War hysteria


War fever is having a direct impact on Arabs throughout the Western world. In Britain, "national security" provisions have been activated which allow for the detaining and deportation of resident Arabs.

More than 170 people, many of them opponents of Saddam Hussein, have been rounded up in midnight raids. Their cases are dealt with by a panel of judges sitting in Pentonville prison in London; once a decision is made, there is no right of appeal. More than 80 have been deported to the war zone.

The most celebrated case is that of the noted Palestinian academic and journalist Abbas Cheblak, who has long campaigned against the Iraqi regime. At the time of writing, he is languishing in prison, awaiting the outcome of the judges' deliberations.

"The real nature of the governments ruling Western countries, which was somehow obscured by democratic institutions in the past, has now been unmasked by the war fever", says Abdul Wahed.

"The Arabs that are residents in these countries are students and businessmen and even a number of Iraqi citizens who have fled their country because of the nature of the Iraqi regime. It is a very sad situation: at the same time these governments are attacking Hussein, they are also harassing the very people who always opposed his regime."