At a time when Gaza is under siege and sits in total isolation and with a looming humanitarian catastrophe, it is worth putting all of this into some perspective.
This is a time when, in the words of qadi Abu Sa’ad al-Harawi to the Caliph al-Mustazhir Biilah in 1099, some Arabs “lead lives as frivolous as garden flowers, while their brothers in “Gaza” have no dwelling place save the saddles of camels and the bellies of vultures”.
This is a time when Rolls Royce reports that the only six terrorism-proof armoured Rolls-Royce Phantoms made and sold in the world are on their way to the Arab World.
This is a time when George Bush storms the area bearing a $30 billion package of military aid for Israel and a $20 billion package of Humvees and guided bombs for the Arabs.
This is a time when the US military aid to Israel gets rewarded by the Emirates' ruler decadent gift to Bush of a “gigantic necklace made of gold, diamonds, rubies and emeralds, so gaudy and cumbersome that even the Secret Service agent carrying it seemed nonplussed”. While the Saudi Arabian king drapes Bush with an emerald-and-ruby necklace that could have come from Ali Baba's cave. Floor-length, fur-lined robes were also the costume of choice in this farce where the Arabs were the jesters in Bush’s court.
This is a time when there is no account to date of $12 billion in Iraqi money that was converted to dollars, held in the Federal Reserve Bank in New York and shipped in pallets to Baghdad that totaled 363 tons. When asked about this largest cash withdrawal in the history of man, Paul Bremer III, with support from Republicans, fired back by insisting he did the best he could in the middle of a war and repeating over and over that he was spending Iraqi _ not U.S. _ money.
This is a time when we should all repeat the plea of qadi Abu Sa’ad al-Harawi to all the co-opted Arab leaders: "How dare you slumber in the shades of complacent safety when your brothers are freezing cold, out of medicine, out of food, at the brink of starvation, absolutely helpless, and with your tacit “explicit” approval?"
"In 1099, and in response to qadi Abu Sa’ad al-Harawi, Caliph al Mustazhir Billah began by expressing his profound sympathy (istinkar and condemnation), and compassion (meaningless gestures for media consumption). Then he ordered seven exalted dignitaries to conduct an inquiry into these troublesome events (equivalent of Arab league and seven Amro Moussas). It is perhaps superfluous to add that nothing was ever heard from that committee of wise men (surprise! surprise!)".
As for those who are still waiting for a more meaningful answer to the qadi’s plea, I doubt we will ever get such an answer. For now maybe armoured Rolls Royce phantoms is the only answer!
As I watch what is happening in Gaza today, I can’t help but recall Muzaffar al-Nawwab’s poetry (Here he addresses Arab leaders):
“Jerusalem is the bride of your Arabness!! So why did you usher all the fornicators of the night into her room, And stand eavesdropping from behind the door to the screams of her torn virginity? You drew your daggers, and swelled with pride and you yelled at her to keep quiet, for honor's sake How honorable of you!! Sons of bitches, can a woman being raped keep quiet? You sons of bitches! I'm not ashamed to tell you what you really are! A pigsty is cleaner than the cleanest of you. Even a tombstone would be moved, But you? Not a single fiber in you flinches!”