Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

During U.S. Visit, Al-Ahram Reporter Seeks Perspectives on the Question “Why Do They Hate Us?”

Cairo-based Al-Ahram writer Gamal Essam El-Din writes about his State Department sponsored month-long, five city visit to the U.S. during which he listened to a variety of American perspectives on the Middle East. El-Din writes that five years after 9/11, “the American political elite has yet to answer the question, ‘Why do they hate us,’ they denoting wither the Middle East or the Arab-Muslim world.” His visit, he continues, “revealed to what extent the why-do-they-hate-us discourse remains central to American life.”
In Washington, El-Din visited Rep. Frank Wolf’s office, where he met with congressional fellow Evan Baehr. According to El Din:
“Baehr believes the Congress to be more serious than Bush about advancing democracy in the Middle East; he recounted how the Congress tried to cut annual aid to Egypt by $250 million – an effort blocked by State Department officials, whose attitude was, ‘No way, we will never let this happen with Egypt.’ The view of the Middle East as a hotbed for tyrannical regimes echoed through all other meetings in Washington, including those with officials from Human Rights Watch, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).”
In addition, El-Din traveled to New York, San Francisco, Memphis and Philadelphia. In Memphis, he observed: “It was shocking to realise that its residents knew nothing at all of what was going on outside the U.S. One citizen even remarked, ‘All I can do about what you said is to send a letter to the city’s congressman, conveying your viewpoint to him.’”
For the full story, click here.


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