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Mil-Hadi exchange

Dear Hadi (and others),

I have been following the recent debate on the CASI list with great
distress. Just like you I have been extremely outraged, saddened and
depressed by what is going on in Palestine/Israel. Like you I feel that
many of the problems in the Middle East are linked and one always
needs to keep the bigger regional and international picture  in sight when
discussing either economic sanctions in Iraq or the atrocities committed
against Palestinians.

However, I feel that part of “our problem” (that is the Arabs) is that we
often tend to get carried away in these bigger issues and loose sight of
anything that one can actually practically handle. I am convinced that
Mil as well as most other non-Arab members of CASI are very well
informed about the situation in Palestine and the fact that some f these
problems are rooted in so-called western politics towards the region. But
what are you going to do with this knowledge? This is a very specific
discussion list, established by a student organization which works in an
extremely efficient and focused way. They have managed to raise more
awareness and reach out to more people than any Iraqi or Arab
organization has been able to during the past years.

I am actually very concerned with the lack of initiative and interest
among many many Iraqis and Arabs in this country. Recently an Iraqi
friend of mine and myself established a women’s group of Iraqi and non-
Iraqi women to work together against economic sanctions (Act Together:
Women Against sanctions on Iraq). Unfortunately there are not many of
these alliances. But I find the reason you are giving for this, for example,.
Arabs not wanting to join CASI, unfair and out of place. I think we need
to do some soul-searching and self-criticism before blaming others.

The truth is that it needs some focussing, discipline and certain rules of
political engagement to actually get anything done. Mil, to my mind, is
one of the fairest, committed, sensitive and insightful activists we have
in the anti-sanctions movement.

Come on, Hadi,  we are all frustrated by what is happening. Don’t take it
out on those who last deserve it!

Warm regards,


Dr Nadje Al-Ali
Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
University of Exeter
Telephone: +44-(0)20 - 7284 1450
mobile:    +44-(0)7801 931869
Fax:       +44(0)1392  264035
Visit the Institute's website:

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