How not to talk about the Arab Spring


By Orlando Radice
November 25, 2011
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Congratulations to Israeli news website Ynet for posting a shining example of the kind of bigoted thinking that keeps the Middle East in perpetual conflict.

In a series of dangerous conflations and groundless generalisations, the op-ed claims that ‘Arabs are in love with anarchy’ and ‘Egyptians failed to understand that Tahrir Square protests are not real democracy’. It goes on to blur the activities of suicide bombers, the Egyptian military and pro-democracy protesters, claiming that the rallies in Tahrir Square are 'sanctifying violence'.

What nonsense - and hypocrisy. What chance do Egyptian people have of ever winning some degree of freedom other than through aggressive demonstration against their long-time oppressors? When Israel fights to defend its existence, freedoms and democracy is it then 'sanctifying violence'? Are price-tagging settlers therefore the same as an IDF pilot taking out a Hizbollah missile silo?

But perhaps worse is the willingness to tell a group of people dying on the street for the kind of freedoms that exist in Israel that they ‘do not want democracy’. Believe it or not, there are even some on the Arab street who acknowledge that, having watched the Olmert and Katzav trials on Al Jazeera, the Zionist entity may just have something to offer the Middle East. Read about that here

Yes, there is the danger that Egypt will have fundamentalist Islamist government by next spring; yes there is an aggressive military junta shedding blood to maintain its privileges – but there is also a huge class of ordinary people who simply want democracy and greater freedom. Many are their putting their lives on the line to achieve such a system. To claim otherwise is not only insulting, it is deeply irresponsible.

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