2 February 2011 2 Comments

Omar Yussef predicted Cairo and Tunis

If you’ve been wondering why the people of Tunisia and Egypt have risen up against their dictators and why it caught Washington with pants down, it’s because you didn’t read THE FOURTH ASSASSIN, the latest of my Palestinian crime novels.

In THE FOURTH ASSASSIN, which was published exactly a year ago, my Palestinian sleuth Omar Yussef travels to New York for a conference at the UN. While there, he uncovers an assassination plot. But he also has to address the conference about the life of ordinary Palestinians —— and the people of other Arab countries.

Here’s a passage from that chapter of the book, with Omar addressing the delegates from Arab countries and the Americans:

“ ‘It may be hard for you to understand, but what ordinary Palestinians want and what they battle for every day is precisely what’s denied to most of your citizens in the Arab countries: freedom and economic prosperity.’

The Libyan delegate removed his finger from his nose and flicked it angrily. The Syrian strode down from the rear of the hall, dropping his

cigarette. The Lebanese stepped out the butt on the carpet as he followed.

‘How can you, the Arab countries, dictate a solution for the Palestinians, when you suffer from many of the same problems? In fact, you, the governing class, thrive on the lack of democracy, the inequality of wealth. Take away the Israeli occupation and the Palestinians would be closer to freedom and a functioning economy than most of your peoples.’

‘Shame, shame on you,’ the Syrian called out.

One of the Egyptian delegates stood and yelled, ‘Collaborator.’ His colleague hauled him back into his seat with a simpering glance at the Americans.

Omar Yussef hammered the podium. ‘It is not only the Israelis——it is you who drive Palestinians into violence and poverty. You, who take no responsibility for the lives of your Arab brothers.’ He lifted his hand to point at the American delegation and spoke in English. ‘And you, gentlemen of the United States, when you send your money to these corrupt Arab governments, pause to ask yourselves: would I be willing to live there as a citizen? Would I live in a mud-shack raising beets in the Jordan Valley for no reward? Or sit in the heat to sell a few orange sodas for ten cents on a desert highway in Syria?… We Arabs are aimless. We wander like our forefathers in the desert, seeking water, waiting for some fanatic to come and enslave us.’ ”

You may have noticed that Syrian President Bashar Assad told an American newspaper that the reason he didn’t face riots was because he

hadn’t made peace with Israel. The Egyptian regime, he added, made a peace with Israel that was against the desires of its people and was paying the price.

It’s the kind of rot that makes you wonder why journalists even bother to report it. Egyptians living on $2 a day may not be fans of Israel, but it’s their rotten economy and lack of prospects in a corrupt state that got them onto the streets.

Informed is forewarned, as they say. Assad ought to read some Omar Yussef novels.

2 Responses to “Omar Yussef predicted Cairo and Tunis”

  1. Judie Amsel 2 February 2011 at 5:34 am #

    Excellent observations, as usual. I shared it on Facebook.
    I’ve sent out the following comments with it to several people:
    If you haven’t read any of Matt Beynon Rees’ novels, you’ve missed an interesting take on the Palestinians. I think the media and UN have been so focused on the Palestinians, that they have ignored what is happening in Arab and Muslim countries. On NPR programs, whenever the topic has anything to do with any Arab, Muslim, or plight of people anywhere (e.g., Darfur, Sudan), at least one caller, and often an on-air guest, complains that they should be talking about the Palestinians and the way Israel mistreats them. I’ve rarely heard a host correct the misinformation they provide.

  2. Maria 2 February 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    Brilliant Matt. Thank you Makes me wanna re-read the book!


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