COLUMN: Mansur – West needs to step away from Arab-Muslim world

- February 25th, 2012

West should let Arab-Muslim world be

by Salim Mansur

Arab despots are doomed, to be overthrown and hanged or shot, as were Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi.

They have had their moment on history’s stage and, almost without exception, they have been deserving of utmost contempt.

Their exit does not, however, mean an end to some variation of authoritarian rule that will remain tyrannical for non-Muslim minorities, women, dissidents and others deemed unfit to be part of the intimidated Muslim majority.

Authoritarian rule in the name of Islam is the legacy of Arab-Muslim history. There is a tradition from the early centuries of Islam which decrees a day of strife is worse than

60 years of tyranny.

The religious authorities in Muslim countries armed with this spurious tradition are ever ready to sanction tyranny and repress freedom. Hence, among Arabs and Muslims, the worst of tyrants are frequently men in religious garb, preaching their bigotry from the sanctity of mosques and legitimizing their cruelty in Allah’s name. This is what occurred in Iran in 1979 when Iranian nationalists, supported by religious authorities, painted the Shah of Iran as a monster supported by the U.S. and drove him out.

If the Shah had been as much of a monster as he was made out to be by his opponents, he would have acted as the Chinese communists did in 1989 when they set tanks against students rallying for freedom in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Four months after Iraq was liberated in April 2003, a visitor from Iran, Seyyed Hussein Khomeini, arrived in Shiite Islam’s holy city of Najaf.

The younger Khomeini was Ayatollah Khomeini’s grandson. In Iraq, he talked about the monstrosity of Iran’s religious rule bequeathed by his grandfather. Hussein Khomeini warned Iraqis against following Iran’s example, and he told them how Iranians fervently longed for freedom.

“If it comes from inside,” Hussein Khomeini announced, “they will welcome it, but if it was necessary for it to come from abroad, especially from the United States, people will accept it. I as an Iranian would accept it.”

In my column last week, I observed that freedom as a “foreigner’s gift” breeds resentment and ingratitude. The shoe thrown at George W. Bush in Baghdad by an Iraqi journalist was very revealing about Arab and Muslim temperament. The worst display of Arab sickness, however, was the extent to which Iraqis descended into the barbarity of sectarian violence after freedom was brought to them, instead of seizing upon the opportunity to build a prosperous society. Egyptians have gone forward — not surprisingly after overthrowing a dictator — in overwhelming numbers to vote for the sort of religious-based authoritarian rule from which Iranians wish to escape. Syrians predictably will follow Egyptians when they have their turn after Bashar al-Assad is overthrown.

The West needs to understand the present tumult in the Arab-Muslim world is part of an immensely complex historical convulsion. Only after Muslims have drunk in full measure from the poisoned tumbler of Islamism will they eventually learn with sufficient humility what freedom means and democracy requires. Since the West cannot fast-forward history for Muslims, it should decide with wisdom and prudence to leave the Arab-Muslim world to find its own path towards a decent future.

Categories: Contributor Columns

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2 comments

  1. Victor J says:

    Every Politician in Ottawa and especially Minister John Baird should be required to read this article at least 10 times! It has to be the best foriegn policy paper I’ve every seen on the Middle East!
    The West has lost too many lives attempting to bring that part of the world out of the 9th Century and into the 21st only to have its face slapped by ungrateful Isamic fundalmentalist turning the newly freed country into a Sahera state that exposes open hatered and hostility toward the “decadent infidels”. They don’t yet deserve our support or sacrifices!

  2. Larry Bennett says:

    Salim, I think you may be right, even knowing that the president of Syria is killing his own people, even while an election of sorts is going on. The thing to remember though is that Christians in Syria are protected from violence much like the Copts used to be in Egypt, before the “Arab Spring”!
    Is Assad a son of a bitch? You bet, but “… c’est un fils de pute, mais c’est notre fils de pute!”. Hows that for being bilingual?

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