Published December 31, 2009
2009 was a heck of a year. Here are my five dramas, two surreal things and five of my preferred personal things.
Strategic Dramas of 2009
1) In June, the Obama administration abandoned one million youth, boys and girls in the streets of Tehran and other cities facing the murderous machine of the Basij militia. The President said we “shouldn’t meddle” and I say we should meddle all the way when it is about freedom. It is like not meddling when Jews were exterminated in Auschwitz. That’s like not being human in front of human suffering.
2) In July the administration’s counter terrorism chief banned the use of words such as "terrorism," "jihadism," "war," taking out our capacity of detecting the narrative of jihadi activities.
3) In November the administration refused to consider Ft. Hood’s massacre as a “Terrorist Act” and said they would not “rush to conclusion.” Guess what? The jihadists drew their conclusions about us fast. They will do it again.
4) During the same month, the administration decided to send the 9/11 terrorists detained as enemy combatants in Guantanamo to be tried in a civilian court in New York. In addition to inflicting mass psychological pain on Americans, this decision will produce disasters: maybe the real 2012?
5) On December 1, the administration declared its Afghanistan strategy and the withdrawal dates. Very useful to the Taliban and Al Qaeda: They’ve got mail.
The Surreal Events of 2009
1. Qadhafi’s speech in New York at the U.N. was an unreal work of art. Especially when the “dictator” criticized the U.N. for not being “democratic.” Qadhafi has been referred to by many Arab leaders, including the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, as the “crazy boy.” He should be at Hollywood’s numerous awards ceremonies, along with Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmedinijad.
2. In 2009 too, we’ve seen how scandals by American celebrities can paralyze serious debates for weeks. The Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and homegrown jihadists do not have such problems. Have you seen Al Jazeera, al Manar or any other “al” stopping their programs to analyze the divorce of a singer in Egypt or a Syrian actor cheating on his wife? America’s pop culture is amusing but some of its extremes are surreal. Every full day of national media we spend on why a celebrity is acting weird is a lost day in the global fight against terrorism, a chance to help the economy recover and save the earth.
Favorite Things In 2009
1) "Terminator IV": The “machines” are reminiscent of today’s terrorists, also ideological machines. But we need a leader of the “resistance” who can teach the people how to defeat them. Do we have one?
2) “You Tubes” by young Iranians, sent out on Twitter produced amazing real world documentaries. The deafening silence of America's actors and actresses on Tehran’s oppression was shattered by Iran’s revolutionary mini-movies. Who needs Hollywood now that we have “Twitterwood?”
3) Finally, Cafe con Lecce in Miami is now available with skim milk! I have been asking for it for the last ten years but not to avail. I was always snapped at: Que es eso? Suddenly during my last visit to my hometown I dared to ask again and the young lady serving me said, "seguro no hay problemo." She was a former worker at Starbucks. I’d coin it the Starbuckito.
4) I created my own survival salad which secrets I will share with readers in 2010. It fills you up and avoids health risks of all sorts. It is a Non-fat Tabbouli
5) At last I was able to perform on the East Coast a feat that had been claimed to be something unique to Lebanon. -- That is to ski on the slopes in the morning and one hour later, to travel by car, to swim on the Mediterranean beach. The day began by a morning snow sliding in Virginia and two hours later, by plane, I was able to jet-ski on North Miami’s shores. And I have the pictures to prove it! See, global “warming/freezing,” is not that bad after all. I baptize it a global “warmfreezing.”
And finally, a Christmas Message as We Close Out This Year...
I was born on Christmas and in short the anti-Christmas forces must understand, the Christmas celebration is not only a theological issue, it is a deep part of our sociology. Many church leaders are as critical of the little spirituality of the Christmassy season as the anti-Christmas harassers are of its religiosity. Both camps are fighting over state and religion, faith and atheism. They can rent an amphitheater and fight it there. Cultural Christmas is part of our social fabric and won’t go away. We will fight for it as a fundamental right, read a civil right. We will celebrate it eternally, as long as the critics can’t give us a better human feeling and they are endlessly far from it.
Dr Walid Phares is a terror expert and Fox News Contributor.