What is the problem with the Arab world today, according to Ms. Narwani? They don't have enough "pride," in her words, " there is still a strong stench of 'defeatism' that lingers heavily in the air around much of the Arab Mideast." Gee, I wonder why that could be? But no, Ms. Narwani is very ready to point the finger. The Arabs don't believe in themselves, you see. And why not? Because Israel stole their confidence too:
"Knowing that the Arabs are busy creating their own cages, the increasingly right-wing and militant Israeli political body seems to eke out its latest appalling policies a little at a time to train us collectively to accept a new bar for bad behavior. Arabs protest in one loud shout, then defeatedly scurry back to an ever-shrinking existence."It always amazes me how six million Israeli Jews manage to influence 350 million Arabs, either for good or ill. At this point Ms. Narwani pulls on her pom-poms and cheer leads for Iran and Turkey as countries that do have pride (i.e. stand up to Israel) and do all kinds of great things like AIDS research and reducing infant mortality. This wouldn't be such a problem except that she is using the same tactic that she ridiculed David Harris for on his thread (at least before the comment was deleted). Anyway, what goes unmentioned are things like the stoning of women in Iran and the multiple human rights violations that happen there, and of course the banning of YouTube for "blasphemy," among other things in Turkey, hardly the behavior of a secular democracy that values freedom. Regardless I don't think it is a coincidence that Ms. Narwani believes that the countries who are sliding away from America and the West and toward Islamic fundamentalism are also the ones who are "prideful." And if you look at the rest of the article you will see that her extremist views only continue.
So like she said before, the problem is that the Arabs are believing a narrative that makes themselves look worse than they are, and they should stop believing it! And as she said before it is the USA and Israel (surprise surprise) who are spreading this "narrative," and so exclude anyone who doesn't conform to it. I think Ms. Narwani says it the best:
"And this is the crux of the matter. The Arab has been defined by the Other. So successfully in fact, that most Arabs speak amongst themselves using a narrative that has been constructed by others, external to the region.Okay, so let us hear it! What is some examples of this "Other narrative?" Is it racist things like Arabs just can't succeed because they aren't as good as Westerners? Is is the kind of hate spewed by people like Reverend Phelps that Islam is a "devil religion?"
"To be sure, there is a local defeatist industry that has sprung up organically from lost wars, corrupt systems and bad leadership, but it is perpetuated by the impotence that comes from this Other narrative."
"These tenets include the acceptance of Israel, its regional hegemony and its qualitative military edge, acceptance of the shaky logic upon which the Jewish state's claim to Palestine is based, and acceptance of the inclusions and exclusion of certain regional parties, movements and governments in any solution to the conflict. [Emphasis mine]"Yep, that's right. In the mind of our "moderate" friend Sharmine Narwani the acceptance of a Jewish state in the Jewish homeland is just a "narrative," and any Arab who accepts that narrative is just seriously lacking in a spinal column and should be ridiculed. How exactly is continuing to refuse to accept Israel supposed to bring peace (and by extension, stability) to the region? The answer of course is that it won't, unless the person with those views doesn't really want peace if it means that Israel continues to exist. And based on ol' "Dignity Rockets'" articles in the past, it appears like the latter is the case. If she would like to correct me of course, I would be happy to hear that she accepts Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state in the interests of peace. But I'm not expecting it.
Now that Ms. Narwani has tossed her cloak of academia aside and flashed her extremist attitudes for all to see, she just keeps right on going. I think the following paragraph is particularly revealing:
"The language parameters that come into play to shape the discourse are largely based on these three tenets, although undoubtedly there are others. Words like dove, hawk, militant, extremist, moderates, terrorists, Islamo-fascists, rejectionists, existential threat, holocaust-denier, mad mullah determine the participation of solution partners -- and are capable of instantly excluding others."Boo hoo, Ms. Narwani, your buddies in Hamas don't get to negotiate with Israel until they accept its right to exist. Wah wah wah. But what I thought was particularly intriguing is that the (lower case) "holocaust-denier," phrase is included in this laundry list of "language parameters." What does it mean? I can only speculate, and I'd rather not do that without further information. Perhaps someone can go onto the thread and ask her why it was necessary to include Holocaust denial in this list of "language parameters."
Then of course she denies Israel's right to exist again and attack's the Jewish connection to Israel again.:
"Then there is the language that preserves "Israel's Right To Exist" unquestioningly: anything that invokes the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the myths about historic Jewish rights to the land described as Eretz Yisrael. This language seeks not only to ensure that a Jewish connection to Palestine remains unquestioned, but importantly, seeks to punish and marginalize those who tackle the legitimacy of this modern colonial-settler experiment."See above for my reaction. And like before, Ms. Narwani is proving herself to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians. Next paragraph!
"And finally, there is the language that suggests Israel's "value" to the world: Americans often cite "common" or "shared" values, or "Judeo-Christian" values, the "only democracy in the Middle East," a bulwark against Islamism (which increasingly addresses all Muslims), tyranny, autocratic rulers and native savagery -- for which many other terms and nefarious concepts are invoked, i.e., suicide-bombers, Palestinian lack of value for life, willingness to sacrifice their children, human rights violations rampant in the Arab and Islamic worlds, etc."This is an interesting paragraph because Ms. Narwani clearly wants her audience to believe that all of these things are lies. Except that they aren't. Exaggerations, maybe, but they certainly aren't a "narrative" the exists only in the mind. Israel does have value to the world, no matter how much venom haters like Ms. Narwani like to spew. And they do have Judeo-Christian values, which, I might add, include bombing the spit out of people with whom you are at war. As much as people like Ms. Narwani try to dictate that Israel is totally different somehow from America, America has treated its enemies much more harshly than Israel has, and for far less provocation. As for the "only democracy in the Middle East," I am no longer convinced that is completely true, but is certainly the freest.
As for the "nefarious concepts," they aren't so far from the truth either. The Palestinians do use suicide bombers, they are willing to sacrifice their children, and their leaders do train their people not to value their own lives. And no honest person would deny that there are human rights violations throughout the Arab and Muslim world. So like I said before, I don't know why Ms. Narwani is so upset that this is being recognized in the discourse of today. Would she prefer that it be swept under the rug? Or maybe that the Arabs should take pride in the horrors inflicted by their countrymen not only on "the Other" but on their fellow Arabs? What's most likely of course is that she probably just doesn't want people talking about it, when they should be talking about how bad Israel is.
This article is getting a little long so I'm going to break it into two pieces.