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Middle Eastern Bloggers React to Durban II

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Jason Paz
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech, and the way European Union representatives reacted to it at the United Nations Conference on Racism in Geneva (Durban II), has stirred debates among bloggers across the Middle East. Some bloggers accused him of showing off for his next electoral campaign, others accused the world of showing no willingness to work together for a better future, while others rejoiced because what Ahmadinejad said is exactly what they wanted to hear.

Saudi blogger The plucky, who is based in Australia, wrote:

Yesterday I listened to Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech in the UN Conference on Racism in Geneva. I was surprised by countries, that call for democracy and freedom of expression, yet showed anger and left the conference as soon as Nejad criticized Israel's racism. I can not understand the reasons why countries like Israel and the United States (and their allies) refused to attend the conference, and also I do not understand the reaction of the European Union when its representatives left due their objection to the Iranian president's remarks. Isn't it better to discuss these criticisms in a civilized way, recalling facts and figures instead of the fabricated clamour - which actually supports Ahmadinejad's claims?

From Palestine, Natalie bitterly compared the boycotting of the conference to the time when "people of conscience refused to shake hands with South African whites during the Apartheid regime as an objection to the racist system there.

Another blogger and human rights activist, Marcy Newman, who lives in the West Bank, Palestine, wondered - just like The plucky - on the irony she finds in the situation, saying:

The Zionist entity's racist in chief is calling ahmadinejad racist. where is the irony? the Zionist entity is plotting a bombing campaign of Iran and the man who regularly calls for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is calling ahmadinejad racist.

From Bahrain, Esra'a, who was invited to be a panelist at the pre-Durban summit, reflected her thoughts after she realized how people were confusing between anti-semitism and the hatred of Israel, and how Iran was condemned for the wrong reasons despite having a lot to be criticized for at the conference.

The Iranian regime was attacked NOT for oppressing their people in this Summit; despite these crimes being mentioned, that was barely the focus. They were attacked for threatening to "destroy Israel," that was the premise of every criticism against Iran, even though Israel also threatened to nuke it! "Oh, but that was in retaliation." It's no different. Both governments are equally dangerous with an absolute disregard for human rights. Israel having a liberal "lifestyle" doesn't change its corrupt politics that is threatening many of us, just like Iran is threatening us by funding militant organizations and violently oppressing anyone opposing it.

Arab-American blogger Fayyad, who writes at KABOBfest was skeptical in regards to US President Barack Obama's intentions after boycotting the conference and changing the draft text of the conference to omit mentions of the racism inherent to Zionism and the Israeli state.

Fayyad wrote:

With George Bush, we had a clear villain; a murderous abuser of human rights and executor of imperialist policies that many of his actions came under scrutiny, and even though he managed to get away with many crimes, they were not accepted as righteous by the wider population.

Obama, on the other hand, with his liberal movement mandate, gets away with more crimes than Bush, because the liberal who scrutinized Bush's every action, are sleeping rotten when it comes to Obama, thinking that Change towards an equitable progressive society was achieved on election day.


So be careful, if Obama looks better than Bush, it means you just don't know how he's about to screw you. Careful Cuba and Venezuela. And if you're looking for a black president to finally make America discuss its history of racism, wait a little longer.

From Syria, Omar who's based in Toronto, expressed his sorrow at how the world missed another opportunity to frankly discuss global injustices for a better future.

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Born a month before Pearl Harbor, I attended world events from an early age. My first words included Mussolini, Patton, Sahara and Patton. At age three I was a regular listener to Lowell Thomas. My mom was an industrial nurse a member of the (more...)
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