Thomas Friedman quoted this poem in his editorial on Friday. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It is simple, true and sad at the same time. The author is a Saudi, Wajeha al-Huwaider. One you hear a voice from the madness, it gives one hope that things will get better in the Middle East. As Friedman wrote, "occasionally an honest voice rises, giving you a glimmer of hope that others will stand up."
Here is the poem.
When you cannot find a single garden in your city, but there is a mosque on every corner – you know that you are in an Arab country.
When you see people living in the past with all the trappings of modernity- do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country.
When religion has control over science – you can be sure that you are in an Arab country.
When clerics are referred to as "scholars" – don’t be astonished, you are in an Arab country.
When you see the ruler transformed into a demigod who never dies or relinquishes his power, and nobody is permitted to criticize – do not be too upset, you are in an Arab country.
When you find that the large majority of people oppose freedom and find joy in slavery – do not be too distressed, you are in an Arab country.
When you hear the clerics saying that democracy is heresy, but seizing every opportunity provided by democracy to grab high positions – do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country…
When you discover that a woman is worth half of what a man is worth, or less – do not be surprised, you are in an Arab country..
When land is more important than human beings – you are in an Arab country…
When fear constantly lives in the eyes of the people – you can be certain you are in an Arab country.