x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Freedom does not live in a shoe

The Saudi Al Watan daily carried a piece by editor in chief Jamal Ahmad Khashogji that said if one is a nationalist, "you would yell out that one shoe raised the status of the Arabs, let alone two.

The Saudi Al Watan daily carried a piece by editor in chief Jamal Ahmad Khashogji that said if one is a nationalist, "you would yell out that one shoe raised the status of the Arabs, let alone two. You would also write a poem, one of the verses of which would say: 'O shoe whose weight exceeded that of gold.'" However, he said, "If you were pro-American, awaiting an invasion carried out by the US and do not see in George Bush what the majority of the American people now see - even if too late - you would believe that the president was able to dodge not only one shoe, but two, with amazing prowess."

"If you were moderate and fair," he continued, "you would say that this young man expressed his anger and humiliation about the harm which affected Arabs and Muslims as a result of the unjustified American invasion of Iraq. "The presence of the Americans in Iraq is the cause of the problem, and their exit would secure a solution so that they can return peacefully, as partners and friends."

Dr Ahmad Youssef Ahmad, a regular columnist for the UAE's Al Ittihad, wrote that the recent Saudi-Egyptian summit in Jeddah was important because it took place "at a time of deterioration in Egyptian-Saudi relations." Many people, the author argued, "couldn't avoid concluding that there is competition between the two states. If this impression is true then it is one of the important keys for understanding the current reality of the inter-Arab relations."

Dr Ahmad concluded by saying that even after the visit of the Egyptian president to Saudi Arabia this month, "what is remarkable is that the visit didn't produce any exceptional results. There were no confirmations of the strength of the bilateral relations and no mention of the intention of the two sides to face the challenges that are almost toppling the Arab order."

Writing in Kuwait's Al Rai al Aam, Dr Mubarak al Zirwah, a regular columnist for the newspaper, said that the recent article written by Professor Faisal al Zamil in Al Anba'a newspaper calling for applying the international ISO index to Kuwaiti newspapers and publications "so that we can separate between the good and the bad and the honourable, aroused my concern". There is a press that tries to enlighten public opinion, al Zirwah wrote. "However there are also publications that are based on spreading a culture of pornography, injustice, and hostility all in the name of the freedom of the press. We are responsible for our words and we will be held accountable for them come judgment day."

"Some of us may believe that they are serving their country by reporting the news even though they are not certain of the veracity of the news and therefore they harm the reputation of a minister or MP or public figure or cleric or businessman or average citizen." Such people write their words and then "move on".

Editorialising on the current situation in Palestine, the daily Al Quds wrote that the ceremony held in Gaza to commemorate the establishment of Hamas "was an occasion to issue stances about the Palestinian domestic situation". To this end, the paper said Hamas refused extending the term of President Mahmud Abbas and in his "explosive speech", Ismail Haniyah noted that Egyptian mediation might no longer be acceptable. "The crowds and supporters reiterated the oath to remain loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood group and pledged to abide by its membership conditions. It was noted that the Palestinian flags were absent and the whole place was crammed with the green flags of Hamas."

The chances of resuming a dialogue, or chances for its success in case it were to be held, seem to be very unlikely. Thus, the division is deepening and is becoming permanent. * Compiled by Mideastdigest.com