Whenever I’ve been concerned, these past few weeks, about the future of Egypt, Libya, Tunis, and the other countries where the people (the People? which people? — Sorry, just a digression) have been revolting;
about why the revolters are chanting “Allah’u akbar”;
about what is true and what is not about Al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood standing in the shadows and controlling the whole thing;
about what would happen if this were actually the case;
about a host of questions along the same lines — I’ve quietly sat down and gone through the following simple facts:
1. Most or all major conflicts in the world since the WWII have been played out in areas with substantial oil resources.
2. “Democracy” — despite the almost religious ring the word has in the mouths of certain Western leaders — is not an obvious, natural system which guarantees the freedom, wellbeing, and empowerment of all citizens.
3. There is no reason to be surprised that some people (hm… there’s that “people” again. Wonder who’s hiding behind it this time. Sorry — digressing again.) may express suspicion, spite, distrust, hatred, anger towards the Western world and any of its symbols of faith, such as, e.g., “democracy”. But that does not mean that people wouldn’t want to govern themselves. As Richard Pithouse points out in the Pambazuka News:
The Europe of colonialism, slavery and genocide has no claim to moral leadership in this world. The Europe that backed the Mubarak dictatorship for thirty years and the Ben Ali dictatorship for twenty-three years has no claim to moral leadership in this world. […]
Any serious commitment to democracy has to reject the moral and political authority of Europe and the United States of America. […]
Anyone who says that anyone else isn’t yet ready for democracy is no democrat.
4. Oppression may benefit many others than the actual oppressor, and the end of oppression may be disadvantageous for many others than the fallen despot, and for many reasons. Apparently, both Al-Qaida and Israel are concerned about the current events.
When I’ve considered these four simple facts, … well, I can’t say that I’m not as concerned anymore. But I’m far less afraid of the islamists than of whatever the USA and the oil lobby may come up with in terms of safe-keeping measures to guarantee “democracy”, “universal (i.e. Western) values”, and, uh, the safe flow of oil.
As Pink Floyd put it: “Get your filthy hands off my desert”. In the current situation, that’s probably more a vain hope than something that can actually be a reality, but it’s my democratic right to hope, right?
(I’m still curious why they are chanting “allah’u akbar”, though…)
I found out. It’s equivalent to those American propaganda movies for militant Christian fundamentalism, where people — often portrayed in combat, fierce, desperate but unyielding — shout: “Oh my God!” or “Jesus Christ!” all the time. Platoon, Black Hawk Down, or whatever they’re all called.
In other words: it functions as a general exclamation, usually associated with joy or sorrow, or some other stressful situation — without any specific religious meaning, and definitely not as a sign of islamism.
So now I know. (Thanks, Amal. :)