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Bird's eye on the in-field and a glance at the outfield

Reader comment on item: [Turkey-Israel and] The Real "New Middle East"

Submitted by Frank Adam (United States), Jul 19, 2007 at 05:26

This is a most useful birds' eye view of the Middle East that almost makes one nostalgia for the Cold War but shining through is the older Sassanid Persia v. Ottoman Turkey see-saw.

"En-tubed" is a torpedo at the Arab arrogance that they are the Moslem World; and that Israel should be part of the Arab culture zone in gratitude for the Moorish Spain interlude especially as Araby is a greater commercial and intellectual opportunity than a little ghetto state of Israel. So much for Arab modern ambitions in an era when printing, satellite TV, internet globalise knowledge even before commerce. This all raises the historic record of the Ottoman Turkish record as a valid equal within the Moslem World, ditto Persia, now Iran, both of whic historieswould repay some reading for intelligence and precedents.

The real elephant in the room of "Progress" is religious mania - of any stripe. Bernard Lewis and others have noted that it was not so much the East that fell behind as the West that surged ahead; and he has offered a list of the Moslem World's handicaps till now. More important the West advanced in science,(military) technology and created industry precisely from the 16th century when the ideological hegemony of the Catholic Church fragmented. The corroberative corollary is that the parts of the West that remained under religious "thought police" lagged behind UK, US and anti-clerical Franch republicans:- Spain and Latin America, Habsburg domains and the Romanov domains where from Peter the Great technology could keep up, but the social liberalism to fully use and develop it, and a free society, never took off .

When steam powered Britain upset the four millenia of subsistence agricultural society, the denizens of the new slum towns took psychological refuge in "chapel" ie nonconformist [to establishment] Christianity. Being independent chapels it did not upset society and government, even if it made problems for the introduction of public sector schooling. The Catholic peasants of Europe brought their authoritarian and supremacist demons with them to town and it was not for nothing the Nazis were led by lapsed Catholics and the Communists by graduates of equally religious education; or that the Papacy sided against efforts for democratisation till 1945. The current wave of Moslem fundamentalism - back to the Prophet Salafism - is on at least parallel tracks with the Rousseauvian back to Arcadia romanticism of the European opposition to the Enlightenment, and steam industry's spearheading the transformation to our mechanical urbanised World of globalised trade and politics.

Industrialised urban society puts a premium on technical agnosticism and secular education given tha tone's private prayer rite preferences have little to do with solving town drainage or other engineering and economic problems. Religiosity is pushed to the private life of individuals and their congregations by the fact that a modern society lives off trained brains' creativity and such people have to be allowed to think and jest fr the sake of creating our dinners. Eventually the present Salafi and Wahabi waves will pass with the development and distribution of wealth and health to let everybody live decently.

The present strength of these movements - like that of the Stalinists and the Nazis - is that they have sold their congregations and constituencies the "magic bullet" mentality that they have a quick answer. The 20th century showed there is no quick answer in terms of a decade or two, but there is in terms of a lifetime or two of hard building and study when compared to millenia of village feudalism.

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (16) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Turkey - Changing sides [65 words]Jaws7Nov 14, 2011 02:27190902
What shall we call the soup that´s cooking with so many ingredients? [139 words]Isaac HaskiyaJun 17, 2009 09:07157527
Israel-Turkey alliance was sold as geopoltical fruit of the Oslo Accords [37 words]Pez DispenserJun 10, 2009 17:56157155
Israel verses Turks and Syrians [126 words]Tess mcNamara (Australian and passionate Zionist)May 12, 2009 09:12155282
Turkey changing sides [209 words]Debanjan BanerjeeMay 11, 2009 21:19155255
Turkey's Strategic Position [151 words]Doug CharackyMay 25, 2009 20:27155255
Axis of Islamist antisemitism [111 words]yuval Brandstetter MDJan 20, 2009 01:37148487
turkey is changing sides because of Bush politics [371 words]havasJan 19, 2009 16:17148438
Re Turkey switches sides [228 words]Tess McNamaraJan 19, 2009 02:11148392
The other face of Turkey [60 words]UgriJan 18, 2009 01:32148325
Bird's eye on the in-field and a glance at the outfield [591 words]Frank AdamJul 19, 2007 05:26104044
a former muslim from Turkey loves Turkey but asks you to be careful of feeding a young wolf.... [1102 words]BOct 4, 2006 11:1058899
The Turks [643 words]dhimmi no moreJan 18, 2009 07:3658899
YOU ARE NOT A TURK [8 words]havasJan 19, 2009 15:3758899
Khoj-Ahmed Noukhaev [129 words]Mark SedgwickDec 13, 2005 03:0129853
Very Interesting [26 words]DeniseMar 3, 2003 22:187026

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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