Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekend Reading -- August 10

Quite a number [of worshipers at a Cairo mosque] were convinced that Morsi's unseating was a Western conspiracy, yet they were keen for me to communicate their message to the West.

What was behind this? Part of the reason is simple pragmatism and real politick. Despite U.S. pro-democracy rhetoric, it is generally accepted round these parts, and often true, that few leaders last long -- or can be reinstated -- without Washington's approval. That explains why the Muslim Brotherhood has sought to reassure and even court the U.S. and its Western allies.

Another factor is the relatively sympathetic hearing the Muslim Brotherhood has received in the European and American media, especially the more progressive and liberal segments. This is a far cry from the anti-Morsi hostility, even demonization, pervading Egyptian society, though there are some segments of the independent media trying to give Morsi and the Brotherhood the fair hearing the Islamist media denied secularists.

Some might see a contradiction in how people who believe in freedom and equality, especially for women and minorities, are now throwing their weight behind a man and movement who have spared few efforts to promote inequality, especially for women and minorities.

What is behind this paradoxical Western liberal-Egyptian Islamist union? After much reflection, analysis and debate, I have come up with a number of explanations. In some segments of the mainstream media, especially those closely aligned to government, there is also a question of pragmatism, and "protecting U.S. interests" involved returning Morsi to power, since Washington tends to prefer "stability" over principle.

[Go to the link. This is a good reflection.]

In the past year, three wealthy and well-read individuals have separately sounded me out on the same idea — that of having a museum or memorial to the victims of the Partition of India. In each case, the example or model invoked was that of the Holocaust. The Jews who perished in Nazi deathcamps, said my interlocutors, have their memorials in Israel, Europe, and North America. The existence of these multiple memorials to the Holocaust, they went on, is a standing rebuke to the inability of south Asians to honour the memory of those who perished during Partition.

That the same proposal independently surfaced three times may not be a coincidence. India now has a class of men and women who have become rich through their own intelligence and entrepreneurial skills. None of the individuals who spoke to me inherited his or her wealth from fathers (or mothers). These were also widely travelled men — in one case, a widely travelled woman— educated in the West and with strong personal and professional connections to the United States of America in particular. There the memory of the Jewish tragedy is ever present, spoken of, written about, filmed, and remembered in museums which act as a warning not to repeat those horrific crimes again. Why then, these well-meaning, public-spirited, rich Indians ask, do we not similarly memorialize the sufferings of our own people?

CAIRO (AP) — An al-Qaida-linked group active in the Sinai Peninsula said Saturday that its fighters were the target of a reported Israeli drone strike into Egyptian territory, a rare operation that could indicate increased Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation against militants in the lawless border zone.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, in a statement posted on a militant website, said that a drone that crossed into Egyptian airspace killed four fighters as they were preparing a cross-border rocket strike into Israel. It said the dead were from Egyptian Sinai tribes and that the rocket squad's leader escaped.

Egyptian security officials, speaking anonymously on Friday, said that a drone firing from the Israeli side of the border had killed five suspected militants.

Think about it. 
AQ complains that Egyptians and Jews are ganging up on them.
And it appears that is exactly what seems to be happening. 
Fifty years ago, Frantz Fanon passed away leaving us with his last testimony, The Wretched of the Earth.

Written in the crucible of the Algerian war of independence and the early years of Third World decolonization, this book achieved an almost biblical status. It became a living source of inspiration for those who opposed the Vietnam War, marched with the civil rights movement, supported revolutionary black struggles in America, the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa and countless insurgent movements around the world.

Fanon’s life had led him far away from the island of Martinique in the Caribbean where he was born a French citizen. He took part at the age of nineteen in the war against Nazism only to discover that in the eyes of France he was nothing but a “Negro”, that is, anything but a man like any other man.

[...]   Fanon was... scornful of nationalization which he saw not as a genuine mechanism to build a national economy but as a scandalous, speedy and pitiless form of enrichment.

He warned against the descent of the urban unemployed masses into lumpen-violence. As soon as the struggle is over, he argued, they start a fight against non-national Africans. From nationalism they pass to chauvinism, negrophobia and finally to racism. They are quick to insist that foreign Africans go home to their country. They burn their shops, wreck their street stalls and spill their blood on the city’s pavements and in the shantytowns.

Surveying the postcolony, Fanon could only see a coming nightmare – an indigenous ruling class luxuriating in the delicious depravities of the Western bourgeoisie, addicted to rest and relaxation in pleasure resorts, casinos and beaches, spending large sums on display, on cars, watches, shoes and foreign labels.

In his post-liberation nightmare, he could distinctly see stupidity parading as leadership, patriarchy turning women into wives, vulgarity going hand in hand with the corruption of the mind and of the flesh, all in the midst of hilarity and demobilization.

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