Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Arab Fantasies

Via: Buj al Arab

A young Arab man goes to a western country to acquire an education. Of the infinite array of moral wisdom he can choose from to take back home, what does he bring? A few "hip" American colloquialisms, kinky sexual fantasies and vulgar, Der Stürmer-type sensibilities.

When you go into certain English-written Arab blogs, it is impossible to miss or misread the kinds of knowledge and sentiment that inform their positions, who they choose to admire, whom they quote.

One always wonders about this resistance to knowledge one encounters, again and again, when attempting to converse with Arab posters. It's as if getting to know and understand what good arguments and irrefutable facts are will somehow debase their Arabness. It's as if to be an Arab means to reject history books, researches, philosophical truisms, cool headed deliberation and bona fide attitudes. It's as if to be an Arab means an obligation to deny the Holocaust, and to demonize Jews.

Where does it come from?

"What is wrong with Arab societies? Why are they unable to install democratic governments? These are the questions addressed by the British journalist Brian Whitaker in his book "What's Really Wrong with the Middle East". His answer (available in English), according to the reviewer James M. Dorsey, is that not only the governments but also the societies themselves are repressive. "To describe this phenomenon, Whitaker draws on Palestinian-American historian Hisham Sharabi's theory of neo-patriarichism. In a controversial book published in the 1980s that is still banned in many Arab countries, Sharabi says Arab society is built around the 'dominance of the father (patriarch), the centre around which the national as well as the natural family are organized. Thus between ruler and ruled, between father and child, there exist only vertical relations: in both settings the paternal will is absolute will, mediated in both the society and the family by a forced consensus based on ritual and coercion.' That is to say, Arab regimes have franchised repression so that society, the oppressed, participates in their repression and denial of rights. The regime is in effect the father of all fathers at the top of the pyramid."


For those who are not well versed in the history of the world,
Der Stürmer was "a weekly Nazinewspaper published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to the end of World War II in 1945... It was a significant part of the Nazi propaganda machinery and was vehemently anti-Semitic... the tabloid-style Der Stürmer often ran obscene materials such as anti-Semitic caricatures and propaganda-like accusations of blood libel, pornography, anti-Catholic, anti-capitalist and anti-"reactionary" propaganda too, in order to appeal to a larger public of readers, especially among the lower class." (wiki)

There should no mistake that what animates these kind of "criticism" has nothing to do with Palestinian suffering, such as it is, or Gaza blockade or whatever policies Israel enacts in its efforts to provide protect to its own citizens against Palestinian terrorism. It is quite possible to disagree with these policies without resorting to Holocaust analogies and antisemitic language. Still, too many Arabs are simply incapable of dealing with realities, facts, common sense, sound arguments, when it comes to Jews or Israel.

Here is an example of what passes for "criticism" of Israel:

Oh, i wanna see CC comment here.. I really wanna see what Zionists have to say.. and at least I can defend my unfounded reputation that I delete all comments I disagree with :)

DJ... Zionists are very sensitive creatures.. we should take care of them.. we should devise a final solution that satisfies all hehe

Matthias Küntzel has researched and written extensively about Arab-muslim and Nazi collaboration:

Anti-Semitism based on the notion of a Jewish world conspiracy is not rooted in Islamic tradition but, rather, in European ideological models. The decisive transfer of this ideology to the Muslim world took place between 1937 and 1945 under the impact of Nazi propaganda. Important to this process were the Arabic-language service broadcast by the German shortwave transmitter in Zeesen between 1939 and 1945, and the role of Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was the first to translate European anti-Semitism into an Islamic context. Although Islamism is an independent, anti-Semitic, antimodern mass movement, its main early promoters - the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Mufti and the Qassamites in Palestine - were supported financially and ideologically by agencies of the German National Socialist government.

In my opinion, resisting knowledge is a symptom of the fear of change. As Brian Whitaker says, it is an 'Arab malaise' -- the repressive reflexes of Arab regimes which have been internalized and are repeated at virtually every layer of society. Political repression is not just a feature of the lack of movement and choice liberty. It is an effective instrument that puts manacles over the minds of people to stop them from ever wondering, questioning, scrutinizing themselves.


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