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Donald Rumsfeld, The Next Pope?

Saudi Arabia's government-controlled media has mockingly endorsed Donald Rumsfeld for Pope.

poperumsfeld.gif

The Middle East Media Research Institute notes a column by Dr. Ali Al-Tawati of the Saudi Daily Okaz, for another Saudi Daily, Arab News, on April 12, 2005:

"Rumsfeld for Pope?"

A sample:

"Considering the present state of the world, Donald Rumsfeld is surely the best choice for this extremely important international position. Like Bolton and Wolfowitz, he is a firm believer in democracy, America's new religion.

"Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz and the other neocons would make sure that America tightened its grip on the world. Bolton dedicated his life to undermining the UN at a time when America needed to work through the world body more than ever to make the world a safer place — for Americans. Wolfowitz believes that the targeting of smaller impoverished countries falls far short of the global war that the neocons are hoping for.

More:

"There are many reasons to expect someone like Rumsfeld to succeed in the new post, the most important being the fact that the present American administration is in dire need of a pope of a special kind — like the pope who urged King Ferdinand and his wife, Queen Isabella, to expel both Muslims and Jews from Spain.

"The persecution of Muslims and Jews in Spain continued until the 19th century but what happened later was that a new movement, known as the neocons, emerged in the early 21st century.

While, in some ways, the sentiment is so absurd that it can be taken as satire, in much of the Arab world the ideas expressed by the column are mainstream, even government-encouraged orthodoxy.

The State Department must pressure Saudi Arabia's ruling class to knock off its incitement of anti-Americanism. The Saudi Royals have fomented extremism against the United States and Israel to deflect popular discontent away from themselves, and we must begin demanding the end of such filth.

As Natan Sharansky asserts in The Case For Democracy: The Power Of Freedom To Overcome Tyranny & Terror, tyrannical societies such as Saudi Arabia are inherently unstable. For regimes to maintain stability, governments of fear socities "regard inculcating hatred towards outsiders as critical to their rule."

More:

"...the Saudi family, by giving more and more power to the Wahabi religious authorities within its kingdom and more and more money to spreading their virulent form of Islam around the world, has used external enemies to whitewash its own decadent lifestyle and justify its repressive rule. While it was posturing in the West as a close ally of the United States and a force for stability in the Middle East, the policies of the Saudi regime were actually destabilizing the entire region by mobilizing millions for war against the West, Christians, Jews, and even fellow Muslims. Thus, the global spread of fanaticism that now threatens our entire civilization is partly rooted in a nondemocratic Saudi regime's need for internal stability."


But, don't we set a poor example by complaining about objectionable material in Arab media? Isn't that hypocritical, as the right to print objectionable material is guaranteed by our very own First Amendment?

No, and no.

In Saudi Arabia, there is no freedom of the press; the government controls the flow of information in its newspapers. While the above column might not seem much worse than what's found on The Daily Show, or in The New York Times, or on many liberal blogs, the differences between satire and/or conspiracy theories as part of a variety of viewpoints in a free press environment, versus the point of view in a repressive media environment, cannot be understated.

With Saudi Arabia's press freedom higher than only about a dozen other countries (such as Rwanda, Sudan, and North Korea), Freedom House classifies Saudi Arabia's media as "not free" (click for .pdf).

If and when Saudi Arabia is a free society, a column like the one above will become innocuous, irrelevant, and harmless, but while it remains a fear society, we have to treat government-approved columns as official Saudi policy.

Posted by Will Franklin · 13 April 2005 03:06 PM

Comments

Huh?. . .What?. . .Yea right! This just might be one of those lame things. I just don't know?
POPE RUMSFELD. Hmmmmmm, HMmmmm. Yep! It is rather lame...Good imagination though.

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at April 13, 2005 08:45 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILL FRANKLIN... I hope you are having a great day! I Love WILLisms.com

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at April 14, 2005 03:32 PM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILL!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at April 14, 2005 03:33 PM

happy birthday will

Posted by: Dave at April 14, 2005 04:34 PM