The Emperor's Clothes
As it so happened, I heard President Bush's speech in Copenhagen. It
reminded me immediately of the most famous story created in that town:
"The Emperor's Clothes".
Everybody praised this fine speech. Prime Minister
A. lauded the style, President B. commended the fabric, Sheik C. admired the
collar. And I saw only a naked emperor.
Everynody knew, of course, that it was a stupid speech,
perhaps the most silly ever uttered by an American president. But who will
confront the leader of the world's sole superpower? Who will bring upon
himself the wrath of a man that possesses such frightening power, while
voicing such inanities?
A 12-year old would have been ashamed of presenting
such a composition to his teacher. The assumptions are baseless, the general
picture resembles a caricature, the conclusions are ridiculous and the parts
contradict each other.
It says that the Palestinians must chose their leader in
a free, democratic election, but that they are forbidden to elect a
leader not approved by Sharon and Bush.
They must establish a democratic, liberal,
pluralistic and multi-party system, including separation of powers, independent
courts and transparent finances. For that purpose they are commanded to accept
the assistance of America's allies in the Middle East: democratic Saudi Arabia,
pluralistic Egypt and liberal Jordan. Financial transparency like in Riyadh,
separation of powers like in Cairo, independent courts like in Amman.
The establishment of this ideal system is a
precondition to any peace negotiations. In Europe, such a system was
achieved after a struggle of hundreds of years. In the Arab world, it does
not exist anywhere. Arafat is the only Arab chief of state who was chosen in
free elections, under close international supervision, personally overseen
by ex-President Jimmy Carter.
In Bush's crooked mirror, terrorism antedates the
occupation. Indeed, he did not mention the occupation at all in this
context. There is nothing but terrorism. In his limited world-view,
terrorism is the sum of everything: In the beginning God created the War
on Terrorism, and the whole world revolves around it. Terrorism, like
Satan, exists since the creation, it is not the result of anything, it
has its own independent existence. And, much as a devout Christian is
commanded to fight Satan every moment in his life on earth, so must
every human being fight terrorism and will be judged accordingly by the
divine judge, Bush.
And what i s terrorism? Terrorism is what the enemies
of the USA are doing. Friends of the USA cannot, of course, do such a thing.
In Turkey, for example, it is the Kurds who are the terrorists, while the
Turkish army is a humanitarian outfit. Good friend Putin does not commit
acts of terrorism, his deeds in Grozni are nearly as charitable as those of
Sharon in Jenin.
But Artafat is a terrorist. He is also corrupt, also a
dictator. This needs no proof. Sharon says so, and Sharon is beyond
reproach. Arafat has to be eliminated, removed from office, expulsed,
murdered. (Bush, of course, does not speak of murder, but not so long ago
the decree forbidding American agencies to kill foreign leaders was
rescinded. Actually, in this instance their involvement is not needed, the
slightest hint will suffice for Sharon to execute the deed at once.)
What will happen after Arafat's
removal-expulsion-murder? According to Bush, it's quite simple:
reform-minded Palestinians will come forward, take some Palestinian
professor from Harvard or Oxford as president and create the Palestinian
Bush, of course, does not imagine that something very
different is going to happen. The man after Arafat will have to show that he
is no Mossad or CIA stooge, therefore he will have to be more extreme than
Arafat. In order to avoid being executed as a traitor within 24 hours, he
will have to create an alliance with Hamas,. In the coming elections, the
candidate of the "National and Islamic Forces" will surely win.
That's the best-case scenario. In the worst-case
scenario, there will not be an alternative leadership at all. Palestinian
society will break up into hundreds of shreds, each of which will commit
suicide bombings in the occupied territories, Israel, throughout the Middle
East and the world. Chaos will reign supreme. This is what Sharon really
desires, because it will enable him to carry out ethnic cleansing and annex
the Palestinian territories, fulfilling his dream of at least 50 years.
The good Bush certainly does not want this, but since he
has become the squire of Sharon, a kind of American Sancho Panza to the
Israeli Don Quixote, it's what the Don says that counts.
After the speech, I met with a senior European
diplomat. "Well, it may not be the most brilliant discourse we ever heard," he
said with a slight, ironic smile, "But it's what we have got. It would not be
wise to confront Bush head on, that would only cause him to become obstinate."
If so, what can be done? The ironic smile did not leave
his lips. "European diplomacy has hundreds of years of experience. The
clever thing to do is to pick from the speech one positive sentence and blow
it up, ignoring the negative parts."
Europe will concentrate on the elections. These must be
free, under close international supervision. For the elections to be
free, candidates must be free to move. For parties to be formed and
conduct their campaigns, there must be freedom of speech and
association. All this is impossible under occupation. Therefore, first
of all, the occupation has to be removed from the Palestinians
Under the Oslo agreements, the Palestinian inhabitants
of Jerusalem enjoy the right of active and passive vote, and they, too, must
be allowed to move and campaign freely.
Until the elections, the existing elected instituted,
including the chairman of the authority, must continue to function.
Europe will continue to deal with him. Arafat, of course, like any other
citizen, has the right to present his candidacy - and, if chosen in a
free election, the world (led by Europe) will recognize him. Nobody
doubts that he will indeed be elected by a massive majority.
So, after all, a golden thread can be found in the
emperor's clothes. Attention: Hans Christian Anderson.
To discus this article:
haGalil onLine 05-07-2002