“Betrayal always follows a successful revolution.” (Robert Fisk)
In the West (don’t know about the East) there is an overarching sense of optimism about the Arab Spring.
We’ve got to be realistic: Since Islam is the cultural ground of being in all the countries undergoing the political transformations called “the Arab Spring” it’s unrealistic to expect that these countries including Tunisia which is the most Europeanised of the lot, will metamorphose into a Western type of democracy, overnight.
I was in Egypt for a couple of months, immediately after the Persian Gulf War till just before the Madrid Conference kicked off, kept the company of diverse Egyptians, Salafists, Islamists, theatre people, students, teachers, got the impression that nobody was anxious to repeat the1973 war which utterly ruined Egypt’s economy; but emotionally Muslim or Copt, none of them is going to join the IDF, in fact an Egyptian psychiatrist, secular, Westernised, knew all about Frantz Fanon etc, took me into his confidence when the discussion turned to Israel (inevitably) and foaming at the mouth he told me “Aki, I would like to eat Shamir’s liver!” It’s like it’s in the blood – and ” blood’s thicker than mud”
That was in Alexandria and during the days of Pharaoh Humpty-Dumpty’s police state. It was a lot worse in Cairo. More serious at Cairo University where Barack Obama kick-started the Arab Spring with his June 4 oration, the only exception being the American University in Cairo where I asked one of the ladies who was dolled up as if she was going to a Hollywood ball, if they had done the noon prayer and she told me that they didn’t pray at the American University and those who wanted to pray should go to the mosque – on the other side of the road…
Today, the Islamic parties have garnered 65% of the vote. Egypt may have its own load of troubles crying for attention, but when they hear the name “Israel” they are all one, it’s as if the Yahud is their main problem in life…..
We are hopeful that Islamic Democracy will be the basis of Freedom, respect for Human Rights, and fulfilling the needs of all the nations of the Arab Spring. But it’s doubtful that the religion of Islam which in my opinion is the basis of their aggression, will go away any time soon…..