Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) broadcast a debate between Dr. Abd Al-Azim Al-Maghrabi, an Egyptian MP, and Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi, head of the Arab-American Academic Association, in Denver, Colorado about democracy in the Middle East. Following are excerpts from the debate:
Dr. Al-Maghrabi: Sir, in your introduction you said that we? Why don't we accept democracy even if it comes from Satan? I would like to say that Satan has never established a democracy and never will, and that America is Satan.
Therefore, the Arab world does not trust America's claims regarding it. Where does this talk come from? Why is this stance coming from the US and not from Europe, even though Europe is Western? Because the precedents the US has set in the world and particularly in the Arab region cause it to loose all credence. We are talking about tyranny, and I ask: Who established and supported the tyrant regimes around the Arab world besides the US?
We are talking about corruption, Who spread? Even today, even today? This Ahmad Chalabi - who was criminally tried in Jordan and who is wanted by Interpol, in order to be extradited to Jordan rules Iraq on behalf of the US and receives $450,000 monthly from the CIA. Who sows corruption and protects it in our region other than the US?
If the US wants democracy in the Arab world, if Mr. Bush wants democracy in the Arab world, he must first implement democracy in the United States. Isn't it Bush who went to Congress and passed bills, allowing him to impose a state of emergency in America, to establish an emergency judiciary in America, and allowing him to arrest any citizen without accusing him of anything and for unlimited periods of time? Isn't it Bush who passed a bill allowing the FBI to enter any public library in the US with no early warning, and if he sees a person opening a certain book, this person must identify himself and reveal his nationality, the title of the book he's reading, and what subject he's researching?! Isn't it Bush who passed a bill that compels the universities and research institutes - and you are a university professor - to report on the researchers, their citizenship, ideas, research subjects?!
Isn't it Bush who captured citizens defending Afghanistan against the American attack and placed them until now, hands and legs in shackles, in iron cages like apes in Guantanamo for more than two years?! Where is the democracy Bush is prophesizing to us?!
Dr. Al-Nabulsi: The Arab world is - or rather the rulers of the Arab world are - opposing expanding liberty and establishing democracy. Why? Why? Because democracy will threaten the thrones and the bribes. Why? Because democracy will give the people back their stolen rights. Why? Because democracy will prevent them from handing down the reign (to their sons) in dynastic states. Why? Because democracy will cut off the fuel supply to the ruling families. Why? Because democracy will stop the corruption and treat the people fairly. And ultimately, why? Because democracy will expel the serpent from its lair of tyranny. That is why the Arab world's leaders are quivering because of democracy. There is no solution to the Palestinian issue in the current situation. As long as the Palestinian Authority is a corrupt and thieving authority, this cannot be solved. There was hope during the time of Mahmoud Abbas, but it soon dissipated, when Yasser Arafat felt the rug being pulled out from under his feet.
Dr. Al-Maghrabi: Whoever recognizes Israel does this under American pressure. Those who recognize Israel, are terrorized; terror was used against them. But does this mean the Arab nation accepts this? In addition, what is one of the primary goals of this plan?
Moderator: The Middle East plan...
Dr. Al-Maghrabi:One of the primary goals of this plan is to annihilate the Arab identity, to annihilate the Islamic identity, the identity of the Arab and Islamic nation?
Moderator: And this is a plan Ben Gurion suggested in '48?
Dr. Al-Maghrabi:Yes. And Peres renewed it ten years ago in his New Middle East plan, whose purpose is to dissolve this cultural and historic entity, and create a jellylike entity devoid of identity, devoid of characteristics, that is led by Israel.