A Total Mess
What is a Revolution?
by Tariq Ali, CounterPunch 4-9-2013
Ever since the beginning of the Arab Spring there has been much talk of revolutions. Not from me.
I’ve argued against the position that mass uprisings on their own constitute a revolution, i.e., a transfer of power from one social class (or even a layer) to another that leads to fundamental change.
Egypt is the clearest example in recent years. The Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative social force, that belatedly joined the struggle to overthrow Mubarik, emerged as the strongest political player in the conflict… Its factionalism, stupidity, and a desire to reassure both Washington and the local security apparatuses that it would be business as usual led it to make several strategic and tactical errors… New mass mobilizations erupted… The result was obvious. The ancien regime is back in charge with mass support. If the original was not a revolution, the latter is hardly a counter-revolution.
|Gaddafi’s personal cook:
“he was just the leader of the revolution..”
In Libya, the old state was destroyed by NATO after a six-month bombing spree and armed tribal gangs of one sort or another still roam the country, demanding their share of the loot. Hardly a revolution according to any criteria.
What of Syria? The notion that the SNC is the carrier of a Syrian revolution is as risible as the idea that the Brotherhood was doing the same in Egypt.
The strikes envisaged by the United States are designed to prevent Assad’s military advances from defeating the opposition and re-taking the country. That is what is at stake in Syria.
The idea that Saudia, Qatar, Turkey backed by NATO are going to create a revolutionary democratic or even a democrat set-up is challenged by what is happening elsewhere in the Arab world.
The democrat Hollande defends and justifies the Moroccan autocracy, the Saudis prevent Yemen from moving forward and occupy Bahrein, Erdogan has been busy with repression at home, Israel is not satisfied with a PLO on its knees and is pushing for Hamas to do the same so it can have another go at Hezbollah.
The region is in a total mess and most Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan are only too well aware that US strikes will not make their country better.
Nasser: Pragmatic and logical approach
versus backward-looking Islamist extremism
Gamal Abdel Nasser was a giant of the twentieth century who curiously is not well-remembered today.
He was ahead of his times. The world powers that constantly opposed his attempts to mainstream Egypt into the world while he was alive may long for his forward-looking pragmatic and logical approach compared to the backward-looking Islamist extremism rife in the region today. …
Nasser wrote a short personal book titled “Egypt’s Liberation: The Philosophy of the Revolution” about his ideas and dreams. It reveals a sweeping yet deeply analytical mind and acute observer of human behavior whose periods of disillusionment and exhilaration were intense. First published in 1955, his book was all but ignored by the world. (Rompedas 23-7-2009)
DOROTHY THOMPSON: Abdul Nasser was looking for constructive ideas, for men ready to subject their personal ambitions, interests, and hatreds to a concentrated and consecrated effort for the renaissance of the nation.
“We needed order but we found nothing behind us but chaos. We needed unity … we found dissension. We needed work … we found indolence and sloth…
Every man we questioned had nothing to recommend except to kill someone else.
Every idea we listened to was nothing but an attack on some other idea. If we had gone along with everything we heard we would have killed off all the people and torn down every idea, and there would have been nothing to do but sit down among the corpses and ruins. … ”
We were deluged with petitions and complaints … but most of these cases were no more or less than demands for revenge, as though a revolution had taken place in order to become a weapon in the hand of hatred and vindictiveness.”
Bashar al-Assad’s speech Uruknet, 10-1-2012
The strength of Arabism lies in its diversity
The social structure of the Arab world, with its large diversity, is based on two strong and integrated pillars: Arabism and Islam. Both of them are great, rich and vital. Consequently, we cannot blame them for the wrong human practices.
Furthermore, the Muslim and Christian diversity in our country is a major pillar of our Arabism and a foundation of our strength. …
We should always know that Arabism is an identity not a membership. Arabism is an identity given by history not a certificate given by an organization.
Arabism is an honor that characterizes Arab peoples not a stigma carried by some pseudo-Arabs on the Arab or world political stage. …
The last thing in Arabism is race. Arabism is a question of civilization, a question of common interests, common will and common religions.
It is about the things which bring about all the different nationalities which live in this place.
The strength of this Arabism lies in its diversity not in its isolation and not in its one colordness.
Arabism hasn’t been built by the Arabs. Arabism has been built by all those non-Arabs who contributed to building it and those who belong to this rich society in which we live. Its strength lies in its diversity. …
The strength of our Arabism lies in openness, diversity and in showing this diversity not integrating it to look like one component.
Arabism has been accused for decades of chauvinism. This is not true. If there are chauvinistic individuals, this doesn’t mean that Arabism is chauvinistic. It is a condition of civilization.
Muslim Brotherhood 2012
“It Is an Obligation to Kill Bashar Al-Assad”
It was no secret that while Nasser was aligned with the socialist camp,
the MB served as a tool of the US and Gulf regime during the Cold War”.
Al-Akkbar march 2012
“The revolution is a gift from God”
Vote for Sharia Law
Ahram Online, 17 May 2012