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Sunday, 17 March 2013

A difference of opinion.


Huffington Post generates debate.

The Arab Spring

Yesterday, I posted a story under the heading of In Bahrain the protests continue. 

The entry was also posted in the "Huffington Post" comments section, and drew some replies. This is one which particularly caught my attention:

" posted by“katertaif”16 Mar 2013 at 11:35:22.

Unfortunately I believe there is a flaw in your analysis. Up until now, those who have come out on top in the countries that have experienced the "Arab Spring" tend to be radical Islamist, who are not friendly towards the West in any way.We have particularly seen how grateful Libya is to us, in spite of all the help and money they received. While words are inadequate to describe what is happening in Syria, we have to remember that the forces opposed to Assad, are themselves committing atrocities, and using children both as cannon fodder and as human shields.Also already persecuting Christian minorities which Assad did not. These are all Muslim dominated countries, and democracy has no part to play in Islam.They simply do not recognise it, it is as alien to them as cannibalism would be to us. So who do you side with? if anyone at all.
Whoever emerges victorious they will again be Islamist and anti West." 

This post I believe, demonstrates an attitude all too common in the west, and prompted me to respond with the following.

Having spent some considerable time in the Middle east, including Syria, it seems to me that there is a significant body of opinion in the west which is based not on experience or personal observation, but on the comments, reporting and often biased news coverage from the media, and from some western politicians with their own covert agendas. Generally, the collective "Arab" mistrust of the west is based firmly in the history of the region and the way in which peoples have been betrayed by the west for hundreds of years. First the Ottoman's then the Europeans have imposed rulers in these artificially created lands (have you ever wondered why there are so many straight line borders between the countries of the Middle east?) which have been installed not because they are wanted by their peoples, but because they are friendly and cooperative towards western governments. They also purchase vast quantities of "defence equipment" to maintain their positions and provide "bases" for the western nations to retain a foothold in the region.
When these artificial regimes are overthrown and replaced by administrations which may well be Islamist, but are sometimes secular, they are immediately condemned and isolated by the west for no better reason than that western influence and values have been rejected. Just because an administration is Islamist, it does not automatically follow that it is wrong or unpopular within its own borders. The west does not have the right to assume that if countries do not follow the "western model" they are automatically hostile. The hostility of many of the emergent administration is brought about by the duplicity of the west with previous administrations and their role in the "uprisings".

Perhaps my contribution may encourage  “katertaif” to look a little deeper into what is a very complex situation.