Code of Honor: How Dare You, Mr. President?

With much righteous indignation, reporters and revolutionaries around the world asked President Mubarak: How Dare You Defy the World!

They could not comprehend the audacity, the “Chutzpa,” the nerve of the Egyptian President refusing to leave his country, defying their very wish, command and instructions.

You must leave, NOW, they shouted. It is not your country any more. You are unwanted. You are a liability. Time for you to go.

It is they, the outsiders, the media and the US President, that called for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. They expected him to leave, later to announce his resignation and departure. When he refused to do so, they became furious, upset he disobeyed their orders.

As much as I love America, it hurts me to recognize “American arrogance.” We chose a leader, President Barack Hussein Obama. Although I did not vote for him, he was duly elected and is my President. That gives him rights at home, but not abroad.

Rules of Middle East hospitality: A person opening one’s house to a guest will spare nothing; the guest is a king. Even more importantly, once at someone’s home, even if the host and the guest are enemies, no harm will become the guest. From that respect, we remember the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, where the host was willing to sacrifice his daughters and their virginity as long as no harm befell his guests. This is probably still true today (equality of the sexes and woman’s liberation notwithstanding).

The Middle East is not America by any stretch of the imagination. There, there is nothing more important than honor. If a daughter is assaulted, her brother or father will avenge her honor. It is a code we do not really understand, for it is the same reasoning used to stone a woman when her husband is the one who was unfaithful (Iran, 2010, and elsewhere). In the latter case, it is the husband’s honor vis-a-vis the community that must be maintained.

President Obama told us and the world the basic tenets of his belief, which created the following headlines: “Islam is a Peaceful Religion,” “The United States of America is one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” “There are deep roots of Islam in our American history,” and other pronunciations he seems to believe, or wishes us to believe, as removed from reality as they may be.

When he met with the Saudi King, President Obama bowed so deeply all paid attention to this gesture. It is not that the President is the master of the universe, but he is undoubtedly the leader of the free world. It was neither protocol nor wise to bow in the first place, and definitely not that deeply. Many questioned whether he was sending a message.

There seems to be a love affair in progress between the American President and Islam. It may be the President’s early childhood upbringing or motives that are not explicit (other than in action). This was evident in the President’s Cairo speech, in his instructions to NASA, his administration’s appointments of Muslims to top position at the Department of Homeland Security and elsewhere and other sensitive positions.

Thus, we must assume the President is both familiar with and possibly an advocate for Islam. Islam, though, is not only a religion, but also a culture, an all-consuming way of life. Thus, for someone whose intelligence is not in doubt to completely ignore the basic tenant of honor sends a very clear and worrisome signal.

President Obama for almost three weeks has personally engaged and led an attempt to overthrow the Egyptian President from office and from his country.

The President mobilized the State Department and numerous officials, attacking anyone who dared to say anything differently. He enlisted the Western media and has used American assets and resources to overthrow President Mubarak, a staunch ally of the United States for three decades in the most volatile region of the world, the Middle East.

America has supported Egypt for decades, recognizing the many contributions and the immense importance of Egypt to stability and security throughout the Arab world. America did so not only in word but also by deed, billions of dollars of aid and military technology, knowhow and equipment transfers.

There was nothing so evil or unacceptable about President Mubarak until just weeks ago. He was a friend, an ally, a head of state, a person of great influence and a trusted advisor with a calming effect on the Middle East volcano that attempts to erupt every so often. President Mubarak hosted President Obama, in a most historic moment at the Cairo Speech.

How can President Obama, the head of the Great Satan, almost-the devil himself to many throughout the Middle East, even think of meddling in the internal affairs of a foreign, sovereign country that until weeks ago was a loyal ally?

How dare he dictate to a country of eighty some million, that their ruler must go, and that it must be done now, without any plan or alternative course of action, just throw Egypt into a spiraling turmoil?

Imagine someone of power coming to your home or place of business and telling you to leave now. No options. And by the way, let us kick you on the way out, so that you will be strewn on the pavement outside, bleeding, the laughing stock of all your neighbors of years, and family members who will be ashamed to show their faces in the street for decades to come.

Imagine even worse: Not only was it an arbitrary decision, it was not a well-thought out and well-justified one. Engaging in an all-out war against President Mubarak was not because of anything he did or did not do. Instead, it was to show the world who is truly in power, who calls the shots and who can bring about change with a flick of his little finger.

There is no need to imagine, just to turn on the news. It was all orchestrated. One day the truth will surface; that foreign elements (possibly American assets) were at play in the central square in Cairo.

How much can a person be humiliated? First, he is told he betrayed his people. Second, he must depart from his beloved homeland immediately. Third, he is evil and his people hate him. Fourth, his country will be better off without him. Fifth, all the people around him are also corrupt. And, just to add insult to injury: HE MUST LEAVE NOW, the United States of America has prepared a retirement location for him.

Have we lost our minds? Where was President Obama’s outrage when women and men were dying on the streets of Iran? Our president was strangely silent then.

President Mubarak had much on his hands. He had dedicated his life to his country, and it was by no means a simple task. He will not leave Egypt – definitely he will not flee. How unlike so many other Arab dictators. Is there a possibility, just a mere figment of my imagination, that President Mubarak is a man of great honor, dignity and integrity?

Where is the Arab World? Afraid at the moment, for they are watching carefully. The hands of America are choking the second strongest Muslim leader in the world (after Ahmadinejad) and no one is speaking. Mesmerized, they watch the brutality, fascinated and frozen, attracted and revolted.

Where is the Arabian bravery? Where are the courageous horse riders on horses and camels? Where are the housewives and husbands, children and the elderly? They are all being insulted by the Great Satan and no one speaks? Are they all shaking and afraid? Is there no one who will stand up?

Honor, in the Middle East, is of paramount importance. President Barack Hussein Obama has unleashed the forces of the West against the leader of the Free Arab World (Iran and its offshoots excluded), and no one says a word.

Listening to the live broadcast of President Mubarak’s last speech can teach us all something about honor at the harshest hour, integrity, and love of country and of one’s people.

President Mubarak is Egypt.

President Mubarak is the Egyptian People.

His was the message we should all strive to uphold: I WILL STAY IN MY COUNTRY TO THE VERY END – THIS IS MY COUNTRY AND NO OTHER. Similar to “till death do us apart?” Another statement we take so lightly and utter with little meaning.

We turned into a society devoid of values. Products become disposable, rather than lasting a lifetime. Relationships are shakable. Nothing is sacred any more. There is no loyalty. No commitment. No responsibility or accountability.

If one is looking for values, look at President Mubarak. Standing at the edge of the abyss he refused to abandon his guard, he was adamant not to relieve his duty. His duty was to his people, to his country.

There is much we have to learn from President Mubarak’s behavior and from our own President on how not to behave.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related – the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts – and so is this “point – counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.