The teacher wanted to initiate a lively discussion in the classroom so he asked his students to come up with some feedback on the recent Arab Summit Conference held in Damascus: I am sure all of you were keeping track of the Arab Summit in Damascus, do any of you have any views and projections as to the outcomes of the meeting.
“For decades now, the only thing the Arab leaders have ever produced for their people, in particular and the Arab Nation as a whole has been an unbreakable series of heartaches, misery and clumsy governance”, said Fidel to his teacher and the rest of the class, turning left and right to make sure that everyone heard him.
Nesrin, an optimistic student felt Fidel was not showing the proper respects due to the Arab leaders: “Look Fidel, you must get out of your radical inclinations, you know that our leaders are doing the best they could under the prevailing circumstances. Look at all the pressure they are working under.”
Fidel almost forgot his manners and did not even let her finish what she wanted to say: “Nesrin, please do not let the soft heart in your feminine nature take over your genuine political feelings and aspirations. Otherwise, these odd ball mixture of kings, princes, sultans, military commanders and half way decent totalitarian rulers will continue to play with the Arab people as if they were a luxury heaven sent amenity for these claimants to leadership to play with as they like. I think it is about time that these oppressors of their constituencies and bleeders of the Arab World’s resources be sent packing to some lost island in the Indian Ocean where no one will ever hear from them again.
"I know you mean well, Nesrin, but I for one do not want them to play on your tendency to forget and forgive. These leaders have left us with little hope for our nation to come out of the rut that the Arab Nation is in now. To put it simply, the more they hang on to their domination of the Arab World, the further away we are from salvaging whatever is left of our dignity. Can you imagine that the visit of Dick Cheney a fortnight before the Conference has pretty much decided what the outcome will be of the Conference and who should show up and not show up to the meeting, and not simply what should the agenda of the meeting should be.”
Ali, who could not help but show where his mind is really went on to plead for the Yemeni case: “Look Fidel, at least the Yemeni Initiative got the upper hand among the topics discussed”.
Fidel again was quick to answer: “Oh Ali, where is your mind really at, or rather where is the dough in your pocket really coming from? What Yemeni Initiative? What Arab Initiative? What Saudi Initiative? Aren’t the Arabs really tired of this phony merry-go-round that the propaganda machines of the Arab leaders continue to play with their subject’s minds? About the only initiative I and more than 250 million Arabs are seeing are the ongoing initiative of the Zionist thieves to completely take over the entire remainder of Palestine, without any thought or even care of any initiatives coming from these irresponsible hoodlums who continue to have their say from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean.
"All I want to say is that the worth of the initiatives of our Arab leaders is summed up in one phrase: easy comes – easy goes. What is amazing to find is that throwing these initiatives from one Arab capital to another has come to be a favorite pastime of our leaders, that they have all decided to form a special office in the Arab League, called the Office of Initiatives, which will be responsible for gauging and monitoring all the initiatives of our Arab leaders, to see what is printed, said, or realized in public opinion circles and who many applause each initiative gains. Not only that, each Arab leader has vowed to create a Ministry of Initiatives on the Palestinian Crisis. Never mind that this crisis, which has been labeled by a prominent journalist as the longest human crisis in the history of mankind, is mostly due to their absolute incompetence."
Ahmed, at the far corner of the room, began to gather his books in anticipation of hearing the dismissal bill as he said: “You can be sure that there is one initiative that every Arab citizen is waiting for with great hope and anticipation – the initiative of that man there”, pointing to a picture of a self confident Hassan Nasrullah, the indefatigable leader of Hezbollah posted high at the one of the side walls of the room.
* Published in the YEMEN TIMES on April 3, 2008. Hassan Al-Haifi has been a Yemeni political economist and journalist for more than 20 years.