Wednesday, 11 June 2008


There is also Israel. Israel, despite being a wealthy country, is the number one beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid.There is a powerful Jewish lobby, very active in Washington, which consistently influences U.S. foreign policy in favour of Israel.Thus the U.S. is seen as a sponsor of the repressive tactics meted out by the Israelis on the Arabs. “America props up and arms Israel,” said Nassir to me, “and without American aid, Israel would collapse tomorrow.” Unlikely, but this remark illustrates the power of America and the fact she has neglected to find a lasting solution to the Palestinian problem. This problem has been allowed to fester and has fanned the flames of Arab anger.

Countries like Oman are changing at bewildering speed.Changes which took place over centuries in other countries have occurred in two generations in Oman.It took the British two hundred and fifty years to change from a largely agricultural society to an industrial one.There was a great deal of social conflict along the way.Developing societies are being asked to cope with a pace of change much faster than this.Omanis have shown amazing resilience and adaptability to cope with the changes so far.The IT Revolution is forcing yet more change upon them ,the pace of development is accelerating. Even we have problems adapting.How much greater are the problems of adaptation for people from traditional societies!

The West must not impose its social and political ideas on people, but, instead, allow them to change and adapt in their own good time.Arabs must feel that they have control over the process of change.The current British and American attempt to install parliamentary government in Iraq is a case in point.It looks like neo-colonialism, the return of the white man. To paraphrase George Bush, “We’re the richest country in the world because we have the best form of government –democracy- and we’re going to give it to you whether you like it or not.”The arrogance is breath-taking. Perhaps Arab countries will evolve more representative forms of government in the future. But it will come when a majority of the people want and feel the need for them.

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