For those of you who don’t know, Kabobfest is a group blog written by Palestinian activists living in the US. The blog tends to echo the usual litany of complaints one would expect from such a group – basically the same unproductive protestations and accusations and language that have gotten the Palestinians exactly nothing since the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They infuse their blog with enough pop-culture references and humor to make reading it occasionally bearable but for the most part, it’s the same old same old – self righteous indignation, victimology, innumerable references to Apartheid, turgid analysis… you get the point.
However, earlier this week Fadi wrote about the upcoming Arab-American Anti-Discrimination committee‘s annual convention in Washington DC this Saturday. Fadi expressed offense at the fact that Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein is set to accept the ADC Global Leadership Award on behalf of her husband HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. Fadi also doesn’t like the fact that Queen Rania of Jordan will also be on the program. He states:
The Arab world is in an era of stagnation. Closed political systems pervade societies with chronic rates of illiteracy and troubling disparities between the rich and the poor. Dictatorial regimes squander natural resources in extravagant estates, personal luxuries, and widespread security apparatuses that create a culture of fear and powerlessness among their constituents. Disturbing human rights records and total lack of personal freedoms characterize all of these regimes. I see a utility in inviting these dictators or their representatives (like Rania and Haya) to be challenged by Arab-Americans. But it’s disgraceful to promote these symbols of the worst that the Arab world has to offer, providing them with an open platform to cheerlead for totalitarianism (and maybe pay lip service to democracy and the Palestinians).
He asks “I really don’t understand how they (Rania and Haya) could possibly advance the Arab-American community. Can somebody please explain why Rania and Haya are any more deserving of the podium than me, my roomate Ashraf, Haifa Wahbe, or the guy that cleans toilets at Beirut’s international airport.”
I agree about the Arab world’s stagnation. In many respects, this is the leadership vacuum that has allowed Islamic fundamentalists to step in and provide services that ought to have been provided by a responsible leadership. But how can the needs of poor, hungry and illiterate people compete with a perfect Louis Vuitton clutch? Or a custom Bentley? Or yet another Palace? That having been said, the answer to Fadi’s question is an easy one. Sure Dubai and Jordan are not exactly paragons of enlightened democracy. Yet Rania and Haya can indeed advance the Arab-American community by sole virtue of the fact that they are both totally smokin’ babes.
Hey, it works for Paris Hilton!