Wednesday, August 30, 2006

30-Aug-06: Shhh... Arab Leaders Stole Billions From Their People

When one of the Arab world's most influential 'insiders' makes a speech at an international conference of leaders and takes the opportunity to blast Arab kleptocrats, that would be news, right?

Actually, it depends on the circumstances.

Prince El-Hassan bin Talal, brother of the late and long-serving King Hussein of Jordan who died in 1999, spoke in Japan two days ago. He is there as moderator of the World Assembly of Religions for Peace. The four-day conference in the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto is an opportunity for leaders from all religions to contribute to an end to sectarian strife and violence in the world.

Prince Hassan made a significant speech, perhaps the most important one of the entire assembly. Reporting on it under the headline "Arab leaders stole billions from their people", here is what Yedioth Aharonot's YNET website quotes him as saying...

Jordanian Prince Hassan Bin Talal levels scathing criticism at Arab leaders during speech delivered in Kyoto conference: 'Arab leaders stole billions of dollars from the Arab people in order to spend them on weapons to fight Israel, which they can never defeat.'
Prince warns against Iranian nuclear armament project

Roee Nahmias
Published: 08.28.06, 22:27

Jordanian Prince Hassan Bin Talal, who was the Jordanian heir apparent until Abdullah was crowned as king, launched a sharp verbal attack against the leaders of Arab countries during a Kyoto conference.
"The Arab leaders stole billions of dollars from the Arab people and spent it on weapons to fight Israel, which they will never defeat, instead of using the money for health and education purposes to aid their people," he stated. Speaking at the world conference of the interfaith group "Religions for Peace", Prince Hassan also attacked the Iranian nuclear development program. Hassan spoke against nuclear armament, especially on Iran's part, and said that it needs to be made sure that the nuclear project in Iran does not reach the stage of nuclear weapons. Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was present at the conference. Prince Hassan, like Khatami, arrived together with more than 800 religious leaders to the Kyoto conference. One of the conference's aims this year is to formulate an ethical code that will be implemented in cases of violent conflicts across the globe. Representatives from countries like Israel, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and North Korea are taking part in the event. One of the Israeli delegates in the conference, Rabbi David Rosen, had met with Khatami during the event. He said that "Former President Khatami was extremely polite, he shook my hand and did not mention Israel in his speech at all." Several debates between Israeli rabbis and Palestinian clerics are set to take place in coming days in a bid to establish a mechanism that would enable cooperation between religious leaders. The Palestinian delegation is headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' representative and head of the sharia court, Tayer Tamimi, along with Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah.
Why, we wonder, would a speech as clear and uncompromising as this one, from so prominent an Arab leader, be so totally ignored by the press?

Could it be because no media representatives were present at the Kyoto conference? Nope - here's the conference press kit. Or that the text was not available, or spoken too quickly, or in a difficult-to-understand language? Unlikely - here's the full text of His Royal Highness' very eloquent opening speech on his own elaborate and strikingly aesthetic website. Stands to reason his remarks about the Arab kleptocrats could have been obtained without too much grunting and sweating.

So we're left wondering why some clear, unambiguous words about the despotic, self-serving kleptocrats of the Arab world are left unpublished, and therefore unnoticed and unknown. Perhaps those kleptocrats have to be dead before the media sit up and take notice.

1 comment:

Huldah said...

Well, I followed the link to Prince hassan's site, and could not find anything like this in the speech which is up there. The nearest to it was

"What could we have done with the estimated third of the accumulated income of all Arab countries in the five decades up to 2000, some $1000 billion in total, which has been swallowed up by institutionalised corruption?"

Have I missed something?