Following are excerpts from an interview with Egyptian Sociologist Sa'd Al-Din Ibrahim, which was broadcast on Al-Arabiya TV on October 20, 2005
Reporter: Dr. Sa'ad Al-Din, you were talking about the midwife role of George Bush. Does this mean that we should thank George Bush and the US for their role?
Sa'd Al-Din Ibrahim: I'm grateful to whoever helps the region in moving towards democracy, and I have no inhibitions about thanking Europe, America, India, or countries where people ride on elephants. Any help we get in implementing reform - we must be grateful to those who provide it, appreciate it, and stop talking about conspiracies, or fearing anything foreign or coming from abroad.
We have suffered for a long time, and tyrannical rulers are the only ones who benefit from this fear. Thanks should be given where thanks are due.
Like my brother Abd Al-Khaleq just said, the have been struggling for democracy for years and decades. If America comes at the eleventh hour and supports these demands – it is most welcome.
Our leaders have dealings with America on a daily basis, and they import everything from there, yet they do not hesitate to use the American bogeyman when it comes to reform.
Israel was established in 1948. Then, the average income in Palestine was lower than in Egypt, for example. Today, 55 years after the establishment of Israel, the average income in Israel is 15 times higher than in Egypt.
Israel fought all same wars as the Arabs and Egyptians. How come it continued to progress to the point it has become a technological force to be reckoned with? The reason is that it's a democracy.
It saddens me and breaks my heart to say this. Countries like India, Malaysia, and many others have suffered horrors, wars and famine, and emerged from a situation that was much worse than that of us Arabs, after World War II.
The Arab leaders and tyrannical regimes have used Israel as a pretext. True, Israel has exhausted many Arab resources, but nevertheless, I say that the regimes have exhausted the resources of their own countries, have smuggled and stolen more than the war against Israel has cost us.