2. Activists’ letter to Obama

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2. Activists’ letter to Obama


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p. 9
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Ikram Lam‘i
Radwa Yunus
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Ikrām Lam‘ī comments on the letter that activists have

sent to President Barack Obama calling on him to use his influence to force Arab countries to observe

human rights.

Article full text: 

A group of human right activists, including Americans, Arabs and public figures from

different countries, have sent a letter to Barack Obama calling on him to support human right causes in

Arab countries and stop supporting autocratic Arab regimes which violate human rights.
The author

has some remarks about this letter. Firstly, he argues that reform is required but that those activists

are mistaken in the method they have chosen. According to the author, resorting to the American president

to use his influence to interfere and put pressure on Arab countries to carry out reforms is itself a

violation of the rights of the Arab peoples, governments and leaders. He says that they should have

addressed their messages to the rulers concerned and with the support of their peoples, if they have any

credibility among these peoples! Lots of disasters have resulted from foreign interference in many

countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and, recently, Sudan, the author stresses.

they call on the United States to put economic pressure on poor countries by cutting off the aid it sends

to these countries, and this, according to the Eastern culture, as the author points out, is a kind of

baseness. The author wonders how they could dare go and ask for the starvation of the Egyptian people to

achieve their goals. He clarifies that such behavior explains why such activists are hated by their

Thirdly, for them, reform means democracy; even if it leads to Islamists assuming power.

They argue that not all Islamist political parties and groups are fanatical and that many of them respect

minorities, women and the opposition and are not violent or fanatic. The author wonders, if they that is

so, why do they call themselves "Islamic"? Is not this a kind of fanaticism? He stresses that Obama and

the American Administration are well aware of the Muslim’s Brotherhood’s stance in Egypt and what

Islamist groups have done in Sudan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The author points out that Hitler,

Ahmadinejad and Ismā‘īl Hanīyah assume power through free elections and the result

is clear. What is needed is to raise people’s awareness about the meaning of democracy and teach them

how to choose their leaders, according to the author. He wishes that those activists, instead of

attempting to try and enforce democracy from abroad, had worked through their organizations to spread the

true concept of democracy.
[For more about this see AWR 2009, week 10 article 31]