The ‘Greatest Arab of All Time’
Vol: 27 Issue: 15 Monday, December 15, 2003
The BBC has a program called “Great Britons” in which it examines the lives of famous Brits from history ranging from Winston Churchill in the last century to the framers of the Magna Carta in 1215.
An Arabic television network is running a Middle East variant of the program in which it is accepting nominations for the greatest Arab of all time. Thousands have already logged on to the website for the series or sent text messages to vote for their preferred candidate.
The program is produced by the Middle East Broadcasting Center, based in Dubai. A list of the 100 most popular figures will be announced early next year. From there, viewers will vote for the top ten nominees, and biographies of the top ten will be produced.
Ultimately, viewers will be asked to vote for the greatest Arab of all time. Producers at MBC, which claims to have a viewership of 130 million Arab viewers worldwide, said that there was no intention to exclude controversial figures.
The only restriction on nominations in the Arabic version is a plea on the website not to include the names of the prophet Mohammed or the early four Caliphs because of their incomparable qualities and their stature across humanity .
Producers say that comparing these figures could also cause problems between different Islamic groups, a conflict that the producers say they hope to avoid.
MBC wants to replicate the mood of Britain and Germany when their shows were being televised, according to Rassi. Based on the other series, we expect to create a big surge in national pride, a real ‘feel-good’ factor. Everyone has their own preferred hero and feels ownership of him.
While the producers say that it was too early to speculate on who would be among the frontrunners, one producer of the series felt that modern personalities would eclipse the historical.
Unsurprisingly, among the nominees for the greatest Arab of all time are Osama bin-Laden, Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat. The program’s producers anticipated that, although they admit it may prove ’embarrassing’ should one of them win the vote.
Embarrassing? Lessee . . . Yasser Arafat. Yasser Arafat is a terrorist — indeed, Yasser Arafat raised terrorism to an art form and made it the preferred weapon of Arab nationalists and Islamic fundamentalists.
Arafat is personally responsible for the first airline hijacking in July, 1968. In December, 1968, Yasser Arafat ordered an attack against an El Al aircraft parked on the tarmac at Athens Airport. In February, 1969, Arafat’s group attacked another parked El Al plane parked at the Zurich airport.
By January, 1970, Arafat’s terrorists had launched no fewer than twelve separate attacks against aircraft, airports and Israeli airliners world-wide.
Sick of airport security? Thank Yasser Arafat.
Arafat is an unrepentant liar whose word has proved worthless on every occasion — without exception — in which he has pledged it. Currently, Yasser Arafat remains holed up in the rubble of his Ramallah compound, completely surrounded by Israeli troops and totally dependent on Israel for the basic necessities of life.
Osama bin-Laden has sent uncounted numbers of Arab terrorists to their deaths in suicide attacks against Western interests. When given the opportunity to face ‘martrydom’ on the battlefield, Osama dressed himself in women’s clothes and ran away.
Currently, Osama bin-Laden lives like an animal in a cave somewhere, hoping to avoid the ‘martrydom’ that he sent so many of his subordinates to experience.
A videotape smuggled out from Afghanistan in the months following 9/11 shows a gloating bin-Laden bragging that most of the hijackers never knew they were going to die until they’d already hijacked the planes. Like Arafat, his word is worthless and his terror ’empire’ is built on lies.
Then there is Saddam. Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq for thirty-five years. During that time, he was responsible for the deaths of more Muslims than any Western leader in history, including Slobodan Milosevic or Josef Stalin.
Saddam tortured and murdered the Shi’ites in the south for the express reason that they WERE Shi’ite Muslims. He launched the Iraq-Iran War in 1980 that claimed the lives of an entire generation of Muslims on both sides over eight years of brutal warfare.
We’ve seen the smuggled videotapes of Arab Muslims having their tongues cut out in public, bound Arab Muslims thrown bound from the tops of buildings, chopping of limbs of Arab Muslims, and wrapping Arab Muslims with detonation cord and blowing them apart, evidently for his personal amusement.
Like Arafat and bin-Laden, martyrdom is only an option for his minions. When given the opportunity, he went from living in a marble palace to living in a hole in the ground under a mud hut in order to save his own skin.
When he was finally captured, he was armed with a pistol and two AK-47s. He didn’t fight, he didn’t martyr himself, he surrendered meekly. When Saddam emerged from his hole, with his hands up, he identified himself — in English — as “Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, and I want to negotiate my surrender.” One American soldier said dryly, “President Bush sends his regards” before yanking him unceremoniously from his hole.
Videotape of the tyrant showed Saddam meekly submitting to a medical exam.
These are among the nominees offered by the Arab world as candidates for the title of ‘the greatest Arab of all time’.
If it was me, I think that would be something that I’d want to keep to myself.