Beyond economic interests
America has a golden oppurtunity of implementing its true values of
human rights and democracy in the Middle East
September 12, 2002
A year after 9/11, the world and the U.S. are celebrating this extremely sad
anniversary. The images of the two airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers still
seem unreal to me, as if directly coming out of a bad disaster film.
I discovered the images quite by chance on French television while turning on my
TV set to watch the afternoon programs. My reaction was one of shear astonishment.
I hardly cried or felt any emotion. It just seemed I was not living in a real world
or that I had just woken up from a bad dream.
My first reaction was to send an email to the iranian.com to announce what had happened.
In parallel, the WTC attacks had happened shortly after the assassination of General
Shah Massoud, the Afghan hero, the "Lion of Pashtun" who had left Paris
a few days before after what appeared as a dissapointing diplomatic visit.
My first reaction was, "I just hope it's not us Iranians who have done this
horrible thing." The souveniers of the American hostage crisis were still vivid
in my memory and I couldn't think of a possible link between those who commited this
horrible act and that of the leaders of the Islamic Regime. Fortunately no direct
responsability of Iran was proven.
Now a year later, an obscure Osama bin Laden and a certain Mullah Omar have been
accused of being directly responsible for the attacks and the US has freed Afghanistan
from the Taliban regime. Yet both bin Laden and the Omar are still running free somewhere
in the mountains of Afghanistan or the neighbouring countries.
When the festivities of the Millennium wher over, people of the world certainly all
wished and prayed for a more peaceful century. The previous one had carried its share
of hate, war, revolution and injustice -- along with great human achievements. Why
not hope for a more harmonious future in a world free from a nuclear race and ideological
The Cold War is over, and despite their shortcomings, the super powers of our time
are democratic countries, the strongest being the United States of America.
The World Trade Center was what New York had offered
the world as one of the greatest architectural achievements of the last quarter of
the 20th century -- a building which not even King Kong was able to breakdown with
his heavy weight in the 1976 version of the film with Beau Bridges and Jessica Lange.
Certainly after the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building, the WTC was
standing proud and tall, reaching for the skies as a testimony to the American Dream.
Yet as much as America was seen as the Land of Freedom and Democracyafter World War
II, today it is also accused of and envied by most third world countries as an imperialistic
nation. A country whose foreign policy only benefited dictators or despots.
As true or false this conception may be, one can only condemn what happened a year
ago in the largest cosmopolitan city in the world. As its name suggested, people
of all nationalities were killed and this crime has joined the long list of crimes
The millennium has once again dissapointed all those who believed humanity can change
for the better. The consenquences of this truly inhuman act will resound for decades
to come. It has already been responsible for the war in Afghanistan and may be responsible
for finishing off Sadam Hussein.
Whether this will have positive consenquences in the Middle East,
it is still too early to say. One thing is sure and that is that the "War on
Terror" does not only concern America and the Free World but also any country
which faces terrorism.
America has certainly payed a heavy price and probably learned through this worst
terrorist attack on its territory, that it cannot just stand aside and look at the
miseries of the world through its media. America cannot continue to carry on as if
it is not concerned about the future.
A propaganda war carried out by CNN is not enough to solve the deep problems in Third
World countries. A more long lasting and constructive solution must be found to deal
with interracial and religious conflicts, power struggles between dictatorial regimes,
poverty, the over galloping demography and the lack of human rights.
In the meantime, terrorists should not cry victory so soon. They are the true losers.
In wanting to defend their version of Islam, they have in reality contributed in
dooming their cause for good. They proved that they don't give the slightest value
to human lives. Their heart is made of stone and they will never be considered as
heroes of any nobel cause, let alone freedom.
The war in Afghanistan and, and the one that may be happening in Iraq in the near
future, is far from being won. I was personally happy to see that finally America
interfered in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and install Hamid Karzai in power.
The first images that struck me was young Afghans shaving and crying their joy on
the departure of the Taliban.
The recent assassination attempts on Karzai and his
ministers prove that the battle is far from being won. It should be a test for America
as well as the Free World that it is not enough to oust terrorists as individuals
but also that they must contribute in irradicating the roots of terrorism in the
I am in favor of an eventual attack on Iraq to oust Saddam, only if it means that
America and Western forces will stay in the region and work on establishing a viable
democracy. The same must be continued in Afghanistan.
Since September 11th, the world has entered a truly unpredictable era. If we want
a democratic Middle East, both Iraq and Afghanistan can provide the best laboratories
for a successful implementation. Japan and Germany were far from democratic and yet
thanks to the Marshall Plan and American insistance, they become truly democratic.
The establishment of Democracy needs planning and determination.
Leaving Afghanistan, a country totally devastated by 23 years of internal and external
warfare would be a huge mistake. Attacking Iraq only to oust Saddam Hussein without
the intention of implementing (be it by force) a democratic system would also be
America has a golden oppurtunity of implementing in
the region its true values of human rights and democracy beyond its economic interests.
By doing so it would certainly gain in respectability and popularity among the people
of the Middle East, who will no longer see America as a potential foe, but as a trustworthy
and friendly partner and promoter of basic rights in the region.
It is by being true to the values of its founding fathers that America will win the
battle against terrorism. It is by referring to Abraham Lincoln's political legacy
of "a government of the people, by the people and for the people" that
George W. Bush and his Administration will be able to breach the walls that have
circled political life in the Middle East for centuries.
A modern Marshall Plan can be implemented, for example, based on a ten-year presence
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever the Arab World or the neighbouring theocracy in
Iran may say or do, their people will come to the conclusion that their own systems
must evolve towards a democracy.