Sakset/Fra hofta

Thomas L. Friedman har på sedvanlig vis en treffende kommentar til Benghazigate:

One of the iron laws of Middle East politics for the last half-century has been that extremists go all the way and moderates tend to just go away.

Derfor var det oppsiktvekkende at libyere samlet seg til demonstrasjon mot og storming av militsen Ansar al-Sharia som stormet det amerikanske konsultatet i Benghazi 11. september. Kanskje det innevarsler noe nytt? Mye står på spill for befolkningen i Midtøsten: skal et nytt diktatur klyve til makten på ryggen av folkelige protester? Mye tyder på at folk vil måtte mobilisere og kjempe for å unngå en slik utvikling. Har de  institusjoner og tradisjoner som gjør det mulig for dem å vinne en slik kamp?

Friedman siterer noen skribenter oversatt av MEMRI som påpeker noe av den samme kognitive dissonas som mange i Vesten er blitt klar over: at man feks. blir så krenket over å bli fremstilt som voldelig at man truer med å slå budbringeren ihjel. At feks. den norske kirkes representanter er forført av den samme dissonas og begynner å reprodusere den, sier noe om at kampen for demokrati Egypt blir sammenfiltret med kampen for demokrati i et land som Norge.

On Monday, the Middle East Media Research Institute, or Memri, which tracks the Arab/Muslim press, translated a searing critique written by Imad al-Din Hussein, a columnist for Al Shorouk, Cairo’s best daily newspaper: “We curse the West day and night, and criticize its [moral] disintegration and shamelessness, while relying on it for everything. … We import, mostly from the West, cars, trains, planes … refrigerators, and washing machines. … We are a nation that contributes nothing to human civilization in the current era. … We have become a burden on [other] nations. … Had we truly implemented the essence of the directives of Islam and all [other] religions, we would have been at the forefront of the nations. The world will respect us when we return to being people who take part in human civilization, instead of [being] parasites who are spread out over the map of the advanced world, feeding off its production and later attacking it from morning until night. … The West is not an oasis of idealism. It also contains exploitation in many areas. But at least it is not sunk in delusions, trivialities and external appearances, as we are. … Therefore, supporting Islam and the prophet of the Muslims should be done through work, production, values, and culture, not by storming embassies and murdering diplomats.”

En jordansk kommentator påpeker at det vi ser ikke oppstår av intet, det er resultat av en lang prosess av religiøs fanatisme sammenblandet med politikk:

Khaled al-Hroub, a professor at Cambridge University, writing in Jordan’s Al Dustour newspaper on Sept. 17, translated by Memri, argued that the most “frightening aspect of what we see today in the streets of Arab and Islamic cities is the disaster of extremism that is flooding our societies and cultures, as well as our behavior. … This [represents] a total atrophy of thought among wide sectors [of society], as a result of the culture of religious zealotry that was imposed on people for over 50 years, and which brought forth what we witness” today.

Friedman har en god definisjon på hvordan man kan måle fremskritt i den arabiske verden:

Whenever I was asked during the Iraq war, “How will you know when we’ve won?” I gave the same answer: When Salman Rushdie can give a lecture in Baghdad; when there is real freedom of speech in the heart of the Arab Muslim world. There is no question that we need a respectful dialogue between Islam and the West, but, even more, we need a respectful dialogue between Muslims and Muslims. What matters is not what Arab Muslim political parties and groupings tell us they stand for. What matters is what they tell themselves, in their own languages, about what they stand for and what excesses they will not tolerate.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/opinion/friedman-backlash-to-the-backlash.html?ref=thomaslfriedman