29 October, 2006

Friedman why is he a Freed-MaN

While searching on details of the Dubai Port deal I found this statement by Thomas Friedman "Dubai is where we should want the Arab world to go. Unfortunately, we just told Dubai to go to hell." The full article is here.

Wondering why and how do countries cities or foreign offices tolerate such statements. Would anyone tolerate it, if its a comment passed by a passerby. No offence meant but Mr. Friedman has quite a reputation for creating such artworks.


Brn said...

Unless I'm misreading you, you are pointing the finger at the wrong place. Mr. Friedman is on your side on this one and you are misreading him.

Mr. Friedman isn't insulting Dubai or saying that he thinks that Dubai should go to hell. He is saying that Dubai is what the West should want the rest of the Arab world to be like, but that the US just insulted Dubai, and that it was wrong to do so.

Again, if I misunderstood your point here, sorry.

Seabee said...

I agree brn, from just reading the headline on the article (not being a subscriber I didn't read the full article) it seems he's pointing the finger at the people who were responsible for the DP World fiasco.

bizzwhizz said...

maybe ur right brn but he's saying 'we want all arabs to go to Dubai' that does point to the fact that they view it as a concentration camp ... unless it should have been that 'we are wanting americans to go to dubai and establish cross cultural ties..' just a thought

Ryan said...

By "we want all arabs to go to Dubai" he means he wants all arab countries to develop on the Dubai model (religious and cultural tolerance, economic development, rationalism, enlightened leaders even if non-democratic, pro-western, engaged with the non-islamic world as well as the islamic world); not literally that he wants all arab people to travel to dubai. This is a pretty standard idiomatic english phrase among political people.

As an American in Dubai, I'm definitely ashamed of how the US government acted (for political reasons) in the ports deal. There might have been some legitimate things to discuss about it, but the way it was discussed was entirely inappropriate, and the big push against approving it was also stupid.

secretdubai said...

Wondering why and how do countries cities or foreign offices tolerate such statements.

Not quite sure I understand you here, but in a country with a free press they have little choice whether to "tolerate" or not. Unless the statement falls foul of law such as incitement to terrorism, or race hatred, or is defamatory, it is usually protected as free speech.

i, Bobo said...

"As an American in Dubai, I'm definitely ashamed of how the US government acted..."

While not actually ashamed I can certainly agree with the sentiment. It was an unbelievably stupid move and an insult to a country that has been pretty good to the US since 9/11 (prior to 9/11 -- well, that may be a different story.)

Also, I have to echo previous responses here: you've entirely misread the crux of Friedman's position. He was saying that the US made a terrible mistake by not approving the ports deal (i.e., "telling Dubai to go to hell").

I'd re-read the article. It was mostly a scathing condemnation of the double standards in US policy regarding friendly Arab states. And yes, it also addressed some grumbling on Jazeera about Muslim society "falling further and further behind the world in science, education, industry and innovation...", but that seems like fair game to me. This part of the world is definitely conflicted in regards to secular versus religious ideologies -- particularly how they pertain to education and governance.

the media pirate said...

For seabee and those who don't have TIMES SELECT:

Dubai and Dunces

When it came to the Dubai ports issue, the facts never really had a chance — not in this political season. Still, it's hard to imagine a more ignorant, bogus, xenophobic, reckless debate than the one indulged in by both Republicans and Democrats around this question of whether an Arab-owned company might oversee loading and unloading services in some U.S. ports. If you had any doubts before, have none now: 9/11 has made us stupid.

We don't need any more pre-9/11 commissions. We need a post-9/11 commission, one that looks at all the big and little things we are doing — from sanctioning torture to warrantless wiretaps to turning our embassies abroad into fortresses — that over time could eat away at the core DNA of America.

What is so crazy about the Dubai ports issue is that Dubai is precisely the sort of decent, modernizing model we should be trying to nurture in the Arab-Muslim world. But we've never really had an honest discussion about either the real problems out there or the real solutions, have we?

The real problem was recently spelled out by an Arab-American psychiatrist, Dr. Wafa Sultan, in a stunning interview with Al Jazeera. Speaking about the Arab-Muslim world, Dr. Sultan said: "The clash we are witnessing ... is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on the other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings."

The Jazeera host then asked: "I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?"

Dr. Sultan: "Yes, that is what I mean."

Dr. Sultan voiced truths that many Muslims know: their civilization is, in many places, in turmoil, falling further and further behind the world in science, education, industry and innovation, while falling deeper and deeper into the grip of crackpot clerics, tin-pot dictators, violent mobs and madmen like bin Laden and Saddam.

President Bush keeps talking about Iraq and the Arab world as if democracy alone is the cure and all we need to do is get rid of a few bad apples. The problem is much deeper — we're dealing with a civilization that is still highly tribalized and is struggling with modernity. Mr. Bush was right in thinking it is important to help Iraq become a model where Arab Muslims could freely discuss their real problems, the ones identified by Dr. Sultan, and chart new courses. His crime was thinking it would be easy.

I don't know how Iraq will end, but I sure know that we aren't going to repeat the Iraq invasion elsewhere anytime soon. Yet the need for reform in this region still cries out. Is there another way? Yes — nurturing internally generated Arab models for evolutionary reform, and one of the best is Dubai, the Arab Singapore.

Dubai is not a democracy, and it is not without warts. But it is a bridge of decency that leads away from the failing civilization described by Dr. Sultan to a much more optimistic, open and self-confident society. Dubaians are building a future based on butter not guns, private property not caprice, services more than oil, and globally competitive companies, not terror networks. Dubai is about nurturing Arab dignity through success not suicide. As a result, its people want to embrace the future, not blow it up.

What's ironic is that if Democrats who hate the Bush war in Iraq actually had a peaceful alternative policy for promoting transformation in the Arab-Muslim world, it would be called "the Dubai policy": supporting internally driven Arab engines of change.

That's why Arab progressives are stunned by our behavior. As an Arab businessman friend said to me of the Dubai saga: "This deal has left a real bad taste in many mouths. I mean this was Dubai, for God's sake! You could not have a better friend and more of a symbol of globalization and openness. If they are a security danger to the U.S., then who is not?"

So whatever happens with the Iraq experiment — but especially if it fails — we need Dubai to succeed. Dubai is where we should want the Arab world to go. Unfortunately, we just told Dubai to go to hell.

nzm said...

Thanks for that, Media Pirate.

Friedman's article is definitely pro Dubai and the Arab World and he has spent a lot of time in the area and also writing about it. He also has a master's degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford.

Visit his website.

Bizzwhiz: Dubai is where we should want the Arab world to go. He's saying that Dubai should be held as the model for other Arab countries to follow.

Unfortunately, we just told Dubai to go to hell. This means that by saying no to DP World owning the US Ports, the US damaged/set back any possiblity of establishing closer ties with the ME region.

Anonymous said...

Wow...that's the biggest misreading of a sentence I've ever heard.

No wonder we can't just all get along :-)

Anonymous said...

Talk about a blogger with an itchy trigger finger!

That was a very literate and postive article about Dubai...

Read before you post!

Seabee said...

Thanks Media Pirate that's very helpful.

bizzwhiz, in what he wrote how on earth can you see ...'we want all arabs to go to Dubai' that does point to the fact that they view it as a concentration camp ...?! A concentration camp? He's holding Dubai up as a shining example of what the Muslim world should aspire to become.

You couldn't find a more positive, friendly article about Dubai, attacking the DP World hysterics in the US too.

Your attack on Thomas Friedman is inaccurate too, he's one of the better, more thoughtful columnists in America.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the research guys ... finally we have the full article atleast ..

Alisha said...

come on bizzwhizz get real...friedman is one of the very few objective journalists that we enjoyed discussing in journalism class...

This is the classic example of seeing and beleiving what you want to beleive and not what's down on paper in black and white

recommended friedman read: The World is Flat...i initially thought it a bit pricey at Dhs. 70 something, but it was worth every penny...u'll see how pro every-other-country Friedman is when you read it...

blogrosh said...

hmmmmm reminds of some intense debates with fellow bloggers @ "think progressive.com" - a democratic blog site.

The ignorance/bigotry was mind numbing, since most (mind you, I think the large majority are good heartened souls) hadn't heard of UAE or Dubai.

Hence anyone defending Dubai Ports was labelled a "terrorist" or worse a Republican! I was labelled one at "think progressive" - oh the irony : )

Even more stunning was Hillary Clinton's "support" to block Dubai Ports. Her comments were hideous & blatantly opportunistic. Her husband was singing praises on Dubai and the UAE - whilst Mrs Clinton, standing with Chuck Schumer (who is perhaps more a Jewish citizen, than an American senator - cause the guy went BERSERK on hearing this deal!!! ) and rest of her brigade (mostly Jewish), calling the UAE a terrorist nation - painting all sorts of distorted & fabricated (though there was some truth) stories all over the Media.

Anyhow, I think the deal was mostly blocked by Americans, given their dislike for Bush & his policies. Perhaps a case of boy crying "wolf" - given the Iraq war (read lies) etc all, oh well.

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