The Arab Spring, 2012

An Afghan man with mental health problems shields his face from the camera as he is chained to a wall of a room at the Mia Ali Baba shrine, in line with a traditional belief that spending 40 days chained in isolation at the shrine can cure the illness, in Jalalabad July 9, 2012. Afghanistan is struggling to fight the mental health problems that afflict some of the population after decades of violence, according to Abdul Rasool, an official from the health department of Jalalabad province. REUTERS/Parwiz

Parliament members talk during a session at the parliament building in Cairo, July 10, 2012. REUTERS-Stringer

22 thoughts on “The Arab Spring, 2012

  1. I saw somewhere that they wanted to blow up the Pyramids because they are pagan. One wonders what the Egyptian antiquites department would think of that.

  2. Maybe I am as self absorbed as the rest of north america, but what framework could we expect a culture who’s dominant religion is Islam to choose except for the one spelled out by it’s dominant religious leaders?

    I can’t help but feel any attempt to base a democracy on only the Quran and supplemental documents, is likely to fail as miserably as allowing circus-tent evangelists to gain control of north american democracy would.

    The loss in Mali is truly tragic, there is likely a human toll being exacted as well. We can only hope it doesn’t become a popular trend.

    Scholars have been attempting to get the same message out regarding the history being lost in Iraq and other areas in the middle east for many years. Hopefully this opens a broader dialogue on the issue. That may be the only possible good that could come of it.

    • It’s not like I have any answers, but I would submit that democracy has the potential to become self-correcting and functional over time. Let’s not forget that even American democracy did not originally include anything but white, landed men. Democracy has to grow up. People have to learn how to work it. The great thing is, that it’s a system that allows for self-correction.

      • Agreed, Ken. But it’s practically the entire Western tradition that allows for self correction. At this time, the same cannot be said of the Islamic tradition.

      • Let’s not forget the violence that occurred during these periods of self-correction. Western culture has been as willing as any other to commit violent acts over minor deviations from the status quo.

  3. The chickens come home to roost!
    It is easy to forget, that Islamic fundamentalism exist thank to us Americans, who encouraged Islamic religious zealots with money and weapons to fight the emergent socialist, and secular movements in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and almost everywhere else on the Muslim world and choose to put puppet regimes who fed up their people so much that they looked at this fundamentalist, as a response to the corruption, and despotism of this puppet regimes!

    This is not a religious conflict, again this is not a religious problem, it is a POLITICAL problem, with all the sequels, and symptoms of economic inequality, and the grab for power of local money grabbers in collusion with international plutocrats, and Banks the same who committed fraud on a global scale, and our government had the nerve to give our tax payer money with the feeble excuse they were ‘too big to fail’, and that owning our media fed us garbage, and misinformation in order to advance their secret agendas making the people in America blind to the real problems we face. And by the way here in America we do not have a democracy, we have a two party system who is in bed with the 1% and do not give a damn about the 99%

    • It may very well be both a political and religious problem. As we’ve seen, it’s not hard for the garbage to rise to the top for either of them. Perhaps we’re to blame for some of the problems, but Islam has to take some of the responsibility upon itself.

  4. Very little to do with Islam, and a lot with economical injustice, oil profits, Geopolitical strategical games, by Western powers, and our media who like to focus on fringe groups on the Arab world to justify our policies of meddling, an outright intervention in their affairs, in order to satisfy our need to be of help to our Muslim neighbors who crave our style of democracy. Yeah, right! We want control of their resources, mainly oil, but also minerals, like Lithium in Afghanistan, etc.Therefor we need there governments, that cater to our insatiable thirst for oil, and goods on the cheap, and we will not rest until we get them, period.

    • Well, by your line of reasoning, the events at Timbuktu were caused by none other than the combined efforts of the CIA,NSA,DHS and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Islam simply cannot be blamed for any attrocity it ever does.

    • Of course it’s “complicated” but I’m not sure that radical Islam Mali style isn’t in some sense Islam’s problem before it is a problem of all the things the west has done to facilitate dysfunction in the Muslim world. Blaming the United States has been the logical successor to blaming Britain for every ill since the end of WWII when little England looked too weak and shabby to blame. This game only works to a certain point: Britain, France, and Portugal left a string of failed states in Africa after the war because they could no longer afford their colonies. America had no African colonies. In fact, has never been “that kind” of colonial power or exporter at all, except for a few Islands acquired by accident. Technically Mali was France’s after the “scramble for Africa” in the 19th century, but its history is now tied to the general failure of the Sudan. It is a messy, violent place. On 6 April, 2012, rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declared the secession of a new state, Azawad, from Mali. It is a mess, and at the centre of the mess is the great and royal Timbuktu. It is being destroyed not by western interests (Mali has almost no natural resources; it’s a fishing economy) but by men who think–for some reason–it has pagan shrines. Radical Islam has traditionally despised learning and has always therefore been opposed to the glorious tradition of Islamic science, medicine, art and theology that Timbuktu represent(ed). That is the tragedy, not the secret designs of the CIA. Muslims are beginning to speak out, some in outrage–but no one will intervene because the general feeling in the world community, even in the UN, is that culture is cheap. Remember the destruction of the Buddha statues in 2000?

      • And that is all I was trying to say, but it didn’t come out quite the right way and for that there is no one to blame but meself.

        No one can question that Islam has made contributions to civilization; the events in Timbuktu, however, add nothing to what can be called civilization and everything to radical Islams current lust for barbarism.

  5. Colonialism by Europeans, and Imperialism by America have the same consequences, regardless of the style, as a permanent colonies, or invaders for a couple of years, here is a list of the invasions since 1890 to other countries by America:

    http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/interventions.html

    I didn’t care to count them the list is too long, but you get the idea, the term Banana republic should be change now to Oil Islamic nations, tell you what, you guys come with a new name, if you care to do so. Islam has it’s problems, but no different than Christianity or any other Religion, and should not be blamed as a monolithic entity, it is just like America, diverse, however I got my doubts about the Tennessee Valley Authority!

    “When Democrats after 1945 proclaimed the Tennessee Valley Authority as a model for third world countries to follow, conservative critics charged it was a top-heavy, centralized, technocratic venture that displaced locals and did so in insensitive ways. Thus, when the program was used as the basis for modernization programs in various parts of the third world during the Cold War such as in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, its failure brought a backlash of cynicism toward modernization programs that has persisted.”:)) laughing

    • burning,

      What is being said is the the events at Timbuktu and the Pyramids have very little, if anything, to do with American colonialism. Any right minded person with any sense of history understands that the U.S has and is still undertaking colonial adventures; moreover one also understands that our history as a nation contains some rather sordid, disgusting elements(our overwhelming presence in the Middle East being one of them).

      The Tennesse Valley Authority comment was meant to be taken in jest, sorry you missed that.

      If you want some real facts about what the U.S has done you need look no further than Johnathan Perkins” “Confessions Of An Economic Hitman”

      • Why don’t we start by agreeing that the United States, as everyone in France and most of Britain knows, is a very horrible, imperialist, greedy country. That is one topic. Second topic: what to do about Timbuktu.

  6. Come on Scott, of course I got it, that is why added the laughing symbol at the end. My point is that if you look for something bad, even the Tennessee Valley Authority a noble enterprise no doubt, had his critics, no different than Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. If we look in to the light at something we can always fix our eyes at the shadow, rather than the light.

    As to what about Timbuktu, a synonym for the farthest place on Earth? They do not have anything we may want there, therefore except for a show of indignation in scholarly, and artistic circles, I am afraid very little will be done about it. Salafist and Whahhabis do not care for relics, that can lead to idolatry, and methodically destroy them like in Meca, and Medina, during the last fifty years every place were Prophet Muhammad lived has been destroyed. “In 2007, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Azeez ibn Abdullaah Aal ash Shaikh , stated that “the green dome shall be demolished and the three graves flattened in the Prophet’s Masjid”
    With such literal interpretation of Islam very likely they will end destroying anything they can get their hands on.

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