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True cause of optimism

Reader comment on item: Obama's Misplaced Mideast Optimism

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Oct 26, 2011 at 00:45

Dear Dr Pipes:

No one can read President Obama's mind and it is useless to guess why he feels optimistic about ME. I can, however, tell you the reason why many other people feel optimistic about the recent events in the middle east. While Muslims will deny it, it is apparent to many of us that in the last couple of centuries Islam has failed its people. Whereever the Muslims are in minority they are in perpetual fights with the majority and whereever they are in majority not only they grant no freedoms to non-muslims, they do not live in peace with each other. And they blame everyone else but themselves for this situation.

Why does it happen? A lot of us realize that any system religious, political, or social that tries to control people's freedom to act collapses eventually and causes turmoil before it dies. Unfortunately, Islam, as it is practiced today, is one such system. Islam tries to control a person's life to the minutest detail: who to marry, how to marry, what to think and what not to think, who to make friends with, how to wash your hands, how to pray, when to pray, who to pray, how to rule, who to rule, how to conduct finance, how to kill animals, what to cover and how and what not to cover.

Guidance is ok and good but when guidance becomes stubborn and disctatorial, it causes problems because then it ceases to be a matter of wisdom and becomes a matter of force. And force demands more force which causes more trouble and, in turn, causes even more force. It is not an accident that so many Islamic societies are ruled by some or the other kind of a dictator.

So why do we feel optimistic about what is happening in the Middel east? We are optimistic because we know that while effects of different kinds of freedom are different, the effects of all kinds of force are the same. All kinds of dictatorships lead to unrest, murders, violence and discontent. So if the depotic Islamic socialist dictators of the ME are replaced by despotic Ayatullah style Islamic dictators, things will not change much and the same mechanisms (facebook, twitter and the rest of the media) that enabled the revolt against the depots will enable a new revolt against the Mullahs. Because, as I said, all kinds of subjugation is equally repulsive for humans.

What the Islamic world needs is freedom under which people can think and act creatively and prosper. If Islamic parties can provide that freedom, they can be part of the solution otherwise they will remain a pert of the problem and reach the same destiny that all other draconian system have reached. And that is why we are hopeful. It does not matter whether Islamists or the moderates win the election. What matters is that facebook, twitter and the rest of the media remains available to the voters and thinkers.


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