Since Middle East is not my first field of interest, I quote a paragraph from the first chapter of Bernard Lewis’ The Political Language of Islam, a collection of lessons held by Lewis (Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University), whose opinion I endorse fully:
When we in the Western world, nurtured in the Western tradition, use the words “Islam” and “Islamic”, we tend to make a natural error and assume that religion means the same for Muslims as it has meant in the Western world, even in medieval times; that is to say, a section or compartment of life reserved for certain matters, and separate, or at least separable, from other compartments of life designed to hold other matters. That is not so in the Islamic world. It was never so in the past, and the attempt in modern time to make it so may perhaps be seen, in the longer perspective of history, as an unnatural aberration which in Iran has ended and in some other Islamic countries may also be nearing its end.
Bernard Lewis, The Political Language of Islam, pg. University of Chicago Press, 1988, Chicago.
Link this with Hilary Clinton’s last speech on “the right side of history“:
“We urge those countries still buying Syrian oil and gas, those countries still sending Assad weapons, those countries whose political and economic support give him comfort in his brutality, to get on the right side of history.”
It is obvious that US Secretary of State lacks of basic knowledge on Islamic culture. Or simply she does not care at all about it. Apparently, looking back on history books, this is a “chronic illness” of every US Secretary of State…
Under this perspective, the Arab Spring represents US highest international politics success since 1975 CSCE negotiations. The United States, backed by the rest of Western countries, managed to drum laicism of state into a (revolting) portion of the umma.
I have the feeling that ignorance is leading this unrest, more then famine and true commitment to human rights. Ignorance on both sides: the backing-the-unrest Western countries, as well as from the rebels’ leaders.
However there is something that can be predict from now: Western commitments in terms of missiles and political support will be payed by those “rebelling” communities very soon. At that time, I am sure that other conflict among those who are rebelling now will take place.
Before that time, please enjoy last Ahmadinejad interview: this person does not lack of a wide knowledge of the (religious, philosophical, historical) roots of what we call Iran. No matter how brutal the Islamic rule can be, this man knows what he is talking about. I wish our politicians would be as well-read as Ahmadinejad.
I am aware that those arguments are worth of a more detailed analysis, which will be provided soon. In the meanwhile, feel free to write flaming comments to the busy, confused and ignorant writer of this blog.
But bear in mind that it is impossible to erase culture and values from people’s mind, no matter how harsh a conflict might be.