Here are a few simplistic reflections – they come from a “heedful idiot” – about the wave of uprisings that arise throughout the Arab world.
Until now, it seems that the main reason of the revolt is a deep desire of freedom, in front of the unbearable arrogance of senile and corrupt tyrants. The fundamental demand of the people of Tunisia, then Egypt and Libya, etc., is to bee freed of those who embody these oppresive and maffioso regimes. The main drive of the uprising comes from urban middle classes, people who have access to the media and are connected to the social networks. The islamist groups or parties, although present and influent in these countries, seem to have been overtaken by events.
The western democratic model – so disparaged by our extreme left and anti-globalisation activists – seems henceforth desirable for these people that we regarded as not being “ready for democracy”.
Of course, in each of these countries, a risk exists that well structured organizations – the army, or islamist groups – hijack the bustle. It is the case, in particular, in Egypt, where the Muslim Brothers are strong, structured, and well organised all over the country. But, if this had regrettably to occur, it would clearly be in defiance of what the people have expressed: a disgust for the dictatorships which hold them captives. As a matter of fact, one of the most surprising things, in the events of these last weeks, was the absence – or rarity – of religious watchwords or demands.
Even more significant is the fact that, neither in Tunisia, nor in Egypt and today in Libya, anti-Israeli slogans are utterd. It is not Israeli or American flags which are burned on public squares, but the portraits of the tyrants. How can you explain that, while Arab leaders – and a large number of western analysts – offload all the responsibility of the Arab people’s misfortunes on the “Zionist ennemy”? For them, no doubt about it: beat Israël hands down and everything will be going beautifully from Maghreb to Machrek... But that “old story” does’nt work any more. These men and women know henceforth who despises and oppresses them. Let us hope that they can defend themselves, with the same courage and determination, against an Islam claiming to resume control of their spirits and their bodies.
(*) This text was posted (on "un idiot attentif") in march 2011, a few weeks after the beginning of the Arabic uprisings in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. In these days, it was difficult to forsee that islamist groups would take the power. Today, the hopes raised by these events are seriously questioned. That is why I wrote this other article, posted in december 2011:
It seems clear, today, that I reacted by excess of optimism when the first buds of the “Arab spring” appeared. Everywhere, islamist parties seize power: another demonstration of the fact that elections are a necessary component of democracy, but that it is not sufficient by itself. Such a scenario is observed in Egypt, where the alliance of Muslim Brothers and Salafists conquers an overwhelming majority...
However, it is clear that the men – and, still more, the women – who restaured the freedom of speech and started that spring-like wave, have little in common with the various islamist groups, even “moderate”. These people, most of them young and of a cultural level upper to the average, were determined to build institutions freed from religious grip. They fought for democracy, and... they collect shari’a!
How, then, could we remain optimistic? Some event viewers tend to see, in the political scene which is setting up, the emergence of a new caliphate... But there is no room for despair. Indeed, the heavy pressure of political Islam will probably be felt during a long period. It may rely on it’s strategy of indoctrination and on the blind conformity it leads into a little educated population. However, my conviction is that islamism, quite as the other totalitarianisms, cannot last infinitely.