|From MEMRI: Surprised?
Special Dispatch - Egypt/U.S. & the Middle East
April 11, 2004
Egyptian Professor at American University of Cairo Reacts to U.S. Reform Initiative & Claims there is 'No Conclusive Proof'' Arabs & Muslims were Behind 9/11 - U.S. May be Responsible
In an article titled 'Colonial Echoes' which appeared recently in Al-Ahram Weekly, Galal Amin, a professor of economics at the American University in Cairo, reacted to the U.S. administration's Greater Middle East Initiative. The following are excerpts from the article:(1)
The U.S. Greater Middle East Initiative - What For, Why Now?
"A few lines into the text of the Greater Middle East Initiative one is gripped with puzzlement. The initiative tops the agenda of the G8 conference scheduled for June in the U.S. The text, published on 13 February in the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat, gets into the drawbacks of Arab societies by line three. A small introductory paragraph and we are faced with the horrors of the Arab world. The combined GDP of members of the Arab League is less than that of Spain, for example. About 40 per cent of Arab adults, or 65 million persons, are illiterate, two-thirds of these women. The list goes on, establishing the claim, made in the first sentence of the text, that the situation presents a 'challenge and unique opportunity to the international community.'
"An opportunity for what exactly? For reform? In what field? For renaissance? In what area? The initiative cites three areas of reform, based on the two Arab Human Development Reports issued by the UNDP in 2002 and 2003. The text cites the UNDP reports frequently, stressing the fact that their authors were Arabs. So their conclusions about the problems of their own countries must be beyond question, right? The initiative's text notes three areas where the Arabs are particularly at fault: (a) democracy, (b) knowledge, and (c) women's empowerment. The initiative speaks at length of the 'expansion' of economic opportunity in the Arab world."
'What Business Have You Interfering In Our Affairs? Have We Complained To You About Our Democracy, Knowledge and Women, and Asked for Help?'
"The first thing that must come to the Arab mind is: what a bundle of nonsense is this? What business do you have interfering in our affairs? Have we complained to you about our democracy, knowledge and women, and asked for help? The more one thinks of it, the more outrageous the whole thing seems. For one thing, the ailments the text mentions - democracy, knowledge, women - go back a long way, decades if not centuries. So why the sudden interest in righting the wrongs? Why now?...
"The only explanation the Greater Middle East Initiative offers is that the deplorable conditions in Arab countries spawn Arab and Islamic terror and the latter threatens U.S. and European security, as the September 11 events show. So something has to be done at last. According to the text of the initiative, 'the three drawbacks mentioned by the Arab authors of the two UN Arab Human Development Reports for 2002 and 2003 - freedom, knowledge, and women empowerment - create conditions detrimental to the national interests of all G8 members. So long as the number of people deprived of their political and economic rights is rising, the region will witness an increase in extremism, terror, international crime, and illegal immigration.'"
'No Conclusive Proof' that 9/11 Was an Outcome of Arab and Islamic Terror - It May Have Been Done by Americans or with American Assistance
"The claim that the Greater Middle East Initiative aims, wholly or partly, to eliminate terror of the type seen on September 11, 2001 is unconvincing, for several reasons. One is that there is still doubt that the September attacks were the outcome of Arab and Islamic terror. No conclusive proof to this effect is yet available. Many writers, American and European, as well as Arab, suspect that the attacks were carried out by Americans, or with American assistance, or that Americans knew about them and kept silent. Such doubts are strong and rest on damning evidence, but the U.S. administration forcefully censors them and bans any discussion of the matter - something that, by the way, makes one suspect the US administration's commitment to 'knowledge.' But enough of that."
'The Claim That Terror Is The Outcome Of Lack Of Freedom, Knowledge And Women's Empowerment Is Untenable'
"Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the September attacks were truly the outcome of Arab and Islamic terror. Let's also assume that so-called Arab and Islamic terror is a phenomenon truly independent from any foreign intervention. Let's assume that Arab and Islamic terror has not been helped and abetted by intelligence services from other parts of the world... Let's assume that Arab and Islamic terror is purely Arab and Islamic, emanating from Arab sources, grown on Arab soil. Even if this were