Monday, November 27, 2006

The Mailbag (V)

A little past due. Same worthless nonsense.

While reading the mini-book report on pornography in the last Mailbag, I started thinking about the similar negative effect the hip-hop culture has on women’s image and the way it portrays them. Could songs of the variety of “It must be yo’ ass cuz it aint yo face” and “You’se a hoe” be as demeaning to women as sexually-explicit material?
-Lil’ Sameera.
The PROjects at Abu Nssair.

The hip-hop culture IS sexually-explicit material and its devastating effect on women’s image is far exceeding that of porn. If we ignore the destructive effect of the rap culture on the African-American community (take for example the black guy who is working on a graduate degree in a technical field, yet he is always mixing some beats just in case a big producer wants to give him his shot and drops his album), and the ridiculous violence, drugs and money messages it promotes, the way it portrays women should not be taken lightly. Consider the following:

-The most alarming part is the fact that a lot of women gladly subscribe to the degrading designation issued by the rap culture. It is not uncommon to see an “independent, feminist, professional, working” woman who is preaching women pride all day, and when she goes out, she is joyfully doing her best video hoe impression, “shaking what her mama gave her”, “backing that ass up”, or even responding to songs instructions of the “do the chicken head” variety while singing along, under the excuse of “it’s fun”.

-While pornography can be viewed as disgusting and perverted, the rap culture is so socially acceptable to the point that it could be a source of bragging by both men and women as an indication of “hipness”.

- While exposure to pornography is optional, rap music can be force fed to the masses. It is more accessible and sometimes one could be unwillingly subjected to it. (Television, music stores, other people cars, video games, nightlife spots are just examples of locations were one would involuntarily listen to a catchy tune, get used to it, and then start subliminally repeating its explicit abusive lyrics).

Between its popularity, the social acceptability and the clarity of its message (straight- forward abuse and violence against women), the negative effect of a song by someone like the Ying-Yang twins is much more severe than that of a porn flick.

With all the technological progress that the human race has experienced it seems like there has not been any ground-breaking innovations in the area of toilet paper. We seem like we just reached a stagnant point. You may consider the developments of “squaring”, coloring, softness, or even the new “moist” roll, but there just has not been a major change in technique.

This space does not appreciate any form of bathroom humor and prefers to abstain from discussing any issues that has to do with bodily excrements, leaving it to where it belongs.

Is there any chance that the beloved Queen of Jordan has got too caught up in the whole “model” thing and decided to take the next step towards the “modelish” trendy behavior: Anorexia.
P.S.: I wanted to provide a before and after pictures but it seems that these days it is almost impossible to find her photos anywhere.
-Talleg Talleh Yabo 7ssain
Size OOO.

I do not comment on the personal life of royalty either. No matter how tempting it may appear.

After the death of Red Auerbach, a lot of people are claiming that he is the best basketball coach ever. I think they are mistaken and I will take Phil Jackson over him any day. They have the same number of rings (9). People claim that Phil Jackson had Michael Jordan for six of his rings, but Jordan never won anything for the first seven years before Phil got there. Also the Celtics had too many good players compared to the other teams of the era who did not have anyone on the same level of Bill Russell.
-Yassine Gustafson
Tangier, Morocco.

Despite the fact that you are completely mistaken, you are the winner of the prestigious e-mailer of the week award. The issue you brought up is not even an argument and the only thing Jackson shares with the great Auerbach is the “number” of Championships, which loses significance when put in context. Auerbach is an influential figure who has changed the game of basketball over the past 25 years. Phil Jackson always received a finished product. Players selection went to the GMs (Krause in Chicago and West in L.A.). It is shocking that he does not have a say on personnel even at this stage of his career. Red Auerbach is one of the best talent evaluators and his legacy extends past the posing on the sidelines and the whole unnecessary theatrics of it, (you know the whole side-line coaching act), into the actual assembly of a winning teams and he was the main contributor to the success of the franchise for years, even after he had left the sidelines. And we have not even touched on his effect on race relations yet.

As for the two points you made above, I will email you a brief recount of every Celtics championship from 1957 until 1969, emphasizing the main Celtics stars and the main opposition stars. (I cannot risk alienating my three readers who I am sure are not interested in the details of the careers of Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek and Wilt Chamberlain).

But, it would be interesting to go over Michael Jordan’s career and trace how the Bulls went from a 20+ win team to the greatest dynasty of the 90s, and the alleged effect on Phil Jackson on their success. (Note to GMs everywhere: This is how you build around a superstar).

1984: The Bulls were a lottery team (27-55) that ended up with the third pick and Jordan. A look at the (no name) roster can be found here:
1985: Key additions: Jordan. Playoffs. First round (Milwaukee: Terry Cumming, Sidney Moncrief)
1986: KA: Oakley, Paxton. Jordan breaks his foot in the regular season. First round sweep to the Champions Celtics (Bird, MacHale Parrish)
1987: KA: None. First round sweep to the same Celtics.
1988: KA: Rookies Grant (10th overall) Pippen (5th overall). Semi-finals to Detroit in (Thomas, Dumars. Laimbaeer, Rodman, Mahorn, Salley).
1989: KA: Bill Cartwright for Charles Oakley. Rookies Grant and Pippen are not coming of the bench anymore. A completely new starting lineup. Conference Finals. 4-2 to the Champions Pistons (who added Mark Aguirre and proceeded to sweep a Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Green, Thompson, Scott) Lakers team.
1990: KA: Rookie C Stacey King and rookie point guard B.J. Armstrong. Assistant Phil Jackson replaces Doug Collins and brings in triangle specialist Tex Winter. Pippen is an all star for the first time. Conference Finals. 4-3 to the Champions Pistons.
1991: KA: None: 4-0 Pistons. 4-1 Lakers. Championship.

Notice how Jordan was already changing the record books by his third year and (arguably) reaching the peak of his career. He runs into the Celtics 80's dynasty by himself and gets swept twice. Pieces start being assembled around him and he is facing a peaking, battle-tested Detroit team who has been battling the elite of the league for the past three years: (A 4-3 loss to the Celtics in the 87 conference finals, and a 4-3 loss to the Lakers in the 88 finals).Jordan is in his Seventh year. Pippen and Grant are in the fourth year. Sophmores Armstrong and King are the sixth and seventh best scorers, and this is the third straight year for the starting 5 together. The Celtics and Lakers Dynasties are at the finishing stages. The Detroit team that was more experienced and flat-out better than the Bulls is now older and is on the decline. And ALL OF A SUDDEN this has to do with Jackson taking over from Collins !!

I cannot believe they have closed the National Jordanian Tobacco Company. Say goodbye to all the fine brands. Packs of Reem, Top Twenty, Philadelphia and Kamal are collectors’ items. This is the ugly result of Globalization. This what happens when you allow Viceroy, L&M and Gauloise to penetrate your market. This is outrageous.
-Abu Mahmood
Just when I gave up on Heeshi they take away my GoldStar.

Take it easy, your chances of a cancerous tumor are pretty high already and you do not need stress to increase them. Although I feel your anger over losing the fancy brand that you are used to (Did you know that King Hussein himself used to smoke a special GoldStar blend, or so the rumor goes), but maybe this could be a chance for you to take the next step towards a cigarette that does not need constant “relighting”. I won’t blame Globalization for this national loss as much as I blame the fact that some other companies are using more tobacco and less wood dust in their cigarettes. I can say with all confidence that in the past eight years I have not seen anyone in any walk of life smoking the brands you mentioned above. Still it hurts to lose them.

Speaking of Reem, my friend Mohammad always tells the story of the architect and the drafter who worked for his uncle. They made around 70JDs a month, and between transportation and the daily lunch (ONE Falafel Sandwich), they could not afford any kind of health care or medication. So when the drafter tooth ache reached the unbearable limit, his pain killer was a pack of the great orange pack with the galloping red deer. A pack of Reem cigarettes was the only pain killer he could afford. The problem is he was not a smoker but that was the only feasible option.

And one final smoking note: After years of fighting against the cheap marketing ploy of “smoking means manhood” that got male teenagers to experiment with and eventually get hooked on the disgusting habit, there is a recent trend that promotes smoking to “independent/ feminist/ sex and the city” delusional females. The twisted hidden message reads something like this: “Smoking always meant manhood. If you want to be as strong as a man, as independent as a man, as fearless as a man,…, a pack of Marlboro lights is your way of showing it”. There are many areas at which women need to demand and achieve equality, but smoking should not be one of them.

“The internal security and intelligence agency has uncovered a secret organization consisting of two people, who tried to smuggle hidden weapons from the Kingdom to Palestine, in association with people from the gulf area who provided them with $20,000 to execute the plan. The authorities were able to contain their scheme and they are faced with four counts of possession of explosives and automatic weapons (Kalashnikov rifle)”.
This is a literal translation of a first page headline (Details here. Total amount of weapons: 4 Rockets, 2 RPGs, 4 rifles, a box of ammunition, and a glass of mercury) in a Jordanian newspaper from two weeks ago. In the middle of the Zionist massacre in Beit Hannon, and on the same day that featured another 11 Palestinian martyrs, can’t they at least move such a disgrace to the inside pages?
-An angry group of one.

The security of the Kingdom is not a matter to be taken lightly. The ever-alert intelligence departments cannot allow the Kingdom to be a transit location for weapon smugglers and arm dealers (Unless of course it is done through the palace, on the international level, and with association with notorious arm dealing mafias).

A sovereign state like Jordan has to respect its peace treaties. It cannot allow the longest confrontation frontier to jeopardize its allies. Again the kingdom has to protect its territories against all conspiring organizations and factions (even if it was consisting of two people or less). Unless of course the territories are needed for an American military base, a secret American torture prison or a cross-over for Zionist planes heading towards Iraq. The Palestinians are neither at war nor at peace, so all these amateurish weapon smuggling incidents should be met with the deserved punishment, until the all-out war breaks out, and that is when the borders would be wide open.

And then, you have two Mossad agents, sneaking into the country with Canadian passports and conducting an operation with chemical weapons against a Jordanian citizen (from all roots and origins). The late King Hussein does the plausible thing and decides to save four people. He demands the antidote for Khaled Mashal and the release of Sheikh Ahmad Yassine in exchange for the two accidentally-captured spies. Good times. Three years later, the disabled Sheikh Yassine is blown up in front of a mosque (with the Zionist either getting the approval or completely ignoring King Abdullah, both equally disgraceful), while the two spies are working on their next plan (if not already inside of Jordan). On the bright side, we have a seat in the United Nations, a colorful flag and the dullest national anthem. And whether you like it or not, this is sovereignty and it won’t be compromised, damn it.

I rllaey lkeid taht tehroy taht cialm taht it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are at the rghit pclae. I wnat to tset it myself, so if you cnnoat raed tihs it is not my fluat. And sncie I do not tsurt it and no one is gniong to ustnaendrd a tihng eehtir way, I am ginong to use my fovartie aonynums qtoue :"if you tinhk Fcuk is fnuny Fcuk yuorslef and svae yuor mneoy”.

What a perfect way to end the worst mailbag ever.

To send your irrelevant questions, and risk the chances of increased obscurity:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Profile: Royal Constitution

The Jordanian royal family needs to revaluate the situation and realize that Jordan is neither an oil sheikhdom nor a banana republic.

Browsing through the depressingly delusional Jordanian daily newspapers, Abu Shreek came across the following headline (literally translated): “The King and Queen Rania meets with (Elizabeth)”! Abu Shreek tried to come up with a reason why the king and queen of Jordan would be more deserving of the royal title than their British counterpart, and then realized how obvious it was: Elizabeth is a symbol of Britain and the “dignified” part of the government. Elizabeth is the beneficiary of a government fixed allowance that is subjected to income taxes. On the other hand, His and Her Majesty are the OWNERS of a piece of land (which ironically enough was assigned to him by Elizabeth’s people) and everything on it. His and Her Majesty has unlimited, unconditional, and unquestionable powers, and they are going to enjoy it whether you like it or not. Now that is royalty.

The Jordanian Royal Prerogative (The body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity belonging to the Crown) continues to rest the fate of the whole nation in the hands of one (under qualified at best) man. His majesty was never groomed to hold this position and even as he continues hands-on-learning experience, it is obvious that his decisions lack the political expertise of his late father. (After all the transition from “The head of the Jordanian football federation” (The highest official position he ever held as a prince) to an autocratic ruler can be a daring task, and it is just impossible to expect wisdom and wit to mysteriously drop from the sky the moment one holds the throne).

The part of the Jordanian constitution that guaranteed the king these powers (and that criminalize his criticism) was copied from the British version. The British constitution has been constantly updated to guarantee a modern form of government, stripping the Crown of decision-making powers and awarding the “efficient government” role with its political authority to the parliament and the cabinet (as early as the 19th century). In the meantime, Jordan continues its literal interpretation of the royal constitutional articles and the idea of updating them is not even remotely acknowledged! The constitution is not a divine document. It can be amended, updated and reinterpreted to achieve its purpose: The well-being and convenience of the citizens. (Even if we ignore the whole awkwardly unstable era of king Talal when the Jordanian constitution was instated, Abu Shreek could swear that the elementary social studies book said something about that King of Jordan has to be the son of two Arab parents, but that is (kind of) besides the point.)

Even if we were willing to overlook the king’s behavior considering that he is the monarch, sovereign and the infallible “43rd direct grandson of the prophet Mohammad” (highly doubtful), the issue of the other so-called royal family members has to be considered. Here is another page from the book of the British masters:

-The number of people who receives the designation Royal Family is limited and is stated by the law. The number of current members of the British Royal family is around 22 people. Not every third cousin of the late or the current king and his kids are royal family. A lot of these people should be considered collateral to the Royal families and their roles should not exceed attending private family functions. At this point, we have completely lost track of who are these members and how many” Whatever Bin Whatever”s are out there.

-They are all held responsible in front of the law. Only the Queen has immunity. The Queen’s daughter Princess Royal has a criminal record (for not keeping her dog under control). In Some other places, you have power-spoiled individuals, suffering from inferiority complexes, who are carrying themselves as if they are the actual king, and of course behave in complete disregard to the law.

-The amount of money assigned for the Queen and some members of the royal family (who carry out public duties) are stated by the law and is paid from the Civil List and the Parliamentary Annuity funds. The Duke of Edinburgh receives 359,000 pounds per year. The Queen’s private estate (shareholdings, royal jewelry, real estate) is also subject to taxes.

It is not enough that the headlines of every newspaper are a daily documentation of his majesty’s activities (no matter how trivial they are), people have to put up with a unlimited stream of insignificant people doing insignificant things. (For historic accuracy, a random look at any one month period would reveal that at least 75% of the opening headlines feature the king. At many occasions the three opening stories are king related (with three different photos in a variety of poses). [As a random example, January 2005: The king was in the headlines 19 out of 31 possible days. Three days were a religious holiday. For Seven days he was not even in the country. So that means 19 out of 23 possible days. And that is without considering that he usually takes Sundays off]. The question is what are these people credentials and why are they being shoved down our throats? Who pays their bills? Do they even have jobs? Or are they just dedicating their lives to sponsor, attend, open, participate, host, meet, travel, and play the act of world humanitarians on Jordan’s tab?

One personal note: As a student in the University of Jordan I shared the same road routes with the king, ever since he was a prince. Many times his car parked two cars down the cab I took to school on the Jubilee Circle stoplights. He would pleasantly exchange smiles with people and wave back. Actually one time, at Al-Assaff stoplights, the king and the queen next to him noticed that I was unexcitingly looking their way across the intersection and they started waving! BUT, the fact that they are superficially nice, falsely modest, and friendly does not mean they should not be held responsible for their decisions and should not award them the unconditional right to treat the country as their personal farm.

There has to be an area for the educated constructive criticism of the decisions and the behavior of the royal family outside of street whispers and sleazy tabloids. The king should not shy away from it, if he is truly willing to follow a progressive approach. (At this point this claim is as credible as Americans bringing democracy to the middle east).

If the people of Jordan are willing to forgive the historic Hashemite treasons (From Abdullah I deal with Golda Meir to Hussein’s infamous visit of ’73 and beyond), and accept the Palace as the initiator and buffer towards a constitutional democratic monarchy, the king should be more serious in instigating a process that question his own decisions, observers his spending (the first step towrds fighting all sorts of corruption), and limit his power in favor of an accountable authority, and that could be the true historic change that could be his real legacy.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Review: Social Equality (I)

Facts, Myths and Observations of the social equality movement, through Ernest Mandel’s “From Class Society to Communism” and others.

A quick glance at the current world affairs and its history over the past two decades proves that the dilemma facing humanity is more evident and more inevitable than ever: socialism or barbarism.

First, two main points:

-The temporary collapse of the superpower nation and other states built on the social equality principles does not imply the failure of the ideology. Neither do the mistakes made along the way mean the impossibility of application or the inability of the approach to achieve satisfaction. Every life-arranging social system (even the ones that are (allegedly) divine) is an eternal process of trial and error, leading to victories and defeats, highs and lows. For example: The terminal collapse and failure of the Islamic State (The Arabs sole pride and contribution to humanity) and the severe deviation from the main Islam principles in the post- Mohammad (post-Omar) era (as indicated by civil wars, massacres, corruption, immorality, inequality, power struggles,…) do not mean that the Islamic ideology is intrinsically incapable of being the base for a modern progressive state based on equality, peace and respect of the other. Even the capitalist imperialist ideology that appears to be the most dominant and successful in this era went through its share of peaks and near-collapses, and is eventually destined to fail. As humanity continues to experience the tragic results of the social systems based on exploitation and injustice, the “alive populations” will definitely choose (or revert to) the ones promising to achieve social equality.

-The social equality movement and its associated theories are not necessarily against spirituality. It is not set to fight “religion” as much as it rallies against the religious institute that “teaches the exploited to accept their fate”. Human beings awareness of “death” instantly pushes them towards a spiritual connection with an unseen force. This connection should not be allowed to get abused by a privileged, non-productive (sometimes illiterate) class of intermediates who view themselves superior to the masses and are closely allied with the exploiting and governing class.
Lenin in this famous “Religion is the opium of the people” piece states that: “Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters -just as inevitably- gives rise to the belief in a better life after death as impotence of the savage in his battle with nature gives rise to belief in gods, devils, miracles, and the like. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth, and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward.”. This is the perfect explanation to the passive approach of the Arab masses and the recent ever-escalating religious “awakening!” phenomenon among the Arab youth. Lenin also adds: “Religion must be declared a private affair”. “Everyone must be absolutely free to profess any religion he pleases, or no religion whatever, i.e., to be an atheist, which every socialist is, as a rule”. Notice how even though he prefers atheism to be the religion of socialists, he still acknowledged the freedom of religion as long as it does not interfere with the government (i.e. the struggle towards equality). Adopting from President Nasser: “Religion is for God and (Equality) is for all”.

One cannot neglect the role of the regressive agent regimes in promoting the misconceptions regarding the atheist nature of the social equality movements. Instructed by their American imperialist masters, these regimes (Jordan as an example) capitalized on the conservative nature of the Arab societies and exploited the socialist denouncement of religious exploitation. (The regressive propaganda went as far as questioning the Morality of the social equality movement, ignoring that the “leftist” ideology offers a superior version of moral standards, based on respect and appreciation of the fellow human, compared to the religious “juvenile” system of reward and punishment). The regimes created and nurtured an imperialism-funded religious-based political stream and exchanged unlimited support with it against progressive reform movements that was strongly suppressed and persecuted. This also helped create a split among the exploited masses which only benefited the local agents and their imperialist masters on the short and long terms.

(Notice that despite the recently surfacing “differences” between the oppressive regimes and these Islam-based political movements, the regimes continue to prefer them over any other genuine “people-based” social equality and reform movements. The historically passive Islamic movements lack a true destination and has moved from the unconditional support to the regime to a grey area, (As Nahid Hattar recently asked here: What is political Islam relation to the government? (And more importantly to the regime)). Political Islam ability to marginalize a large sector of the population (especially the youth), the ability to control “action-vital” positions in the workers unions and student council under the simple programs of: “I pray, you pray, hence I am your best candidate”, and the ability to employ all that into guiding the masses in the wrong direction and towards fighting the wrong battles are the best guarantees that the regime will never face a true opposition).

A few more facts and fictions:

-Fact: Socialism is a need and not a choice
. Inequality of wealth is not only an economic fact; it is a matter of life and death. A quick look at infant mortalities, malnutrition, war casualties, literary rates and the availability of the basic needs of food, clothes and shelter shows the unfair distribution of numbers between the rich and the poor.

-Myth: Everybody have a chance to be an owner of capital in the capitalist society. This is against the basic definition of the capitalist society. The capitalist society is built on constantly reproducing the same two classes: wage earners who can never become the owners of the means of production through their earnings and the owners of those means of production who expand this ownership through reinvestment. It is true that some technicians become company directors, but that usually needs a university education (impossible for workers under a certain poverty level), and even these positions represent another exclusive institution that is closed for the workers. In the USA, 90% of the top managers of important companies come from the top social classes. (Percentages would be expected to be even higher in a third world country where “connections” and nepotism plays even a bigger role). Immoral and unlawful acquisition of capital becomes a viable option especially in under-developed countries with loose application of law.

-Fact: The aim of socialism is a society founded on abundance not poverty. All producers liberate themselves from constant punishing labor, granting sufficient leisure time to the whole community so they can collectively fulfill the tasks of economic, social and political life. There will not be the need for excessive hours of labor that will be appropriated by the capitalist who is accumulating fortune for the sole purpose of accumulating fortune. There is no need for unlimited production growth, but a need for an enough social surplus product, generated from an advanced economy and distributed among all.

-Myth: Social inequality is rooted in the inequality of individual talents or capacities and the class division in society is the product of (inborn selfishness) and egoism. This generally accepted view has no scientific basis. The exploitation of one social class by the other is the product of the evolution of society and not human nature. It has not always existed and it will not survive. There have not always been rich and poor and there will not always be. Humanity has always showed its nostalgia for the community life, and that is proven through the numerous historical revolts against inequality.

-Fact: The members of the exploited class are brought to accept the appropriation of the social surplus by a minority as inevitable, permanent and just. Social equality movements try to convince the workers otherwise, despite the constraints that try to stabilize the class rule. Laws, family and religion try to enforce the surrender to this “fate”, in order to consolidate the domination of one class over the other.

-Myth: “The disorder provoked by the struggle against injustice would be worse than injustice itself (Goethe against the French Revolution). Stability and security are necessary for the capitalist economy to function as normal. The collective interest of the capitalist class is what dictates the capitalist state’s behavior. The false sense of security (strictly enjoyed by the rich) also helps convince the exploited to surrender to the established order.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Profile: The Worship Idol

Is denouncing the invisible God less risky than questioning the slave master?

A friend tells a story about a conversation he had with a “normal” Saudi guy: (not the specimen stuck in pre-civilization times, neither the Gold-Mustang-“Super Cool”-Abu- S3ood guy). In a typical Arabic fashion the conversation dissected the region’s politics and the Arab world crises. Surprisingly, the Saudi guy turned out to be fully convinced that the current king of Arabia is a modest man who leads a simple and luxury-free life, with the sole purpose of serving his people! Two hours of reasoning, including multiple references to Forbes non-working richest scum list and this (hilarious and absurd) Guardian report: “Marbella feels the loss of Saudi king” did not manage to slightly change his beliefs or at least convince him to consider that the Saudi royal family may not be a blessing to the people after all!

The moral of the story: If a higher-educated Arab citizen, who lives in a farm that is toiling under one of the most destructive regimes on earth, would not even acknowledge the Problem, then we are not even close to the Solution.

There is a very ironic and hypocritical aspect about these PanArab meetings that happen at the peoples level (i.e. A bunch of Arabs shooting the breeze at a coffee shop, preferably in a Western country): The whole group agrees on and engages in relentless complaining, criticizing and even cursing of the Arab leadership, as long as there is no explicit references to one’s own “elephant in the room”. You would hear the typical antagonized cries: “The Arab leadership is betraying the people’s aspirations and it is the root cause of all our problems”. “The Arab leaders are traitors, corrupt, immoral, thieves, collaborators, dictators, criminals, illiterates, mentally-challenged……But, by the way..., NOT my guy.”

(Notice that during the high season of leaders bashing (Arab Summits, massacres, insignificant childish disputes,…) it becomes acceptable to go public with the criticism. It becomes fashionable even for the media outlets in some farms to voice the concerns about some deficiencies in the neighboring regimes. But keep in mind that this can still be a risky business, even after it is green-lighted: For if you were one of the reporters/journalists who were late to receive the memo announcing the change of terms (most probably due to a charitable donation of oil, water, cash,…), you could be put on trial for (the bogus count of) “Disturbing the peaceful relationship and threatening the strong ties with a brotherly country”.….[End of tangent]).

The excuses for “my guy” start flying around:
“No one gives to charity more than our guy”. “Our country has a complex demographic and no one can balance it out like our guy”. “Our guy is leading a massive reform process that will correct all the mistakes of his predecessor (which naturally happens to be his father)”. “Our guy is replacing the old guard with a new (dirtier) guard and is uprooting corruption from its deepestsources (one garbage truck at a time)”. “Our guy patrols the street unarmed and unguarded, a la Omar”. “For God’s sake! Our guy is digging us a whole RIVER”. “Our guy prays every freakin Friday and he does it IN THE MOSQUE too”. “Our guy is a visionary in the areas of tourism promotion and animals breeding”. “Our guy is planting trees while fighting terrorism”. “Our guy is a coal-mine worker in the morning, a world-leader in the afternoon, and a family man at night. In his free time he is excelling in 17 different hobbies”.

Of course even with a little exaggeration: (“Our guy is flat out God”), and a little overstretching: (“Our guy dresses well”) one is bound to quickly run out of “good things” to say, so the argument would inevitably switch to the “At-least-our-guy-is-not…” mode that can assume a wide range from childishly sarcastic to straight out creepy.
To quote a few:
[References of these quotes, for the purposes of “constitutional” detention and testicular voltage shocks, are available upon request]

“At least our guy does not dissolve his critics in acid”. “At least our guy is not a French/British/American/Persian agent”. “At least our guy did not trade in his people for a chair”. “At least our guy speaks the language”. “At least our guy did not overthrow his own father and discard him in exile and/or a nut house. “At least our guy is not hosting American bases to back up his throne”. “At least our guy’s mug is not on a Zionist stamp. (On a related note: isn’t it remotely abnormal that the assassinated traitor who broke the Arab unity and signed the first peace treaty does not get a stamp (proposal rejected), while both of Prophet’s Mohammad grandchildren do?)”. “At least our guy let women wear a head cover”. “At least our guy allows women to drive”. “At least our guy is not legally insane, a nymphomaniac, a pedophile, or a degenerate…”

For an observing outsider the situation is so perplexing: “How could such a lovely collection of individuals, end up being such a catastrophe as a group?

But, given the fact that most Arabs exist in the defeated apathetic (mental) state and in societies that have identified its priorities and have completely surrendered to its fate (being destined to make a choice between externally appointed emperors or American/Persian direct occupation), let us adopt the Saudi guy mentality for a second:

The master is the symbol of the nation. He is the face of it and its representative. His decisions are revealed to him from supernatural powers through archangels. All his infallible actions are purpose-driven and aim for the well-being of his livestock. (It remains impossible to imagine how can anyone who is remotely informed and has a slight awareness of the history of our region subscribe to the above statement?!). With all that said, is it blasphemous to demand some answers that could give a false sense of relevancy and control? Even God himself understands that part of the job description is facing some uncomfortable questions every now and then!

For example, is it too much to ask to factor him into the annual national budget? The ignorant Saudi was very excited because the king spends money from his own pocket on the renovation and maintenance of the religious sites. Is it too much to ask to specify what is personal pocket money and what is national resources? After all one of these “business tours” can single handedly and literally reshape the society’s class distribution, cause a significant movement in the poverty line, and start a small industrial zone in an unprivileged area.

Is it too much to ask for a decision making process? An accountability system? A law that applies to emperors and their parasites? Any signs that there is a potential of a country in the horizon?

Actually forget about it. “50 Dollars and winter coats for everybody”… Yaaaay.