April 11, 2006

Al-Mutanabbi is loyal to Iran

One American observer said the degree of ignorance and prejudice of Mubarak latest sortie was mind boggling. If you were an Iranian, you would find it heart throbbing. The Egyptian president, once a co-defender of the “Eastern Gate”, has just moved it way west -to the Mediterranean coast, and enlarged the borders of the Islamic republic to include the oil rich areas from Basra to Qatif, not to mention once lost Bahrain.

The ignorance part is excusable. As a career air officer, he was not into matters of religion (he wouldn’t be in the ranks otherwise), and politics (he wouldn’t become a VP otherwise), so he can’t recall the word Shia ever crossing his mind before becoming a president one fateful October day. It doesn’t help that fellow Egyptians, by and large, are as well informed on Shia intricacies as I on Jehovah’s witnesses. And if your entrusted advisor on foreign affairs (areas not covered by Camp David accord) is Dr. Usama Al-Baz, you can bet that the Shia and Iranians, for all –low- religious intents and –high- political purposes, are one and the same.

And how would a busy president double check his facts? He now knows a great deal about the difficulties and risks facing neighborly Hebrew citizens thanks to hundreds of meetings and interviews with their officials and media outlets, many of whom are on a first name basis. But Shia Arabs? He honestly can’t recall meeting a single recognizable face of them. No significant minister, no journalist, not even a son’s business partner. He remembers shaking hand with what’s his name in the recent Iraqi reconciliation conference in Cairo, but all eyes and ears were then on the Sunni contingent. And it was too late then.

There are of course his brothers, kings and presidents of countries with large and restive Shia populations. He can swear hearing their incessant complaints that the Shia are not saying their “tamam ya fendem” to their respective authorities, nor to the Americans, nor the British, nor the Israelis for that matter. So, they must be saying it to the Iranians. A call he made on Sunday night, the night of the uproar, to his good amiable friend the king of a small Kingdom, was just to verify.

But to be fair, the ignorance is not exclusively one-sided. A former Iranian vice president -and a current blogger- who accompanied his former president in a recent visit to the small kingdom, was singing the praise of the good fortune of its Shia. The country has a good democracy he said. Its Shia leaders are recognized as official opposition with official standing in meetings and negotiations with the government, which happens to even invite them to official luncheons where they can freely air their grievances.

تجيبها منين ولا منين يا صابر


At 12:17 AM, Blogger Id it is said...

I have read a few translations of Al Mutannabi's poetry. Amazing to say yhe least. I'm a little confused by the title of this post.

At 10:20 PM, Blogger MR said...

Al-Mutanabbi happened to write a poem celebre about one ruler of Egypt. He also happened to be a Shia.
I know it sounds like using a big name in a petty case.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger SillyBahrainiGirl said...

Another excellent post ...

Which reminds me..I have to pack Al Mutanabi's volumes with me :)


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