Monday, February 28, 2011

Quotes of the day (two, from one excellent analytical article)

Arnold/Frimet Roth
This Ongoing War
27 February '11

The "liberal" son of the embattled Libyan tyrant Muammar al-Gaddafi

"...appeared on Libyan television to say that his father's gunmen would fight to the last bullet to keep the Gaddafi crime family in business, a promise he is keeping. The thinking behind so many who flattered him was that the only issue in the Middle East worth taking a stand on was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that the oppression of Arabs by Arabs was a minor concern."

This comes from a thoughtful op-ed by Nick Cohen in the Guardian: "Our absurd obsession with Israel is laid bare: The Middle East meant only Israel to many. Now the lives of millions of Arabs have been brought to Europe's attention"

Same article, second quote:

"The European Union, which did so much to export democracy and the rule of law to former communist dictatorships of eastern Europe, has played a miserable role in the Middle East. It pours in aid but never demands democratisation or restrictions on police powers in return. That will have to change if the promise of the past month is to be realised. If it is to help with democracy-building, Europe will need to remind itself as much as the recipients of its money that you can never build free societies on the racist conspiracy theories of the Nazis and the tsars. They are and always have been the tunes that tyrants sing.

The full Guardian article is here.

We're not so naive as to think the immoral pouring of vast resources into the maw of the Palestinian Arab kleptocracy is going to change just because it turns out that this is no way to build a democratic society that respects basic human values and human rights.

Nor is there any reason to think that those who watched over a period of decades what the Arab tyrants and other forces of repression in the Islamic world have wrought will do some soul searching and reach operative conclusions. The world and international relations have never worked that way.

At best, we're hoping that people who express strongly-held opinions about the events that shape our day to day life in this special region will possess the intellectual honesty and good sense to pause; to at least acknowledge that somewhere in among the torrent of images and reports and data pouring out of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Libya, Iran, Oman, Syria, Lebanon and the others in these past tumultuous weeks there are some kernels of insight and even truth that deserve some examination.

Then again, this is the Middle East.

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