uprising as being detrimental to the economy.

Since, the White House has denounced arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including the organisation’s Supreme Guide even though he has been inciting violence and glorifying martyrdom in the name of a bungling engineer unequipped to run one of my construction companies, let alone a country of 90 million people. #Morsi is a criminal whose escape from prison was courtesy of his buddies in Hamas, today launching rocket attacks on Egyptian military personnel in Sinai. The proof, one of his henchmen Dr. Mohammed Beltagy offered to bring a halt to the violence on condition #Morsi is reinstated, which implies the remote control rests in his hands. And what does Mr. #Obama say?

He demands #Morsi’s release from detention without considering that he’s being investigated for wrongdoing or that his release would empower the enemies of this fledgling new #Egypt struggling for breath. Is it any surprise that Egyptians are convinced the US doesn’t care about them, preferring to lend their backing to religious ideologues without an ounce of loyalty to their country, a group bent on destroying the region to create an Islamist caliphate?

Why the #Obama administration champions an organisation that’s been hand-in-glove with Iranian mullahs, Hamas and Al Qaeda’s founders since the 70s, is a mystery. Why does Congress bless this stance when it vehemently supported the war against terrorism? What is the real reason for this under-the-table alliance between Washington and the Brotherhood? The US is wrong to interfere in #Egypt’s internal affairs by taking sides - or as we say in Arabic getting between a mother and son. The White House is respectfully requested to mind its own business and quit injecting billions of dollars to sew division, igniting anti-American hatred on the streets of every Arab capital.

As a friend to the United States, I have often been invited to speak in your universities to bridge the gap between Arabs and Americans. I explain the age-old systems of governance within GCC states to eager students, systems that don’t depend upon ballot boxes but are geared towards the well being of citizens who are cared-for 100 percent with the provision of homes as well as cost-free medical treatment and higher education both at home and abroad. Our governments even cover wedding expenses for low-income couples. There are no beggars on our streets. I tell those students that our systems are beyond democratic because when our leaders make promises, they actually deliver on those promises.

I, therefore, consider myself well qualified to offer President #Obama the benefit of my advice.

Mr. President, since your campaigning days are over, why don’t you use your last years as president to secure a decent legacy? Throw away that wooden spoon stirring-up hostilities in our troubled region; instead, devote your time to bettering the lives of your own people. Allow our neighbourhood to solve its own problems – and believe me, left alone, we can do it. By staying out of our affairs, anti-Americanism will dissipate when young Arabs and young Americans would be free to bond as equals in an ambience of mutual respect.

Firstly, Mr. President, please allow #Egypt and its people to choose their own leaders. Secondly, if you are truly passionate about human rights, how can you bear to watch Bashar Al Assad’s butchering of innocents, assisted by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah militants and Iraqi Shiites, without any plan to intervene? You make #Egypt your business, but neglect #Syria where up to 100,000 have been deprived of life. We understand the game plan you and your colleagues have cooked up for the Middle East but, frankly, we are tired of being manipulated by a country thousands of miles away which treats us like minors without a say in our own future.

What you and your predecessors have done to the Arab world, particularly to Sunni populations, stains your nation’s history. #America’s nurturing of the Ayatollah Khomeini to replace its former best friend the Shah was abhorrent. George W. Bush’s use of false pretexts to invade Iraq was unconscionable. This former great Arab nation, the Cradle of Civilization no less, was turned into a hellish land, a magnet for terrorists where people are being blown up because of their religious beliefs. The US is responsible for nurturing Sunni-Shiite hostilities that did not exist under the former regime. Then, adding insult to injury, Iraq was parcelled-off to the ayatollahs in Qom. US leaders have been barking against Iran for years over its uranium enrichment program but have no appetite to bite. I won’t indulge in conspiracy theories here, preferring to leave conclusions to my readers’ own logic. But you, Mr. President, know the truth.

I still recall your moving speech in Cairo when you reached out to the Arab World; that’s a promise as yet unfilled. But if that speech was sincere, more than mere words, then you should take immediate action to support the Syrian opposition and throw your weight behind #Egypt’s interim government battling to lift its people out of insecurity and poverty.

Think about your legacy. Think about the unique opportunity you have to make a difference so that our children and grandchildren are no longer separated by misunderstandings and hurts. Show yourself worthy of your Nobel Peace Prize – and gain the admiration of your own people as well as ours. Let #America’s #light of truth and justice shine bright.

God bless #America. And God bless our troubled Arab World.

Comment (4)
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Added 01:50 November 03 2016
Mr. Khalaf . Good morning . I read with a great interest ur comments and I agree with most of it . I myself have spent many years in the state or working with US companies before having UAE a home. By time I found out that there are two types of Americans. The ones who never went out of the US borders or even left his town all his/ her life or even have a passport . The other type is the one who traveled, and worked for / in the Middle East especially in the GCC . While I sympathy with the first type for the rise of anti- Americans because of the media and the image of conservative Muslims militants they watch through TV and its scars me and I am a Muslim too so, I don’t blame them. The second type, I don’t see them doing or saying enough to defend the truth and realty of life here. Yes, some people from the GCC hold conservatives ideas but, they are neither the majority nor represent the GCC goverments or the life style we are living in most of the GCC. I get surprised these days when I get together with my dear US friends and I find them supporters to the US candidate Trump because they think he will make the world a better place or because of the color or gender . I think the US policy has its agenda regardless who will be the next president. There is no perfection at any foreign policy. We should have such fantasies and instead I believe the change starts from us. I will put more of that on my next column soon. Thank you again for ur enlighten writings. Thank you, Muna alfuzai Columnist Kuwait times.
Muna Alfuzai , Kuwait
Added 04:35 March 01 2015
Well said, yet again Mr Khalaf. When this man writes so much common sense so often, and he is well known and regarded in the UAE, US and UK. Why are more people in positions of real power not choosing to act? Sadly I think he is right, too many others have hidden agendas that mean they are happy to continue just as they are. The US has long been known to use its sway both overtly and covertly when it suits their purpose. Therein lies the 64000$ question- just WHAT is the US purpose?
Added 06:33 August 29 2013
Nice letter. I hope you can also understand the dilemma faced by America. Intervene in a country, and everyone hates you, don't intervene, and everyone blames you. In one paragraph you say: "Allow our neighbourhood to solve its own problems – and believe me, left alone, we can do it. By staying out of our affairs, anti-Americanism will dissipate when young Arabs and young Americans would be free to bond as equals in an ambience of mutual respect." But then in the very next paragraph you say: "How can you bear to watch Bashar Al Assad’s butchering of innocents, assisted by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah militants and Iraqi Shiites, without any plan to intervene?" I am watching the news and thinking that the Syrians need assistance and we (the US) have the military to do it, but then at the same time, i'm thinking if we help them, how many people in the Arab world are going to hate America even more for "meddling" in their affairs? I hope others can see the dilemma.
Added 06:32 July 16 2013
Well said! Amazing letter, i hope it will reach him.