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Speech Therapy: Pretty Words in Cairo Hide Brutal Realities of Power
Thursday, 4 June 2009
The "progressive president" who is telling Muslims how they misunderstand American values is himself a supporter of "indefinite detention" and "preventive detention" and is seeking ways to entrench these unconstitutional (not to mention immoral) concepts into formalized law.
We are told that Barack Obama gave a "major address" on the subject of US-Muslim relations. He was speechifying in Cairo, capital of one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East, following a sleepover with the Saudi king, Abdullah, ruler of one of the most repressive regimes on earth.
Regarding the deep impact of this landmark event, we defer to the observations of Professor As'ad AbuKhalil, who provides this incisive commentary:
We heartily recommend the professor's website for a whole series of pertinent views on Obama's trip -- and for information and analysis of the region generally. He also points us to this piece by Hossam el-Hamalawy, who was graciously vouchsafed a small scrap of space in the New York Times:
We might also note the nature of President Obama's journey through the capital of this friendly, close American ally. From the NY Times:
As you can see, "they love him, they really love him," as Professor Juan Cole eagerly informed us earlier this week.
But strangely enough, even as the president was meeting with the unelected despot of Saudi Arabia and the authoritarian tyrant-for-life in Egypt, over in Iran -- which, as we all know, is the site of a monolithic mullah state bent on nothing less than the destruction of the world -- they were having a heated debate on national television, with the nation's president -- whom we all know is an absolutist dictator just like Adolf Hitler -- being roundly denounced by his political opponent, who assailed him for, among many other things, questioning the Holocaust.
(As we noted here last year, one of the most popular television shows in recent Iranian history was a series about an Iranian diplomat who worked to rescue Jews in wartime Paris. But nothing will shake the carefully cultivated Western caricature of Iran as a horde of slavering anti-Semites -- not even the fact there is a Jewish community, and Jewish member of Parliament, in Iran -- something you would never see in the judenfrei realm of Obama's "wise and gracious" friend, King Abdullah.)
During the speech, we heard many nicely-turned phrases and heartfelt pieties from President Obama as he sought to "correct the misunderstandings" that Muslims have about America and its benevolent policies around the world. But what speaks far more loudly to the reality of those policies is a small story already being shunted aside by the tsunami of gushing press devoted to the empty flapping of presidential jaws in Cairo -- the suicide of a Yemeni man held captive, without charges, in the Guantanamo concentration camp since 2002:
It would of course be superfluous in us to point out that the progressive president who even at this moment is in Cairo telling Muslims how they misunderstand American values is himself a staunch supporter of "indefinite detention" and "preventive detention" and is seeking ways to entrench these unconstitutional (not to mention immoral) concepts into a formalized imperial law.
But we would certainly not want the Muslim world to misunderstand America's abiding commitment to justice, freedom, liberty and peace. We are sure the president made it all crystal clear in this "major speech" from the heart of a brutal, repressive, American-funded regime. Let's just hope there are no major mass civilian slaughters in America's Terror War operations in the Muslim lands of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan today, after the president's lyrical waxing in Cairo about how America "rejects the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children." That would sure put a crimp in the old PR.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on June 4, 2009.
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