A space to share stuff I like mostly about the Middle East, human rights and religion.
A white man as he walked past me, a Muslim woman who wears hijab. I hear variations on this (including people shouting “Osama” or “Bin Laden”, often while pretending to shoot me, from their vehicles) on an almost daily basis. I live in a medium sized city with a significant Muslim population & that prides itself on “diversity.” It always make me nervous about the fact that I have to walk alone frequently. I don’t feel safe. (via microaggressions)
Why do I have my doubts? Because Americans lack our Judeo-Muslim traditions of brotherhood, peaceful assembly and debate. Far from thinking of the greater good of their society, most Americans embrace a tribal ethos of “what’s in it for me and my clan?” Their loyalties tend to divide along tribal and regional lines. In recent years, for example, elected officials have mooted the idea that their state should (a) secede from the federal union (Texas), (b) create its own currency (South Carolina), and (c) enforce only those national laws with which its ruling warlords agree (Montana).
I disagree with some of my conservative friends who claim that Christianity is an inherently violent faith (we all know the litany: it has an instrument of torture for a symbol, the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc). Yes, if you read through their Holy Book you find a lot of alarming stuff, but I am satisfied that the vast majority of Christians read these passages metaphorically. For most, their religion is almost as peaceful and civilized as our own.
That said, the United States abounds in fanatics who don’t share this view. They are all too eager to turn the democratic process to their own nefarious ends. Many will claim to have renounced the gun for the ballot box, but can we trust them? Consider one Sarah Palin, an imam from a wild northern region where the central government’s hold is weak. Last year, her election literature contained images of targets on the territories of opponents, and she has said that the secular state should base its laws on a Christian version of Sharia. Obviously Iran, Nigeria and the rest of the G7 cannot tolerate such a person in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal.
Are Americans Ready for Democracy? by David Berreb
The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt caught the Obama administration off-guard, which is one of the reasons many analysts could claim that the Obama administration was flip-flopping and had no concrete policy. However, despite the change in tone over the days of the Egyptian and Tunisian uprising, there was a clear guiding policy, which is to support the side that appeared to be winning. Despite the fact that the rhetoric on Tunisia and Egypt was supposedly neutral before the protesters appeared to be winning, I think that not taking sides when a regime is killing its people means taking the side of the regime.
With regards to Egypt, at first when the Mubarak regime seemed stable, the attacks on protesters were not condemned and the administration urged all sides to show restraint. The administration changed its tone when the protests grew larger and Mubarak’s departure seemed imminent. However, when Mubarak kept clinging to his chair and the protests seemed to be waning (before Wael Ghonim’s release), the administration stopped calling for and immediate transition (which was always supposed to involve Omar Suleiman, Mubarak’s henchman). Once Mubarak resigned, Obama came out to give a stirring speech about the importance of freedom, democracy, people power, pointing out several times in his speech that the protests were peaceful.
I hope that the people of Egypt and Tunisia will not forget the US administration’s policy during their fight for freedom.
To illustrate my point, below are quotes from administration officials about Tunisia and Egypt, before and after the resignations of Ben Ali and Mubarak respectively. Highlights are mine.
“[T]his is a protest that has, unfortunately, provoked such a reaction from the government, leading to the deaths of mostly young people who were protesting. And, as I say, we are not taking sides, but we are saying we hope that there can be a peaceful resolution. And I hope that the Tunisian Government can bring that about. Secretary Hillary Clinton, January 11.
I condemn and deplore the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia, and I applaud the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people. The United States stands with the entire international community in bearing witness to this brave and determined struggle for the universal rights that we must all uphold, and we will long remember the images of the Tunisian people seeking to make their voices heard. President Barack Obama, February 14
“We urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence. But our assessment is that the Egyptian Government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.” - Secretary Hillary Clinton, January 25
“We reiterate our call for all sides in Egypt to show restraint and avoid violence. Egypt’s path to democratic change must be peaceful.” State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, Feb 2
For the spirit of peaceful protest and perseverance that the Egyptian people have shown can serve as a powerful wind at the back of this change… We saw protesters chant “Selmiyya, selmiyya” — “We are peaceful” — again and again. President Barack Obama, February 11.
I originally posted this on MideastYouth.com