The following two pieces bear sharing in their entirety. They make the current situation in Egypt quite clear and so I find myself at a loss for words to describe the disappointment and even the despair with which I have been viewing the Obamanable Adminstration’s push to reward Islamic jihadists at the cost of what will surely be a great many innocent lives.
Salim’s article has also put into perspective something I’ve been trying to get my head around for a while now. The family who runs a local smoke shop here are Catholic immigrants from Iraq, naturalized American citizens who cherish the foundations of this beloved country and one evening the youngest sister and I were loosely discussing politics and terrorism. She shared with me some of the horrors of the first-hand accounts they had received about the attack last October on Our Lady of Salvation Chaldean Catholic cathedral in Baghdad and then said something that, at the time, I thought a bit odd. That despite the evils that accompanied his dictatorship, the one thing Saddam Hussein had done right was to keep religious peace in Iraq and Catholics, like their family, had always felt safe and free to worship. After his removal, this protection ceased and so it is that so many Christians have fled the country; literally fleeing for their lives.
I’m certainly no fan of dictators but when, as Salim points out below, “there is an absence of a culture that embraces and supports individual freedom” then until such a culture develops one must choose between the lesser of two evils. And it is abundantly clear that the Muslim Brotherhood has never been and is not now the lesser. With its ties to violence from the start – from embracing Sharia law to underground work with the Nazis and implication in the assassination of Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi, the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Gamal Abdel Nasser and the assassination of President Anwar El Sadat with numerous untold murders in between – its original credo that “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations” makes the claim that members should use non-violent means to achieve its ends merely sheep’s clothing.
It is abundantly clear the Obamanable Administration has an inordinate fondness for sheep. Such fondness now puts all of us in peril.
So now, the articles.
By SALIM MANSUR, QMI Agency
Last Updated: February 5, 2011 2:00am
History lessons are useful, and when events are in flux it is the past that can shed light on what the future might hold.
Autocracies, as I have indicated in recent columns, have shelf life. But there are caveats in any generalization, and the shelf life of any particular autocracy could get extended beyond its expiry date.
The current crisis in Egypt erupted with surprising speed for President Hosni Mubarak. The public demonstrations demanding an end to his 30-year rule has undermined him and very likely, as he has himself indicated, will end his presidency.
But the Egyptian state over which Mubarak has presided since Oct. 6, 1981 — the terrible day when President Anwar Sadat was gunned down by soldiers with links to the terrorist offsprings of the Muslim Brotherhood — remains more or less intact.
Mubarak’s Egypt, in the language of political science, fits the description of the authoritarian-bureaucratic state in which military officers and civilian technocrats hold the commanding heights of the economy and security.
Mubarak, as president, is only the third public face of an Egypt that emerged out of the military coup of July 1952, which overthrew the monarchy established in 1805.
The man behind the coup was Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser, and on his demise in 1970, succeeded by Sadat, followed by Mubarak on Sadat’s death.
Egypt is the Arab world’s largest Sunni Muslim state and, hence, a balancing power since 1979 to Shiite Iran’s regional ambitions. Al-Azhar, the mosque-university in Cairo, is also Sunni Islam’s highly respected centre of religious authority.
The internal foe of the Egyptian state is the Muslim Brotherhood. A political movement founded in 1928 by Hasan al-Banna, the Brotherhood has sought to merge its jihad-based ideology with mainstream Sunni belief expounded by Al-Azhar.
Since Nasser’s crackdown on the Brotherhood and execution of some leaders, such as Sayyid Qutb, the movement has worked hard to adapt to changing circumstances even as it consolidated its relationship with and financial support from Saudi rulers.
What remains unchanged is the Brotherhood’s goal of establishing a Sunni theocracy, and support for its affiliates in the region, such as Hamas in Gaza, towards achieving similar end. In the long history of Egypt, and in the Arab world, there is an absence of a culture that embraces and supports individual freedom. Arab politics has no example of an individual such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or Vaclav Havel with unquestionable credentials of a democrat and a liberal providing leadership for a democratic alternative.
It is also ironic that the traditional doctrine of Sunni Islam taught in Al-Azhar gives preference to order — even when order is despotic as it has been in Muslim history — over anarchy.
The misfortune of Egyptians is to be squeezed between the military’s iron fist and the Brotherhood’s ideology. In such circumstances, it is a delusion to expect democracy to sprout unattended in the desert of Arab autocracy without self-sacrificing leaders to prepare the grounds.
Egypt survived the immense ignominy of defeat in the June 1967 war with Israel and Sadat’s murder. It will likely ride the present crisis, and this is not to be decried when the alternative is Muslim Brotherhood acquiring power.
Salim Mansur sent me the link to his latest column about Egypt. It is excellent, but what struck me even more was the note he sent me with it. I asked his permission to publish it, which he kindly granted me.
Below is my column from today on Egypt. Since I do not have an opportunity to write in public more than one column per week, I am limited to what I can say. Extremely distressed by the crew in Washington, and in most European capitals. Media is so corrupted by left-leaning thinking that there is not much of an analysis to be expected in the media that is now competing with facebook, twitters, etc. The dumbing down of thinking is itself a huge problem the West is facing now as it tries pathetically to undertstand/explain politics and history of other cultures when it no longer has faith in its own civilizational values. I despair, and so I follow Samuel Pepys who confined himself to his diaries while London burned and I am trying to devote my time to reading and writing of my own (that of course I might not be able to publish, and even if published few will read).
I am more convinced now, as I wasn’t when Paul Kennedy wrote about the rise and fall of great powers, that the West has gone over the tipping point in its terminal decline. That intelligent people, or people who claim to be intelligent, (I have in mind the talking heads in the U.S. media such as Chris Matthews or Fareed Zakaria) cannot make the difference between the sham of the Muslim Brotherhood talking about freedom and democracy and the generic thirst in man to be free. These are the people who have like the Bourbons learned nothing and forgotten nothing. They are glibly about to put the Lenins of our time into trains heading for Moscows of our time, they find nothing odd that they are pushing for the Muslim Brotherhood to be taken into governing when everything needs to be done to keep the Muslim Brotherhood out even as one carefully negotiate the long historic transition of Arab societies from tribal autorcracy and military dictatorships to representative rule and constitutionally limited government. I read you when I can, and I wish that you and others like you were closer to the main media control in the West, or in government.
Take care, and God bless.
For what it’s worth, my response:
We’ve entered into advanced insanity now. It’s casually noted by the endlessly babbling talking heads that yes, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership has said it would tear up the peace treaty with Israel, but really, worrying about that just shows that all one cares about is Israel. Does it occur to no one that in an Israeli-Egyptian war (my God, just typing that is so horrible), it is not just Jews who would die? And that indeed, the very logic of the anti-Israeli propaganda so often advanced — that casualties in such violence fall disproportionately upon Israel’s adversaries — suggest what this would mean for the very Egyptian people these nitwits claim to care about so deeply?
I do Muay Thai as a hobby, and my gym is full of young Turkish boys of about draft age. Lovable kids, full of themselves and bravado and youth and life and good health. Muslims all, of course. Cheerfully accommodating the middle-aged Jewish American woman in their midst who unaccountably seems eager to do such an unlikely sport. It’s Egyptian boys of about the same age, all young and just as full of sweet puppyish life, who would be sent to fight a war that the Ikhwan is now loudly telling the world it craves. They would die in the tens of thousands before ever having a chance to go to school, fall in love, raise a family. Like young boys have always died in wars these wicked old fools somehow always survive. To point this out is now Ikwhanophobic, in the newly-coined term, and I did not imagine that a word could annoy me even more than “Islamophobic,” but I suppose life always has the capacity to surprise us.