Thursday, December 18, 2008

Insider Quote: Being Pro American

“To those that see Arabists as ‘soft’ on Arabs, I ask, ‘What do they think we are? A bunch of idiot masochists? Begging to be blown up again? All this pain and vituperation is supposed to make us pro-Arab? I mean, give me a break!’ To our critics, I’d say, ‘We are professionals. We are like oncologists. You don't like cancer, but you deal with cancer. You don't like Arab radicalism, but it is there and you have got to deal with it. You don’t call your doctor a cancer-lover when he has to bring you the bad news.’

“I was never pro-Arab, or anti-Arab. But through Arabic, I was able enough to appreciate the good aspects of Arab civilization - so that the tawdry present did not sour me toward my hosts…like most Arabists, I saw myself as being only pro-American. ‘My country right or wrong...but always my country.’ Does that sound too melodramatic?”

Hume Horan American Diplomat Horan studied his Arabic in Lebanon and Libya and was stationed in Baghdad, Amman, and Jeddah before he served as ambassador to Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and the Ivory Coast.

Oral history interview in 2000 Remembering Hume Horan-Middle East Quarterly

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