Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sami Moubayed's recent article titled "Women of Valour" on Mideastviews.com (no I won't link) elicited two reactions in me. The first was to throw myself out of the nearest window, but luckily I resisted and instead went on to my second, a strongly worded letter. For those who care, here it is:

I write to you with reference to your article "Women of Valour" to express my surprise with your conclusions. It is in the nature of man to aspire for the good but the problem has always been in identifying this good. A child would begin identifying this good with that which suits her own interests. However it is maturity, knowledge, and experience which make the young woman realise that there is a good which is beyond her interests and that is higher, nobler and finer to aspire to. Man is by nature a political animal, that means that the narrow interpretation of interests expands beyond those of the self, and into family, friends, tribe and country. This nobler and highest of goods makes it worthy of the greatest sacrifice when it is threatened, and morality rightly praises those who are prepared to undertake this. For an individual to hide behind their self-interest by invoking a sham that is abstract and which criminally disregards the reality of occupation, daily oppression and indeed, slow genocide, then we are compelled by morality to condemn such behaviour. The West has forgotten this lesson philosophically, politically and socially by institutionalising political liberalism and capitalism and thus murdering the souls of it's own people. Millions see this, see the West for what it is, yet you let down your own students, your own country -which you profess to love- and yourself by writing an article which insults the memory of these outstanding individuals who have, in their deaths, done more than a million living cowards for their nation. To sacrifice this for theatrical effect in your lectures and articles only adds insult to injury and I sincerely hope that you review your position in future.



sasa said...


You know how I respect your opinion but I have to disagree with you. Strongly.

The irony of your argument is that you are fighting your cause as a living person - a writer, an academic. Just as Sami is, and just as I am.


Julia Riber Pitt said...

I agree with the first part. Humans have always seemed to care about others beyond themselves, and by instinct this is how we become political.

Yaman said...

You missed the main point of the article, Wassim, which is that Sami Moubayed Loves Life. This article, which was originally penned in Gulf News just days before his trip to Washington DC to court American Zionists, seems to me more like his gesture of good intentions and good will to those folks, then an appeal to Arabs, which if it were an appeal to Arabs, would have been written in Arabic--if he dared disrespect them in Arabic.

It is one point to say that a suicide operation wastes human power and potential... it's another to claim, as Sami does, that a propensity to military operations has something to do with the "value of life in the Arab world" or "the way the Arab world thinks," all of which only seemed to me as code for 'the Arab mind.'

We already know, anyway, what the value of life in the Arab world is for the White House and the Knesset--maybe that should have been the topic of their pathetic Brookings speech. But Sami's not an intellectual treatise, it is entertainment for the emperors.

Can you believe that one of them actually said--and he was not joking--that Fallujah is closer to Washington than New Orleans?

In any case, the discussion regarding this article has nothing to do with philosophical questions with morality and self-interest, or the so-called 'death of souls in the West.' It has to do with Sami Moubayed re-assuring the world that he Loves Life, even though he believes in resistance, and therefore is qualified to give a speech at Brookings and interact with the White Man.

Anonymous said...

Again I have to say I disagree...what have the scores of valiant women achieved by blowing themselves up? It only blackens our name further...

Lirun said...

i agree with you arabista..

thank you wassim for bringing the article to our attention.. its an interesting analysis..

rare that a camel can see its own bump..

Maysaloon said...

How can you disagree strongly with me? You've presented me with what is essentially a non-argument.

The irony of your argument is that you are fighting your cause as a living person

I have never heard, in the entire history of armed struggle against occupation, of somebody fighting whilst they are dead.

Maysaloon said...

Thanks for stopping by.

I agree with you completely, there is that dimension to Sami's political [non]position. I simply wanted to take it down to basics because I didn't want to leave any ambiguity about what he was stating and what my position on that was. It's hard to argue with the truth once it is clear.

You refer to these women as brave but then say that what they did was useless, blackens our name. If what they did was useless then shouldn't the word be fools? A fool recklessly throws away their life, if what they do blackens our names then wouldn't that mean they are an embarrassment?

What makes these women valiant for you? We call people brave when we envy the courage they have in the face of something which terrifies us. In calling them brave, valiant, we recognise our own shortcomings and failings, or those of people in general. A person who is valiant is not the same as "a person". They possess something, courage, which the "person" does not normally have. That is why we distinguish between the two and that is why we also mark this term as something positive and different from "useless" or "embarrassing". They are valiant women, you were right about that bit, but like Sasa, you can't let the discourse of the enemy convolute and confuse your position on resistance and struggle. You just end up saying two opposite things.

Lirun said...

i still agree with arabista..

women like that make it all the harder for me to convince my people that not all arabs are violent.. and that they value life and their own children and daughters..

it paints islam in a bad light.. and makes peace as well as the ending of palestinian suffering a further eventuality..

in short it harms the people that matter..