The Middle East: sick and refusing to be cured 308

 Barry Rubin writes in the Jerusalem Post:

Read the whole thing. Here’s an extract:

We now have the perfect metaphor for the Middle East’s political situation. In Egypt, a little boy with cystic fibrosis badly needs a certain medicine. Unfortunately for him, that drug is only produced in Israel, and Egypt’s health ministry won’t let it be imported.

Unless one understands how this story typifies the region, it’s impossible to understand the Middle East.

Let’s remember that Egypt has been at peace with Israel for over 30 years, and that, nevertheless, its government still does much to boycott, not to mention demonize, the Jewish state. By constantly pursuing a hate-Israel campaign, it stokes an atmosphere of hatred and extremism which also gives ammunition to the Muslim Brotherhood that seeks to turn Egypt into a war-oriented, totalitarian Islamist state.

So tightly controlled is the Egyptian media, so extraordinary the Israelphobia, that the English-language Cairo paper Al-Ahram was considered courageous even to mention the sick boy’s family’s effort to obtain the Israeli-invented medicine.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian wrote recently: "Admission into [a] state-run hospital is likely to cost one his life." This came shortly after a scandal involving a top ruling-party politician who was discovered selling tainted transfusion blood.

Arab countries cannot develop medicines and hi-tech advances precisely because they are too busy using up the resources for battles against various fantasy enemies of Allah.

SOME YEARS ago, a US official told me about funds that had been offered Egyptian officials to implement a program dealing with Red Sea pollution. But the project involved cooperation with Israel. The official was told that anything helping Israel was unacceptable, no matter how much good it might do Egypt. …

The rest of the world, finding such talk incomprehensible, either thinks it’s meaningless jabber, or ignores it altogether. Surely the problem must stem from addressable grievances, fixable misunderstandings and emotional exaggeration? Unfortunately, this is all nonsense.

What’s the effective voice in the region? Not the "peace process" concept used in talking with the West, but the "resistance" concept, used in talking among themselves. 


Posted under Commentary by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 308 comments.