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Dear Shishir

Reader comment on item: L'Institut d'Égypte – In Memoriam
in response to reader comment: Response to dhimmi/Islamist apologist Debanjan

Submitted by Debanjan Banerjee (India), Jan 11, 2012 at 02:26

Shishir: You mentioned previously that you read Spengler.If you did you need not ask me why Egyptians turned religious with a vengeance.It is their simply inability to come to terms with modernity-Egyptians or other Arabs for that matter tried nationalism-fail.Tried pan Arab nationalism-failure again.Attempts at socialism-we all know how that went!So the Muslim groups made a persuasive though flawed argument that Arabs are backward and lose wars against infidels because they are not religious enough.After all Arabs were kicking a$$ and taking names shortly after Muhammads death from China to Spain.You couple that with petrodollars from the more observant GCC states and you have a thoroughly retrograde and regressive socio-political system.

Shishir , both Spengler and you are too simplistic in your views regarding the rise of religious movements in the West Asian region. First of all , the rise of secular and nationalistic movements had in their origins an urge to copy the West and create secular , nation-states based upon ethnic and linguistic exclusivity. This approach was copied from West in order to mimic the success of Western nation states. \

Two key ingredients were missing in the Arab approach which resulted in the faliure of the Arab approaches to build secular , homogeneous nation states. The success of the West to create homogeneous nation states had a lot to do with the creation of their financial wealth thanks to their empire building efforts in the past. The Arab nationalists never had access to that types of financial wealth due to their inabilities to create vast empires alike the Western elites.

SHishir : Islam being universal religion had no such restrictions.

America , UK , France all have universal expansionary wishes. Judeo-Christianity do have tremendous wills of expansion and it is expanding profusely in Africa and Latin America. Only now in the 21-st century , since the heart of Judeo-Christianity has weakened with the lose of the Western empires , the efforts to expand Judeo-Christianity around the World is floundering.

Another point here is that the Arab elites unlike the Western elites who were largely able to co-opt the religious institutions as well as the Middle classes in their countries into supporting their systems , largely failed to co-opt their urban middle classes who continue to identify their identities in terms of Islamic belief systems.

These authoritarian states were also propped up by the West in order to either loot their oil wealth as in the case of Iran , Libya or Iraq or to dilute Islam as any relevant factor in the life of the Muslims as in Egypt or Tunisia. However the authoritarian nationalisms that you mention were at best efforts by the elites to remake themselves aka West which as you mention have failed. The Western elites have also never considered the secular-minded Arab elites as anything other than useful pawns to be used for purposes like those to be used against the Soviets or to extract oil. Whenever the secular-minded Arab nationalists tried to pose independent postures , the West destroyed them as in the case of Saddam , Qaddafi , Mossadegh or Mubarak.

So the lessons that need to be learnt from the fall of the Arab autocracies is that so-called modernist Western concepts like nation-state and secularism do not work in terms of the Muslims.

What works is an ideology which can bring people from different backgrounds and classes as well as linguistic background together and in the case of West Asia that is Islam. That is why Islam is again becoming influential since it never went away.

Shishir : Furthermore Israel had always very modest aspirations whose limits of their holy land was proscribed by their God.Islam being universal religion had no such restrictions

Again you are living in an world of illusion. Israelis always wanted to conquer all the lands between the river Nile and the river Tigris i.e. from Egypt to Iraq. Have you ever wondered what the two blue lines represent in the Israeli flag. It is the Palestinians whose struggle have coaxed the Israelis to settle within the holy lands for the time being. However Muslims should not be satisfied with it.

Submitting....

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