vendredi 23 janvier 2009

Robert Fisk: So far, Obama's missed the point on Gaza ...

It would have helped if Obama had the courage to talk about what everyone in the Middle East was talking about. No, it wasn't the US withdrawal from Iraq . They knew about that. They expected the beginning of the end of Guantanamo and the probable appointment of George Mitchell as a Middle East envoy was the least that was expected. Of course, Obama did refer to "slaughtered innocents", but these were not quite the "slaughtered innocents" the Arabs had in mind.
There was the phone call yesterday to Mahmoud Abbas. Maybe Obama thinks he's the leader of the Palestinians, but as every Arab knows, except perhaps Mr Abbas, he is the leader of a ghost government, a near-corpse only kept alive with the blood transfusion of international support and the "full partnership" Obama has apparently offered him, whatever "full" means. And it was no surprise to anyone that Obama also made the obligatory call to the Israelis.
But for the people of the Middle East, the absence of the word " Gaza " – indeed, the word " Israel " as well – was the dark shadow over Obama's inaugural address. Didn't he care? Was he frightened? Did Obama's young speech-writer not realise that talking about black rights – why a black man's father might not have been served in a restaurant 60 years ago – would concentrate Arab minds on the fate of a people who gained the vote only three years ago but were then punished because they voted for the wrong people? It wasn't a question of the elephant in the china shop. It was the sheer amount of corpses heaped up on the floor of the china shop.
Hanan Ashrawi got it right. The changes in the Middle East – justice for the Palestinians, security for the Palestinians as well as for the Israelis, an end to the illegal building of settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab land, an end to all violence, not just the Arab variety – had to be "immediate" she said, at once. But if the gentle George Mitchell's appointment was meant to answer this demand, the inaugural speech, a real "B-minus" in the Middle East , did not.
The friendly message to Muslims, "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect", simply did not address the pictures of the Gaza bloodbath at which the world has been staring in outrage. Yes, the Arabs and many other Muslim nations, and, of course, most of the world, can rejoice that the awful Bush has gone.
Sure, give the man a chance. Maybe George Mitchell will talk to Hamas – he's just the man to try – but what will the old failures such as Denis Ross have to say, and Rahm Emanuel and, indeed, Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton? More a sermon than an Obama inaugural, even the Palestinians in Damascus spotted the absence of those two words: Palestine and Israel . So hot to touch they were, and on a freezing Washington day, Obama wasn't even wearing gloves.
(The Independant)

COMMENTAIRE DE DIVERCITY
OBAMA EVITE TROIS MOTS QUI FÂCHENT : PALESTINE, ISRAËL ET SURTOUT GAZA
Robert Fisk met le doigt là où ça fait mal, très mal. Pour lui le discours inaugural de Barack Obama est une déception : un honnête sermon certes, une déclaration d’intention très générale, un retour aux valeurs après les «enfantillages» de W. Bush mais c’est tout sauf une feuille de route pour le Moyen Orient. A juste titre, Fisk pointe l’absence de trois mots essentiels : Palestine, Israël et surtout Gaza !
Pourquoi cette triple omission : par indifférence, on a du mal à le croire, par crainte, par peur d’aborder les sujets qui fâchent? ( Didn't he care? Was he frightened? Did Obama's young speech-writer not realise that talking about black rights – why a black man's father might not have been served in a restaurant 60 years ago – would concentrate Arab minds on the fate of a people who gained the vote only three years ago but were then punished because they voted for the wrong people? It wasn't a question of the elephant in the china shop. It was the sheer amount of corpses heaped up on the floor of the china shop). Et de citer Hanan Ashrawi en lui donnant raison: “ Il aurait fallu d’entrée de jeu annoncer des changements «immédiats» au Moyen Orient. Lsquels ? : Justice pour les Palestiniens. Sécurité pour le peuple palestinien et le peuple juif , l’arrêt du processus de peuplement juif (et seulement les juifs) de territoires arabes, la fin de la violence, de toutes les violences (et pas seulement de la violence arabe)».
Au lieu de cela, Obama s’est contenté d’un double coup de fil à Israël et à Mahmoud Abbas. (Maybe Obama thinks he's the leader of the Palestinians, but as every Arab knows, except perhaps Mr Abbas, he is the leader of a ghost government).
De quoi sérieusement refroidir les ferveurs de plus d’un « obamamaniaque ».

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