Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
Remember Wael Ghonim? He’s the Egyptian (ex) Google executive that rose as a leader during the Tahrir Square days. After his release from 12 days in jail, he broke into tears during an interview, and became one of the symbols of the revolution.
A symbol - yes, political force - not so much. Secular liberals such as Ghonim, loved in the West for good reasons, can be credited with igniting the revolution, but not for being the triumphant power - The real showdown in Arab Spring countries is between dictators (such as Mubarak) and Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood). This is an epic battle decades in the making: Mubarak and his predecessors had suppressed and crushed the Brotherhood in Egypt (just like Assad the father killed 30,000 when Syrian Islamists rebelled in 1982.)
Being a religious movement of god-fearing devotees It’s not surprising that the Muslim Brotherhood managed to emerge from years of persecution and repression organized, disciplined and numerous. Come election day, the Brotherhood won 37.5% of the vote and the Salafists another 27.8%, while 3 liberal parties won 20.3% combined. Elections being a numbers game, the liberals did not stand a chance, there’s simply too little of them.
There’s nothing springy about former dictatorships turning into Islamist countries. One of the most important distinctions of Islam is its political aspect: Muslims, as early as the days of Mohammed himself, formed not only a religious community, but a political entity as well - the Caliphate - an inspiration and destiny for today’s Islamists, Muslim Brotherhood included. The Caliphate, among other strictly non-progressive characteristics, will be ruled by the unchangeable divine law, the Sharia - a clearly un-democratic idea.
This is not the first time an un-democratic ideology rises to power democratically. One doesn’t need to go all the way to Hitler - though one definitely may. Being a numbers game, Democracy has no solution to this problem. And indeed, since assuming office on June 30th 2012, Morsi had pulled a few aggressive move asserting himself, and pushed an Islamic-dominated constitution down seculars’ throats.
That’s why it’s so exciting to witness the liberals take the streets this past week. “Back to the squares without the Muslim Brothers and the Salafists” read Al-Ahram’s front page Friday. The Arab Spring is finally here. Two years into the revolution and coinciding with enormous anger in Port Said over last year’s soccer disaster verdicts, they got scared. The list of demands presented by the united opposition clearly reflects their fear of becoming citizens of an Islamist state. Google executives don’t live under Sharia.
It’s unclear what their chances are at resisting the Islamists. Regardless, this is where the battle against radical Islam and political Islam will be won: by Muslims rejecting Islamist ideologies and choosing progressive lives instead. Islamists thrive on grievances and the idea of “Resistance”, it’ll be interesting to see how the Brotherhood handles the crisis from a position of power. It’s not over in Egypt.
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January 17, 2013 | 3:03 pm
Posted by Ariel Blumenthal
On April 11th, 1945 the US army liberated the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald. After forcing the German residents of nearby Weimer to witness the fresh Nazi atrocities in person, General Eisenhower withdrew his forces from the camp: In accordance with the Yalta agreement, the area was designated part of the Soviet occupation. Stalin immediately put the camp back to work, this time as Special Camp No. 2 of the NKVD. Death continued to reign there: over 7,000 prisoners perished in the Soviet Special Camp between 1945-1950.
There’s a clear thread between the militaristic insanity of WWI, the Fascism and Nazism of WWII, Stalin’s murderous Bolshevism, and the likes of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, yet another Islamist fanatic, popping up this time at a gas field in Eastern Algiers.
Is there any hope for human kind? The 20th century was dominated by hallucinatory ideologies that in the eyes of their believers were above the law, above moralities, and even above basic civilized human behavior. There were enough followers every time; Enough weapons every time, and tens of millions of dead - every single time. All in vain. A human defect.
History aside - what have we got today? Sharia-crazed Islamists who show no respect and would grant no rights to anything and anyone but Allah; A Chinese empire that shows no regret or mercy as it systematically annihilates the Tibetan culture for the sake of territory, and subdues over a billion people to tyranical rule; A degenerate, corrupt Russian leadership with clear preference of narrow interests over basic moralities (see: Syria); And of course Syria itself, where sectarian Shia-Sunni violence goes medieval right in front of the digital media readers’ eyes. And I can go on and on.
Anti-American Americans, this is for you: Look around us and tell me what had fundamentally changed with this sad species? Who’s a better alternative to American dominance? Even Bush+Cheney were better than what this humanity produces on a regular basis, if not for anything else, for the fact that the system they operated within is built to allow for any leader's eventual replacement. Don’t let the 5 minutes of relative peace and human dignity we’ve been experiencing since the 90’s to mislead you: On an historical scale, this is nothing but an abnormality.
Cultural relativism, ladies and gentlemen, will not bring us to a better world. Between the massacres in Syria, the Islamist coockoos lining up for paradise, the occasional Shia-Sunni / Muslim-Hindu out of control violence, and the outrageous hypocrisy or outright insanity of people with too much power and/or weapon in North Korea, Iran, Western Africa, Russia, China etc - this is, unfortunately, pretty clear. It should have been clear on September 1st, 1939, when Hitler’s Blitz Krieg made a fool of Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister and representative of the Democratic world. And Hitler is clearly not the last bully.
Western-style Democracy is where civilization began learning that war is a ridiculous prospect, Where human dignity, freedom and justice had finally stemmed after centuries of abuse. Where Germany and Japan, two nations that brought endless destruction, bloodshed and misery upon human kind; The poster-boys of human idiocy, wondrously became two leading, productive members of the international community, (while the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe ammounted to nothing but a great big Gulag.) Yes, it’s the ideology, stupid. There’s nothing better than Western Democracy at the moment, and if you find something that is - please call me right away, day or night.
There should be a clear, uneroded distinction between good and bad, one that keeps a proportional, contextual look at current reality as well as at history, all the more so within the civilization that had managed to reach moral peaks. This pioneering civilization ending up hating itself and losing, as a result, all of its achievements to cultures that are not there yet, would be so ironic, that there should be a new word invented just for that.
The answer, therfore, to the delusional brutes the likes of Belmokhtar, should be as clear and decisive as the one handed out to Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito post the Chamberlain farce: No made-up grievances will be accommodated, there’s nothing to talk about. Grow up and learn what civilized humanity should be. Until than - you’re OUT.
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