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I agree, Rohit, with some caveats

Reader comment on item: The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago
in response to reader comment: Re:Sara

Submitted by sara (United States), Mar 8, 2012 at 17:23

Yes, Rohit, I accept your point that in most Arab Muslim countries there was no progressive thinking, and perhaps you will allow me the liberty of limiting my observation to Egypt and Lebanon (as I think I mostly did). But you should agree that the masses' attitude has not mattered much in international relations since the ruling govts have been able to squash them down as needed (see Mubarak, Khaddafi, etc). There was a western feel to the countries of Lebanon and Egypt in the first half of the century, perhaps it was only the ruling elite, but they were who mattered. Most women were not wearing Hijab and there was a more secular (albeit poor and corrupt) environment. Lebanon was a European destination for heavens sakes.

The spread of the Muslim Brotherhood (facitliated by Nasser himself when he banished them to Saudi Arabia to allow them to join up with the Wahhabists) and its convenient and opportunistic marriage with political motivation (such as Arafat and his cronies), was a game changer. These were all manifestly emboldened with the romantic notion of Jihad against the invaders of Muslim land in Afhanistan and was further solidified by the rise of the Iranian Mullahcracy. In fact, the greatest rallying cry today amongst Muslims is the call to defend (what they consider to be) Muslim land. This extends to Kashmir, Chechnya, Andalus Spain and many other areas that might have even briefly been occupied by marauding Muslims).

In fact, the issue is that the chess games played between USSR and USA created a situation which allowed the flourishing and nurturing of this ideology. This is a major issue, especially since I do believe that prior to the uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and Hizbullah in Lebanon, they might have had a chance to grow into something. But your argument is probably that this would never have been a real choice anyway and it would have been derailed.

I was not attempting to humanize Islamist fundamentalism. I truly believe that there is a great cultural divide that is pretty much un-breachable, a true clash of civilizations. If you read my other posts on this forum, you will note my position..

My point was that there might have been a moment in time when the west had a chance to influence the peoples of these countries but they missed it. Instead, they have been swept up into a fevered embrace of religious radicalism, ironically using it to topple their oppressive leaders. We in the west look on in horror and amazement at the anarchy based on sharia that is unfolding in the ME. I don't think that many are still optimistic about 'arab spring

By the way, since reading through the lists of terror incidents put out by the State Dept, going back to 2004, I was astounded to note that consistently the highest, by a wide margin, terror attacks have been not in Iraq, or even Pakistan, but in India, It is a travesty that this fact is not more widely publicized. India is the true victim of radical Islam and no one is talking about it. (ok, well besides in Sudan, Somalia and other countries that aren't even on the radar).The suffering that India has endured at the hands of Islamists is a subject that upsets me no end.


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