This has been a month of shame for Arabs and Britons alike.
For the Arabs, a sign of how low they and their governments have sunk has been the violence between Algerians and Egyptians over their FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in Cairo and the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. (See "Egypt and Algeria: much more than a football match".)
Weeks of mutual recriminations between the two countries' football supporters prior to the matches descended into mindless acts of hoologanism, of the type that Britons are only too familiar, and then, most sickening of all, into a political row between two bankrupt regimes yearning for "legitimacy" by capitalizing on the sentiments of the low-life among their peoples. (See, for example, "Egypt-Algeria World Cup violence used to rally support for Mubarak regime" and "The political fallout of Egypt's soccer war".) Although there have been some voices of sanity ("Open letter from Egyptians and Algerians on football row"), there is still no sign that either regime is ready to forego milking this shameful and pathetic episode in the history of Egypt and Algeria for whatever cheap "popularity" they might get.
Meanwhile, Britain has also had its fair – and well-deserved – share of national shame. On 16 November Channel 4 TV's Dispatches programme ventured into where no other British mainstream media had ever dared with an expose of Britain's Israel lobby. The Dispatches episode, "Inside Britain's Israel lobby", revealed to Britons and the world at large what campaigners for justice for the Palestinians have known all along: that British politicians – left, right and centre – are not only stooges of the racist state of Israel, but are actually in the pay of Israel lobbyists! (For the details of what was revealed, click here.) In fact, the programme showed that almost anyone who is anyone in the Conservative and Labour parties is in Israel's pockets. Surely, by any standard, in any lexicon, this is high treason pure and simple.
One would expect that in a democratic society such shocking revelations would generate widespread public debate and lead to questions as to why the elected politicians of "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" have been bought – literally bought – by what a French ambassador to London once rightly described as "a shitty little country". But, alas, no. Having been exposed, Britain's Israel lobby has opted for a strategy of silence, in the hope that everyone will forget all about it and the issue would just go away.
Reading through some of the comments on the Dispatches website left by members of the public, I was struck by this remark: "It [the Dispatches programme] won’t change anything. Most of the British public are too stupid to realize how important this programme is."