After serving for a few years as ambassador of the United States to Lebanon, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman has finally recognized one of the many common denominators among Arab people. But he doesn’t actually know what to do with the information. Based on his new-found knowledge, he has leveled accusations against some important Arab personalities. Since he has become an expert in Middle Eastern affairs, whose opinion counts in Washington not only as far as Lebanon is concerned but as far as all the Arabs are concerned, I am going to help him out.
Responding to a question about an interview in “Le Monde” conducted with the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Parliament Member General Michel Aoun, Feltman described the interview as “amusing” and added “Had I seen what was said in this interview without knowing who said it, I would have thought it was said by Bouthaina Shaaban in “Tishreen” (a Syrian newspaper) or something of that kind and I wouldn’t have thought it was said by a Lebanese MP who fought for the independence of Lebanon for years.”
Mr. Feltman is right. The interview could have been ascribed to any Arab writer or politician who truly cares about the future of Lebanon and the unity of Lebanon. What General Aoun said in that interview is similar, in essence, to what is said by so many Arabs from Morocco to Kuwait, who all agree that the United States is trying to destabilize Lebanon just as it did Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, as part of its announced plan for “creative chaos” in the Middle East. Had Mr. Feltman been a reader of Arabic, he would have read similar statements to what General Michel Aoun said about the role of the U.S. in Lebanon in many Arab papers, both inside and outside the Arab world. But because Mr. Feltman sits with only one Lebanese group and listens only to this group, he mistakenly thinks that only this group represents Lebanon and anything else, said by anyone else, is a sign of foreign influence and interference. I hope no one ever thinks that the role of Mr. Feltman is a clear sign of foreign interference, as he seems to consider himself part and parcel of the Lebanese political matrix! Upon hearing Feltman’s statement, a Lebanese friend of mine called me and said if the U.S. were to tap our telephones and listen to our conversations at home, as they have done to Americans since 9/11, they would discover how much we loathe their policies towards Lebanon and the entire Arab world.
How does an ambassador to a country dare criticize an important public figure in that country? Feltman’s statement is proof that he behaves as a high commissioner to Lebanon rather than an ambassador and is yet more evidence of what Gen. Aoun said in his interview: that the U.S. is working hard to divide the Lebanese ranks and prevent them from reaching agreement.
How could Mr. Feltman possibly understand the depth of the many factors that make the Arabs one people? When he and his secretary of state were giving Israel extra time to kill more Lebanese, the Syrian people went to the borders to receive, with love and compassion, their Lebanese brothers and sisters fleeing criminal Israeli attacks using American arms and bombs.
Even as Mr. Feltman is finding the virtual agreement in opinion between a prominent Lebanese leader and a Syrian writer “amusing,” American forces continue to kill 30.000 Iraqis every month (“The Lancet,” the most prestigious British medical journal, October 12, 2006). Juan Cole, an American Middle East scholar, summarized the “Lancet” study in a particularly vivid comment: “The U.S. misadventure in Iraq is responsible, in a little over three years, for setting off the killing of twice as many civilians as Saddam managed to polish off in 25 years.”
Yet the U.S. has offered refuge to less than a thousand Iraqi refugees, whereas Syria has welcomed almost two million Iraqis with whom we share our schools, hospitals, food and houses, because we are one people, share the same life and look forward to a better future together.
I don’t expect Mr. Feltman to feel what we feel when we see a Palestinian man fatally wounded by an Israeli bullet, crawling with his blood trailing behind him while crying for his youth, or to have any of our feelings when we watch an American soldier standing with his boots on the bed of an Iraqi woman trying to cover herself as a stranger has violated the sanctity of her home only to see her daughter killed in front of her eyes. If Mr. Feltman wants to know more about the behavior of American occupation forces in Iraq, I advise him to read the study entitled: “Is the United States killing 10.000 Iraqis every month? Or is it more? by Prof. Michael Schwartz in Global Research, August 13, 2007. If he wants to know how the 30 billion dollars given to Israel will be spent he should look at the Israeli B’tselem website to have an inkling of Israel’s apartheid regime against Palestinians and the genocide against Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.
With some help, Mr. Feltman may start to see the reasons why Arabs, though they have never met each other, all have a similar reading of the U.S. role in Lebanon and the Arab World. He has not read Arab history or literature nor was he born into a civilization that embraced and spread the three monotheistic religions and granted humanity the products of excellent creative minds and built, for example, two thousand years ago an amphitheater in Bosra al Sham that hosts fifteen thousand viewers. What most Americans need is to understand this very important fact. All the Arabs, Mr. Feltman, see that the king has no clothes on and it would be good for the U.S. and for everyone else to see that too.