Trump gnaws at King Solomon's cane

Trump gnaws at King Solomon's cane
Comment: For too long, we have refused to see the roots of the problem. Perhaps Trump's presidency will serve as the wake-up call we need, writes Ahmed Abu Artema.
4 min read
10 Oct, 2018
Today, Trump does the job of the worm in the story of King Solomon [Getty]
After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, I read a statement by an Arab writer who said, "We must not ask why the US came to Iraq; but the question should rather be 'why didn't US come to Iraq till now?'"

History knows no voids. When a power regresses, the law of nature stipulates that another power fill the vacuum.

The political environment was favourable to the arrogant behaviour of President George W. Bush's administration.

Iraq as an oil-rich country that attracts greedy eyes was groaning under the tyranny, poverty and corruption of Saddam Hussein's authoritarian rule as well as international sanctions.

Arab resistance had collapsed; and there was no serious Arab effort to confront the US, whose administration was taken by a spirit of hegemony. In light of these cumulative factors, the arrival of the US in Iraq was more of a light tap of a stick, to knock dry leaves from a rotten tree.

This law of history manifests itself very clearly today, in the case of the current US president, Donald Trump. Since winning the election, he has undertaken a series of shocking and decisive decisions regarding his foreign policy.

The most notable of these decisions is recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; and the subsequent relocation of the US embassy to that city.

In addition, his administration has taken a hostile position towards the right of return of Palestinian refugees; and stopped US funding of the UNRWA, which is responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees.

The worm was not the one who killed King Solomon; but rather announced his death

Furthermore, Trump has dropped diplomatic decorum regarding his relations with Arab Gulf states. This week he declared crudely that Saudi Arabia has to pay more for the protection of its regime, stating that King Salman would not be able to rule two weeks without US protection.

The traditional questions are "Why did Trump relocate his embassy to Jerusalem? And why did he cease funding UNRWA? And why is he blackmailing Saudi Arabia so blatantly?"

But the more substantial question, is "Why did US presidents delay removing their embassy to Jerusalem? And why did they continue to fund an agency that constantly reminds the world of the issue of Palestinian refugees in the unipolar world order devoid of any serious power challenging US hegemony?

And why would Trump need to be diplomatic when he knows that the Saudi regime holds no power cards, and would not dare to say 'no' to US policies?

Trump is effectively dispelling the fog and clarifying the landscape. He is moving from hesitation to decisiveness that expresses candidly the balance of power and nature of this period.

The emergence of personalities like Trump has proven essential throughout history for putting an end to the state of falsehood and deception; and for pinpointing a clear indication of the gravity of the problem.

These personalities are a warning to the world about the core of the crises it has tried to hide and disguise under a thin layer of calm and wellbeing.

The Holy Quran tells the story of King Solomon. When he died, his body remained erect leaning on a cane. The subjects around him thought that he was still alive and continued to do their forced labour.

This continued until a worm came and starting gnawing at the cane, until it weakened, and collapsed. The King's body then fell to the ground. Only then did people know that Solomon had died.

The moral of this story, is that the worm was not the one who killed King Solomon the Great; but rather announced his death, exposed the false reality, and called on people to confront the truth instead of continuing their false servitude.

He is giving us the shock we need to wake up from our delusions, to see the reality of the situation

Today, Trump is doing the same job the worm did in King Solomon's story.

He is giving us the shock we need to wake up from our delusions, to see the reality of the situation, and to push us to investigate the roots of the problem, after wasting long years of our lives on the superficial, dealing with the symptoms, rather than the cause. 

Ahmed Abu Artema is a journalist and Palestinian peace activist. He was born in Rafah, in 1984 and is a refugee from Al Ramla village. He authored the book "Organized Chaos" and numerous articles. He is one of the original organisers of the Great Return March.

Follow him on Twitter: @aburtema

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab.