Tuesday, February 24, 2015

“Apology Not Accepted”

I was thrilled to read about emirates airlines' rejection of Delta airlines’ apology over the deeply racist and banal 9/11 statements.  The comments in question were made by Delta CEO Richard Anderson, who was arguing that some state-owned Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) carriers are distorting global trade with the help of huge subsidies from their governments.  He denied on CNN claims that U.S. airlines benefitted from US government subsidies after the 9/11 attacks. He went on to say “It’s a great irony to have the UAE from the Arabian Peninsula talk about that,” he said, “given the fact that our industry was really shocked by the terrorism of 9/11, which came from terrorists from the Arabian Peninsula.”  

Shortly thereafter hell broke loose over his remarks.  Delta quickly apologized only to have Emirates Airlines make global headlines with its rejection of this apology.

To me, this story was symbolic on more than one level.

First, the USA is now tasting some of its own medicine.  The slightest hint that a certain industry is being impacted by foreign competitors resulted in having major industries rally the office of the President to contain the claim of this "threat".  This should give Americans a little taste of what it is like to have the affairs of one’s own country meddled with, albeit on a relatively minor and small scale. Second, the apology ensued only because they were contending with powers to be reckoned with.  Third, the reaction of the GCC airlines hit a chord not only with their own nationals, but I could safely assume with all Arabs as well.  We yearn for the day in which Arabs deal with America from a position of power and not one of weakness and vulnerability.  The power inherent in this rejection was so elating.  I wish we applied it in our foreign relations as well. 

This event sadly recalled the killing by the Israeli army in cold blood, exactly a year ago on March 10,  of Jordanian judge Raed Zuaiter.  To date Jordan has not even had an apology or a proper explanation of what happened.  Let alone, of course, seeing Jordan properly retaliate for this heinous terrorist crime.  Today the official stance is that "the government is waiting for the findings of the investigative report Of the Jordano-Israeli joint committee!!!".

Finally, and going back to the airline story, I must confess that I was kind of disappointed to see that the sweet "apology not accepted" remark made by Tim Clark, a British national, who is the CEO of Emirates Airlines.  I wished it came from Sheikh Ahmad bin Maktoum or any other Emirati national.  Please don't get me wrong, but the complex of Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” runs deep in my veins!