Statesmen & Politicians
Statesmen: One versed especially in the principles or art of government: one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping its policies. 2: a wise, skilful, and respected political leader; nationally and internationally.
Politicians: Persons active in party politics or persons holding or seeking an elected office in government. Politicians propose, support, reject, and create laws that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, politicians are citizens who seek to achieve political power in a government.
Although both are people who deal with politics and governance, the differences are otherwise immense.
On one hand, most politicians do their utmost to get elected by trying to please as many voters as possible irrespective of their own inclinations and perceptions.
On the other hand, statesmen are leaders who make decisions not based upon the perception or inclination of the voters but on what they (statesmen) believe is best for the nation at that moment in time.
Politicians therefore follow the mob while statesmen – by dint of logic and sagacity – make the mob follow them.
This is why historically, there are records of thousands of politicians who strut on the stage for a few years and then are forever forgotten while statesmen, are forever admired and remembered on the pages of history; such as Cicero, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and hundreds more (not in order of importance).
Because I come from the Middle East where most politicians are not only incredibly corrupt but also utterly incompetent, I can show stellar differences when I compare the political leaders in most of the Arab and Muslim countries of today with Anwar al Sadat of Egypt and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin.
In 1973, the Egyptians and Syrians attacked Israel on Yom Kippur by surprise which started with good advances in the Sinai but in 21 days, Israel turned the tide forcing both Arab states to beg for a ceasefire.
On May 17, 1977, the Likud Party won a national electoral victory and on June 21 Begin formed a government. He was perhaps best known for his uncompromising stand on the question of retaining the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which had been occupied by Israel during the Arab-Israeli Six Days War of 1967.
Anwar al Sadat of Egypt, against the advice of all the Arab and Muslim leaders, decided to deal with Israel in a different way. He put feelers in complete secrecy, directly to Begin inquiring if he (Sadat) would be welcome to visit Israel. Without batting an eyelid, Begin told him he would be a most honoured guest.
On Non 19,1977, Egyptian President, Anwar al Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel, in a bid to end the cycle of wars and bring about a lasting peace between the two countries.
To watch Sadat exit his plane at Ben Gurion airport – politely and very warmly received by all the top military and political leaders of Israel – was not only a pleasure to behold but an incredible shock to the psyche of Muslims all over the world.
The Arab Israeli conflict has absolutely nothing to do with land or history, because the hatred is based entirely in the Islamic scripture.
Muslims – 99.70% of whom – hate Jews and Israel without having ever met either of them in person. Hatred built entirely on their religious scripture filling the pages of Muhammad’s Quran and Sunna; the foundations of Sharia.
It is extremely relevant to point out to our readers that almost every Arab and Muslim leader condemned Sadat and called him a traitor.
No mere politician would have even conceived of doing what Sadat did, only a statesman was capable of this. Sadat ignored all the braying and foul mouths of his ‘brother’ Arab and Muslim leaders to secure peace for his nation and people. Sadat was able to bring the Egyptian mob to his way of thinking.
Prodded by U.S. President Jimmy Carter however, Begin negotiated with President Anwar al Sadat of Egypt for peace in the Middle East, and the agreements they reached, known as the Camp David Accords (September 17, 1978), led directly to a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt that was signed on March 26, 1979.
Under the terms of the treaty, Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula, which it had occupied since the 1967 war, to Egypt in exchange for full diplomatic recognition. Begin and Sādāt were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1978.
At that time, both Moshe Dayan and Yigal Alone (Chiefs of Staff of the IDF) were adamant that the Sinai must remain under Israel’s control. They had an extremely relevant point of view since Israel was giving up an immense territory that was a buffer in defence of Israel, for a mere piece of paper that any Islamic government in Egypt can revoke without any repercussions.
Begin told Israelis that as Prime Minister, he concluded that exchanging Sinai for peace is the best course and if they are unhappy with his decision, he would resign and allow another government to deal with this matter. Only a few politicians would forego their political future by willingly resigning on a matter of principle.
A statesman is not in politics for self-aggrandizing and glory, but for the good of the nation. Both Sadat and Begin rose for the occasion. Sadat was slaughtered – as always among Muslims – shortly thereafter by his fellow Egyptians from the Muslim Brotherhood.