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Dec 01, 2009
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Arab Intellectual Debate Whether Arab Peoples Share the Blame with Arab Rulers for the Decline of the Nation

#2318 | 06:05
Source: Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar)
itijah muakas with Marzouki and khodhari.doc

The following are excerpts from a TV debate on the topic of Arab rulers and peoples, between Muhammed Al-Khodhari, director of the Centre for New Security Studies, and Moncef Al-Marzouki, a Paris-based Tunisian human rights activist. The debate aired on Al-Jazeera TV on December 1, 2009.

Muhammed Al-Khodhari: The Arab peoples have gone from being subservient to and humiliated by a totalitarian, tyrannical ruler, to being subservient to and humiliated by the ruler's son. As a strategic analyst, I believe that within five years, these peoples will bow down to the ruler's chauffeur. I swear that within a decade, they will cheer the ruler's barber, and obey his orders.

Interviewer: Dear God

Muhammed Al-Khodhari: Yes. These peoples...

Interviewer: It might be the ruler's chef, you can never know.

Muhammed Al-Khodhari: These dead peoples, which know no shame, and which have become addicted to slavery, conceal all the signs of their humiliation, death, and submission, and shield themselves with the Palestinian cause, and the living, courageous, and heroic Palestinian people. However, I believe that if the Arab peoples turned their backs on the Palestinian cause... The heroic Palestinians must not seek the help of slaves...

Interviewer: Who do you mean by "slaves"?

Muhammed Al-Khodhari: Most of the Arab peoples.

Interviewer: Slaves?

Muhammed Al-Khodhari: Yes. If you have nothing – you have nothing to give.


Moncef Al-Marzouki: Let me give you a simple example, my dear sir. I was first-year medical student in France in the late 1960's, and I witnessed the May 1968 rebellion there. For a while month, there were endless demonstrations in all the cities of France, and extremely violent confrontations between the police and... Not a single Frenchman was killed throughout that month, whereas in Arab countries – what happened in the Rif uprising in 1958 [in Morocco]? They sprayed them with bullets from airplanes. What happened in Hama [in Syria]? 20,000 dead. What happened in Egypt? What happened in Tunisia? They sprayed them with machine-guns. And the list goes on.

All this is in addition to the concentration camps of Tadmor, Tazmamart, Abu Ghureib, and Abu Salim. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands who were imprisoned, who were tortured, and whose honor was violated. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people forced into exile.


Nowhere in the world is there a law like Law 49 in Syria. This law sentences people to death merely for belonging to a political group, regardless of whether they did anything. Before coming here, I looked into the history of Nazism and of Communism, and I did not find such a law. These are terrorist states, which employ unimaginable oppression and terrorism against their own peoples. They treat their peoples as if they were flies that must be sprayed with pesticide.


I challenge any Syrian, Tunisian, or Egyptian to calculate how many people were killed under foreign occupation in the Colonialist era, and how many were tortured or deported, and compare it to the "domestic occupation" by the regimes. He will discover that the Syrians suffered from their domestic occupation ten times more than from Colonialism, that the Tunisians suffered from domestic occupation 10 times or 1,000 times more, and the same goes for the Moroccans, and so on. That is the situation. These peoples have become fair game for the false, oppressive, and corrupt regimes.

Today, they live under the shadow of those regimes, which have taken over our army, our police, and our judiciary system. They have exploited the state, privatized it, and used it to violate our honor. And now you come and say that the peoples are responsible for this. Who brought these peoples to such a degree of death, subjugation, cowardice, and hypocrisy? Were they born like that? No, they weren't. They were brought to this state by the criminal, terrorist policies of the regimes. It has nothing to do with the peoples themselves.


If we compare these wretched peoples with all the peoples that were subject to dictatorship... Did the peoples under Stalin, Hitler, or Mussolini revolt? What brought about the change in Spain? The demonstrations of the Spanish people? It came from within the regime. All the peoples living under terrorist governments – and I mean "terrorist" in the full sense of the word – suffered the same way the Arab peoples are suffering today. If we drew comparison between our peoples and all the other peoples, we would find no difference whatsoever.

There is another issue. There are two good things I would like to tell the Arab peoples: [One is] that they are no different from other peoples under dictatorships, and the second is that they lie when they say that you are not fighting this. Since the inception of the dictatorial Arab regimes, they have been filling up the prisons. How come? The prisons are full because there is a resistance. Since the first day of the dictatorship in Tunisia, in Morocco, in Algeria, they have been encountering problems and difficulties... Let me finish, please...

Muhammed Al-Khodhari: Go ahead.

Moncef Al-Marzouki: The 1958 rebellion in Morocco and the 1984 bread riots in Tunisia – were they not popular uprisings? The many bread uprisings in Egypt – were they not popular rebellions? In Hama – wasn't that a popular uprising? All these rebellions are the most prominent aspect of the resistance, but the true resistance is measured not merely by the number of demonstrations, but by many things – by the work of NGOs, by the number of journalists in prison, and the number of peoples in exile. The resistance never ceased to exist.


The Arab world today is in a state of rebellion. That is what people do not realize.

Interviewer: A rebellion?

Moncef Al-Marzouki: Yes, an armed rebellion is taking place in several places. There was an armed rebellion in Algeria, and today, there is an armed rebellion in Yemen. There are several armed rebellions. There is civil rebellion and a popular resistance that ever ceased, and assumes different forms. It is progressing step by step, and these despicable regimes are on the verge of collapse.

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