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baqqa mqarqra
A Frog's-eye view

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Friday, August 30, 2002
You have to love the BBC. One of my favourite spots on their website is the Talking Point section. Today, there they ask the question, "Should Saddam Hussein be set an arms deadline?" By far the best answer comes from an anonymous reader:

"I think no action should be taken unless the UN agrees. That is why we have the UN and we have no right to act with such arrogance and set our own terms and agenda on what is a global problem. We cannot allow our government to take us into a war without consulting the nation - they are OUR servants and should do what we, the electorate, elect them to do and not impose on us their own agendas. I am very very worried about the current situation and do not want to be dragged into a war I do not support. I am also worried about the situation with Saudi Arabia. Having lived in Saudi for four years I have nothing but the highest respect for their culture and think that the current US stance is causing nothing but trouble and any repercussions lie firmly at the feet of the Bush and Blair administration."

Well, we have all seen how effective the UN has been in solving the world's problems. But what really fascinates me is the statement "Having lived in Saudi for four years I have nothing but the highest respect for their culture". Nothing but the highest respect? What, not even in iota of criticism? Presumably, SCB has nothing but the highest respect for totalitarian rule; for the huge social differentials, whereby some of the richest people in the world fail rule over a poor and illiterate society for their own benefit; for the subjugation of women; for the sponsorship of terrorism; for terrible racism (if SCB is not a Muslim then many sites would have been closed before him/her) etc. I am sure that there are many impressive elements of Saudi culture (during my brief visit to Abu Dhabi in 1986 I was certainly impressed at the architecture); however, to blind oneself completely to the nature of that totalitarian regime is ridiculous. It is also no reason not to go to war against Iraq. That decision must be taken on a ration basis, and since I have no spy satelites or secret intelligence sources I am certainly not qualified to make that decision. Apparently, BBC readers have access to sources unavailable to me.

Incidentally, I was going to put on something from the Arabic press, but Al-Ayyam have not updated their web-site this morning, and Al-Jazeera are mainly reporting the same stories that appear in the West. Given the large number of Arabic-reading countries and people, it's incredible that virtually all of the stories on their site refer to the Arab-Israel conflict.

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