Larry Elder, the "Sage of South Central" (Los Angeles) clues us in about Bush Inaugural address calling for more freedom in the world.
The U.N. Commissioned Arab scholars and analysts to publish the Arab Human Development Report. What causes the backwardness, the scholars wondered, of 22 Arab states, covering nearly 300 million people? Their conclusion? Of all world regions, the Arab countries scored the lowest in
freedom, media independence, civil liberties, political process and political rights.
The report found 65 million illiterate adults. Half of Arab women
still cannot read or write. Ten million children between 6 and 15 years of age are not in school. The report points to a "severe shortage" of new writing. In the last 1,000 years, the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain
translates in just one year. Only 1.2 percent of the population uses a computer, and only half of those access the Internet. In short, the peoples of these countries lack economic and political freedom.
Arab leaders point to America's relationship with Israel as proof of America meddling to undermine the religion of Islam. In one of his fatwas, Osama bin Laden attacked America for its support of corrupt regimes, like the House of Saud and the former Shah of Iran. But did Palestinians enjoy freedom when Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip or
when Jordan controlled the West Bank?
The European reaction to the president's "fire of freedom" inaugural address tells us a great deal about Europe's failure to grasp the stakes in this War on Terror. An editorial in the London Daily Telegraph said, "Now comes the hard part. President George W.
Bush's elegy to freedom yesterday and his vision of it flowering around the world fitted into the long tradition of inaugural speeches that blend America's optimism with smugness about the reach and benefits of its power."
France's Le Monde lamented, "We can fear that, in the eyes of Mr. Bush, the criteria for tyranny would essentially be hostility toward the United States and that he would be inclined to close his eyes to the democratic failings of regimes that show perativeness. . . . The outcome of his activism abroad makes us fear similar traumas at home."
- Larry Elder