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Cultural Revolution

Reader comment on item: Praising Military Slavery

Submitted by Peter Herz (United States), May 22, 2010 at 09:35

The Muslim world, like much of the rest of the world, has tried the militant secularism of the post-Enlightenment age, and found it wanting. Marx accused the culture of enlightenment liberalism of destroying community, and used this destruction of community as part of his justification for further revolution. Marx's own experiment in "community organization" (?) itself has been a dismal failure. In the wake of the May 4th movement of 1919, many conservative Chinese complained that the modern West has taught the youth of China to misbehave rather than to behave. Perhaps much of the appeal of Communism in interwar and postwar China came from its promise to restore order and settle the seething political questioning that wracked China with civil war. It seems to me that much of the Arab and Muslim world has found that the promises made by secular nationalism, democracy, and socialism have not paid out, either. Ataturk's revolution was harsh, and his regime all but completed the work of Abdelhamet in ridding Turkey of non-Muslim minorities, as well as training the Turks to accept "modern" military dictatorship. The Ba'ath movement in the Arab world has also been far from a rebirth.

I thoroughly agree with Dr. Pipes that the Mamluk institution was a bad one, and that Egypt should have learned an important lesson when Napoleon's army butchered the Mamluk's in battle. However, with the "post-modern" ferment going on in the world today, we cannot blame Egyptians or other Muslims for re-examining their histories for a useable past--even if they make mistakes (which, I believe, they are maaking).

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