Faisal’s Tobril

Or the way I see it

Hamas: not completely broke.

Posted by Faisal on April 17, 2006

I came across this news item posted on the International Herald Tribune’s website.

So, I guess this means that the Palestinian government now has a little bit of money with which to function. Though it is supposedly far less than the amount they need to pay the salaries and debts that they own. You might remember that most major donors chose to halt all aid to the Palestinian government as soon as the democratically elected Hamas came to power. This, of course, was disastrous.

This is a compilation of the Palestinian government’s sources of aid by donor countries. My thanks to Sandmonkey for posting it.

I also came across this transcript of a PBS show, NewsHour, that discussed the issue of Hamas being voted in as the Palestinian government.

The whole discussion is interesting, but it is one statement in particular that I wish to comment upon (I have not heard it being said often);

ROBERT SATLOFF: No, I think this is a moment for clarity. A large plurality of the Palestinian people elected a terrorist organization as its leadership. This is a moment where the world needs to respond to that very clear statement. I respect their vote. They should respect the world’s response to this vote.

Mr. Satloff is faultless when making this comment. The Palestinians should respect the world’s response to this vote. If not respect, then at least accept. It is in my belief that they have actually done that. Barring any proclamations they might have made upon winning, most news items either carry opinions on the issue as a whole or interviews with members of the Hamas government.

Furthermore, I am proud that an Arab country (as ironic as it may seem, the only “un-recognized” Arab country) had a free and fair elections (to a large extent, anyways).

Now then, to get to the “respect the world’s response to this vote” part. Lots of Arab media and thinkers would tell you: An Arab state finally has a democratically elected government and the West is still bitching about it. Nothing satisfies them. What do they want? To choose who comes to power personally? To put their men as Prime Ministers or Presidents if they don’t like the ones there?

Of course, they were quite fiery when making these remarks.

The answer is, of course, Yes! Who wouldn’t you fools? What government would not want to choose who has the power in places which might affect its people and its well-being, politically and economically, as a state. It’s called realism.

Maybe Political Science, as a major, wasn’t so stupid after all. You see, as my professor in POLS 320: International Relations informed us, there are two major schools of thought when it comes to international relations between states; the realists and the liberals. Of course, now we have the neo-realists and the neo-liberals. Now, to the realists, power is everything. You have the power, you use the power. You can get what you want with your power… go on ahead and do it. That’s the way of life. The state is the largest entity when it comes to International Relations and one’s level of analysis should not extended beyond that.

On the other hand, the liberals are believers in international institutions and organizations. They believe in collective decisions and that the state is not the largest entity when it comes to IR; the UN, WTO, WB, IMF and all those organizations are. These people do not believe in war, but they do acknowledge that it occurs. Even though I once adamantly followed this school, it reflects a highly idealistic and non-practical way of viewing things.

The U.S. (Current World Hegemon), as a government, follow the neo-realism school of thought. Meaning that everyone has to live with this. So live with it. I’m not saying don’t bitch about it, O Arab countries. You should. You never know when a European (minus the UK) might be listening. For some weird reason, the Europeans are more sympathetic to this than the Americans are. It might be the two World Wars, all the deaths they suffered or that they want people to like them so that they can be the next International Hegemon, when it’s time for the U.S. to step down.

It matters not. When they listen to you, they do things just to spite the U.S., just convince them that you’re important to them or their people in some way (the subscribe to the neo-realist club too, you know) and then you’re set… for a period of time at least.

What you should be doing, O foolish Arabs, is working like hell to gain power. I almost hope there’s some Top Secret Plan for doing this and that everything that’s happening now is a mere facade, until one day, 25 years from now, an Arab Leader or person will suddenly go on television and go: TA-DAAAA! We’re rich!! We’re Powerful!! Or some other weird thing.

Yeah, right.

And that’s the way I see (or is it dream?) it.

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3 Responses to “Hamas: not completely broke.”

  1. Hi there,

    First time on your blog. I just read your post about the Hijab ad you saw and you really wanted to know who did it, so I thought I’d give you some information about it. The Hijab campaign (it was more than one ad) was done by a Saudi advertising agency called 3 points advertising. I know the owners very well since I used to work with them . They’re a group of mainly US educated Saudi young guys (in their early thirties) who started their careers working in an American multinational operating in Saudi Arabia. Because of their experience in marketing and advertising in this company, they know how to effectively reach their target audience. After they left the American company and started their ad agency, they became more religious and they wanted to change how young Saudis and Arabs approach Islam. They wanted the new generation to view Islamic beliefs as something more compatible with a modern lifestyle. They basically want a more up-to-date, modern, refined application of Islamic principles. They’ve also done advertising campaigns for prayers, they are producing a TV show (Yalla Shabab) that airs on MBC that also aims for a modern interpretation of Islam targetting young Arabs, and they worked on several shows with the American Sheikh Hamza Youssef. The ad campaigns are financed by several rich Saudi trading companies that they have access to. I think they’re doing a really proffessional job – although I disagree with the message. Hope I didn’t bore you with too much info, but you seemed really curious about this.

  2. Faisal said

    Thanks for the info. My friends had, indeed, told me about the Prayer ad. And I do believe I had seen it, but it was on mbc a couple of months back, so I just supposed that the saudi government did it.

    Besides, one can’t doubt that Prayers are part of being a Muslim (and all religions have their prayers as well), so I didnt really think about it al that often. Again, thanks for the information concerning the Advertisement.

    Related Post: http://snefru.blogspot.com/2006/04/arab-music-channels-and-theological.html

  3. Ahmed Diaa said

    Hey Faisal, I disagree with what you said about the liberals being idealistic. I believe that what they do is idealize the immoral practices. You know, for realists, politics is immoral but this is the way it is. But for the liberals… How come? Killing, massacring, blackmailing, and all these stuff could be very moral and done in the name of democracy. They say that democracies do not go to war with each other, which implies it is ok for them for democracies to go to war with non-democracies (notice the tolerance), and in fact one prominent liberal (don’t remember the name) actually said that when democracies go to war this is for higher aims (now we have democratic jihad, hah). In the name of such ideas Athens went to war in Sparta and committed the massacre in Dilos at the beginning of history, and the US went to war with “terrorism” and committed the massacres in Iraq at “the end of history”.

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