Saudi columnist says number of Ariel Sharon's "victims" tiny compared with victims of Arab rulers and terrorists
To write this in the Saudi government daily is pretty remarkable and may surprise many readers that it was even allowed. His recognition of Israeli democracy is possibly more acute than in much Western media
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is reporting that the Saudi government daily Okaz has published a remarkable piece of writing by a liberal Saudi columnist in which he tears in to the tyranny and terrorism of the Arab world, even going so far as to praise Israeli democracy.
The article was written pegging off the death of Ariel Sharon and contains the usual attacks on him. However, it is the lengths to which he is prepared to go to condemn the Arab world that will be surprising to many people. The excerpts quoted below are from MEMRI's translation from the original Arabic.
"...as we ponder the news of the death of the [former] Israeli prime minister [Ariel Sharon], we find that, despite the horrific acts of massacre he carried out against the Palestinians, the number of his Arab victims is nowhere near that of the number of Arabs who have been murdered by tyrannical Arab [rulers] or killed in suicide bombings carried out by Arab terrorist groups. This is the truth, whose shame will haunt us throughout history."
There could be an agenda against the Arab Spring in columnist Khalaf Al-Harbi's writing and his anti-Zionism is, of course, a given. Nonetheless, his assault on violence and oppression from Arab leaders and terror groups is devastating, as is his recognition of Israeli democracy:
"Sharon did everything for his nation. He participated in wars as an officer and defense minister, he slaughtered and conquered the territory of others, and he accepted the rules of the democratic game more than once and did not stubbornly remain in power when the Israeli voter did not reelect him.
"Even though he is a national hero in the eyes of his people, his family had to participate in the costs of his [medical] treatment after Israel capped the sum set aside for this purpose at four million dollars. This, because, in a country that staunchly guards public funds, no one is above the law, not even national heroes."
Acknowledgement of such realities, especially in the context of a mass assault on wrongdoing in the Arab world, is rare even on the BBC, CNN et al, and in print outlets such as the Guardian.
The writer goes on to say:
"Today we understand that, even using nuclear bombs, Sharon could not have done the Arabs more [harm] than they have caused themselves. The schisms and the blood feuds ongoing throughout the Arab homeland in general, and in Palestine in particular, exceed our enemies' greatest hopes.
"Moreover, [until recently,] every extremist Zionist who tried to portray Arabs as a barbaric people who only understand the language of force [had to] base his argument on a few small lies.
"Today, however, [we face] a reality that exceeds imagination, [and includes] decapitations, bombing houses with explosive barrels, the rape of women, and the expulsion of millions of innocent civilians. [Now] the Zionists no longer have to try and distort the image of the Arabs using American cinema and global media, [for] the Arabs have provided them with a short cut.
"Now the world need only follow the news in order for to know how cheap human life is in Arab countries!"
The column was published on January 13. To our knowledge this translation by MEMRI is its first rendition in English.
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