The Arab Spring: Legit or Not?


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The question of whether or not the Arab Spring is a legitimate movement against corruption and tyranny requires addressing the following assumptions regarding the culture of the Middle East as well as the nature of democracy as a political philosophy; and the credibility of global power like the US, Europe, Russia & China in policing the world and/or crusading for democracy.

Obviously we cannot throw all uprisings in the Middle East into one category because each country is different culturally and circumstantially. The main scene of protest in the Middle East in what would be called the Arab Spring includes Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria & Bahrain. It wasn’t much before the Arab Spring when the Lebanese people orchestrated a one-million man protest in Beirut which would eventually force the Syrian government to withdraw completely.

Protests also erupted in neighboring countries of influence and significance, namely Iran & Turkey.

Some might argue the Arab spring inspired movements in Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba & Ukraine where extreme forces are already threatening to take grip — amidst uncertainty and the vulnerable state of a country during a transitional phase of government.

As I stated before each of these countries is different. The type of reforms necessary, the culture of the people, the grievances of the people. They are not all the same. What was common among all participants of the Arab Spring was a sense of discontent with the social, political and economic conditions of the Arab people. But what exactly is the cause of the misery of the Arab people? Is it the tyranny of their own governments, or the tyranny of global powers?

Take a look at Syria for example, where the government has been ruled by a close-knit group of Assad-sympathizers. 75% of the Syrian population is Sunni, which has remained largely unrepresented in the political and economic aspects of Syrian life. The Alawites, a minority religious sect of Shiite Islam, have been largely in control of the political process in Syria, operating from the stronghold of Damascus. Despite disparaties between the elite rich and the impoverished lower classes, largely Sunni, the majority of Syrians were content with their state of affairs. The irony is that it was the Alawites who were disenfranchised from Syrian society before the coup which ushered in the presidency of Hafez al-Assad in 1970. The Alawites were regarded as heretics and second class citizens. It was Assad’s rise to prominence which elevated their social status, seen by many Syrians as their way of avenging their history of oppression. The Correction Movement, initiated by the Assad government, aimed to socialize the Syrian economy and redistribute wealth more fairly so as to guarantee universal prosperity. The outcome? While major advancements were made on a national level in terms of infrastructure and self-sustenance, the economy was largely controlled by the Assad government. How was this different from the Sultan-esque elitist economic model that ruled Syria prior to Assad’s Corrective Movement? Similar efforts were attempted in the realm of Socialism in Egypt and Libya for example, by Gamal Abd Nasser & Muammar al-Gaddafi, respectively. All three of this historic figures were regarded as threats to global hegemonies and the tradition of capitalism which had been the foundation of the international political system for centuries. None of their socialist policies brought openness and prosperity to the economy except for those in power, essentially just fortifying the system of stagnation in place before.

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Assumption: democracy is the universal road to justice; democracy is compatible with Arab & Muslim society; democracy is a guaranteer of social equality; that the global police actually exhibit democracy.

Has there ever been a democracy? Is the US a real democracy? The French Revolution was hijacked too. Instead of ushering in what was supposed to be individual rights we went from tyranny of the pride to tyranny of the revenge. The American Revolution ushered in the first real modern attempt at democracy to ensure the rights of individuals socially, economically and politically. But how could the US be a democracy if it for 200 years deprived all African-Americans of basic, necessary human rights? Today immigrants, gays, muslims, arabs, atheists, jews and still African-Americans, are the subject of unequal treatment.

Even in the far east, in Russia for example, the public attempt to collective reform Russian society was another revolution hijacked by yet another pseudo-science: Communism. Communism merely strengthened the hold of elitism by placing control in the hands of a political party and cult of personality versus a family or royal name as had been before.

Thanks to movements by honorable leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. the US has made great strides towards a more democratic society; however the 21st century has revealed that 200 years of human rights abuses have consequences that are still to be seen. I am referring to the corruption of the justice and prison systems as well as police brutality and disparaging inequalities in income. The 21st century also ushered in the Arab Spring. In the case of Tunisia, I would say the movement succeeded. In the case of Egypt, Libya & Syria, it is not the same. Syria has become the battleground for the war against fundamentalism as well as a proxy war against Israeli expansionism. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism as well as failure on the international community to realize the human rights of the Arab World, most importantly Palestine, contributed to the hijacking of what was supposed to be an Arab Spring towards democracy.

But who is to blame? Assad of Syria? Sisi of Egypt? Gaddafi of Libya? The US? The West? Russia & China? Religious fanaticism? Israeli expansionism? Colonialism?

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I am sure all of these forces contributed. But as stated before each country is different. In Syria, the people are not as upset with their government as they are with the international community’s silence of the crimes of colonial entities such as Israel. Perhaps this is why Assad has yet to dissolve his government; perhaps his claim that the Syrian people remain united has some validity. It is true, that neither Syria, Libya nor Egypt have progressed towards democracy economically, politically or socially…but to place the blame entirely on Arab leaders is misguided. Furthermore, it is a way of stereotyping…typecasting all Arab national grievances as similar in motive. The West was keen on insisting that Assad leave early on in the conflict. The tone has changed.

Perhaps the Arab Spring did not die. Perhaps the Arab Spring is still alive; but, despite what the media might suggest; that the revolution has in fact another target — not our own Arab leaders — but the dismantling of the expansionist, colonialist apartheid regime of Israel, which has occupied Palestine and destabilized the Middle East for a half-century now, spurring the rise of terrorism and instability in the region.

As pro-Western Arab allies like the King of Jordan and the new Saudi King Salman scurry to improve their reputations; other Arab nations are more keen are continuing the initiative that was begun by the earliest of Arab independence movements that unfolded in the mid-twentieth century against the colonial powers of France and the UK.

Democracy is certainly the end goal of all nations. But the irony which surrounded America’s non democratic history forces us to realize the possibility (and likely reality) that the Arabs are victims of non-democratic tyranny, largely supported and facilitated by Western governments, in the interests of none other than the apartheid regime of Israel, the supposed only ‘democracy in the Middle East’. How can an apartheid government, a theocracy, serve as a role model for democracy? How can a country which tortures men women and children, razes homes, propagates religious extremism and exclusivity, encourages conformity, suppress individuality and human rights, be considered a beacon of democracy?

The real Arab Spring is a continuation of the more genuine revolutionary initiative of the earlier Arab independence movements of the twentieth century. We cannot allow our dignity and revolutionary spirit to be easily hijacked by extremists and elitists. Let us remember who the occupying and oppressive power really is, and the techniques of mainstream media outlets in distorting reality and history.

The miserable conditions of Arab States cannot be addressed or solved until the cause is exposed and removed. Let us not compromise our dignity, loyalty, community and humility for the sake of the instant gratification of temporary and illusory solutions.

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Why America is un-American: Trials of a Middle Eastern Immigrant


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They say robust capitalism is the greatest system in our world because it maximizes the benefits of all men in any given society.

This perspective is especially true of the American narrative we are ‘indoctrinated’ into through our public and private institutions.

As an immigrant to this country, I must say, however I am profoundly disappointed.

I came to this country at the age of 6, leaving my homeland, the Middle East.

Both of my parents are Syrian, born and raised in Damascus all of their lives.

I am a proud Syrian.

Deep down, I also want to say that I am a proud Syrian-American, but this country has caused me some pain. Bigotry has caused not only me but much of the world its miseries.

Global misery stems from one over-arching concept: we are all currently suffering from American fascist ideology; unfettered exceptionalism. Manifested, it is in actuality state-capitalism.

Just like China & Russia, the supposed crown-jewels of communism, America uses its ideology as a method of coercion, manipulating capitalism into a dangerous form of Christian-Fascism, in which citizens/constituents are subjugated to a pseudo-democratic system of law that ignores history, statistic & common humanity.

While deep down, I do have much love for this country, or at least, the philosophy for which it attempted to stand, it is without a doubt that a certain religious fascism has crept in, with roots deeply embedded in christian evangelism and zionism. It has left vast communities disenfranchised, ostracized and socio-economically deprived.

I came to this country as an immigrant – and this country made sure to hang that label as an emblem of my un-americaness over my head until my demise.

Obama is trying to fight for immigrants, but the fight is against the same aforementioned ideology embraced by so many Americans: bigotry.

I was forced out of my job nearly a year ago, which left me struggling to make sense of my socio-economic situation. I worked for four years with my last employer before losing the position due to pressure from Republicans to discourage immigration reform and immigration altogether.

But what Republicans don’t understand is that it is precisely the policies of Republicanism which have been implemented on and off by various American officials throughout our short history that have impoverished and completely desecrated other nations and communities. This can be exhibited at one of the peaks of America’s imperial series’ – in South America. Aiding rebels in Nicaragua and overthrowing democratically elected leaders in Chile – how does America not expect an influx of immigrants to the world’s most spiritually and economically promising nations?

How did America become so promising? And why is the rest of the world not?

Generally speaking, in the 21st century, when we refer to prosperous countries, if it isn’t America we mention it is any one of the leading european powers, such as the UK, France & Germany.

America, the crown-jewel of modern christian evangelism, would have you believe in a linear history which places the breakthrough of western democracy in the 18th century as the standard model of global justice.

The ensuing years would prove that the democratic revolutions of other nations would soon be under attack by the vary nation that is supposed to be the ideals’ founding progenitor.

In 1952, Iran’s democratically elected leader, Prime Minister Mossadegh, was overthrown in a covert CIA mission because his policies we deemed a threat to ‘global security’ and the ‘western model for global justice’ and in other words, ‘western capitalism’ (Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men).

But the reality is that the west, as exhibited by their behavior, does not embody the capitalism is touts. Once competitors begin exposing Christian Fascism – they are immediately disenfranchised. Mossadegh of Iran was among those casualties.

America still thinks it is the unbridled hero of the 20th century for bringing an end to state-communism, but the reality is there is a monster hiding in the backyard of America’s philosophical stronghold – Christian Fascism. As the USSR raped the world with collectivist propaganda under the umbrella of communism, the USA put a pill in the drinks of all vulnerable nations under the banner of being the holy arbiters of earth and the rightfully chosen wielders of power and governance.

One man who quickly learned of the USA’s treachery to genuine human rights was a man who himself was conflicted about the definition of human rights himself – Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, originally an ally of the US, was propped up against the USSR under the banner of Wahhabist Islam and the fight against the political atheism of the east. He soon learned that once the specter of communism was defeated, he would have another enemy – his own friend: the U.S.A. Osama bin Laden may have thought he was fighting for freedom, but he was indeed carrying out the agenda of Christian Fascism – the anti-freedom, imperialist agenda of the West – to stifle communism and other threats to their power. Perhaps it was Osama’s own twisted conception of what constituted a just society that made him vulnerable to American cunning and deception. His foolishness and immoral intent threw him right into the hands of Western deviousness.

The iconoclasts of christian fascism are your Rush Limbaughs, Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks, Sean Hannitys, George Bushs, Dick Cheneys, Donald Rumsfields, Benjamin Netanyahu, etc.

Their greatest allies are their purported enemies: Osama bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood, Communism. These are their tools for constant hegemony . The tactic is to constantly generate new enemies and threats that require retaliation and response, thereby justifying foreign escapades and the usurping of foreign resources, aka colonialism/imperialism.

It is this very system that initiated the trans-atlantic slave trade, which has repercussions not only felt today but even unknown. African-Americans suffered the most due to the institutionalization of christian fascism, manifested through segregation and racism. Today, we see the repercussions on a daily basis every time a clearly culpable white police officer shoots and kills an innocent black male. We see it in the way the media portrays the African-American culture, the way in which bias is propagated in order to protect the problems in our institutions.

As an immigrant who is still struggling to obtain ‘normal’ access to America’s abundance, I must say I am very disappointed with the way it has gone. I still support Obama’s initiative, but let it be known that the underlying problem is much much greater. America’s demons are coming back to haunt it every day, as reminder of the crimes it has committed against other nations throughout history.

Will things change? Perhaps. Perhaps not entirely; perhaps not perfectly; perhaps not at all. There is much at stake – one particular issue at stake being the potential humiliation of western christian fascist culture which has had this country in its grip for some time now.

It all starts with knowledge.

Keep in mind, the motive of all action is belief (ethic/religion), which forms ideology, which then manifests itself as a political ideology. If that is understood, it can also be understood that the source of the problem is that an un-ethical belief has a tight grip on America. Once Americans embrace a universal ethical system, the unjust facets of the law may lose ground.

Nationalism in the Middle East: Iran, Syria, and the West


In the days of President Harry Truman, relations between the United States and the Middle East weren’t so sour.

In 1952, everything changed.

The United Kingdom was planning to depose the newly democratically elected prime minister of Iran: Prime Minister Mossadegh. He is the man seated in the photograph above.

Mossadegh had quickly become the archenemy of the UK.

Tensions worsened when he began making calls for the nationalization of Iranian oil.  For so long, foreign nations, or colonialists, as they were called, had been exploiting the Iran’s vast oil wealth, leaving the majority of the population extremely impoverished (All the Shah’s Men, Kinzer).

Through the sly tactics of English government officials,  the United Kingdom convinced the Americans to tag along. The key word was communism, which was all the Americans needed to hear.

After the Cold War however, it became increasingly clear that communism was not the threat. It was a much deeper issue.

For centuries, the West exploited countries for their resources. Nations like Iran, Syria, and countries outside the Middle East like Venezuela and Cuba, did not embrace communism simply to spite the West. On the contrary, they were doing the exact opposite. Iranians and Syrians alike began making the same demands that their American counterparts made in their early history – that they be granted the right to collect the fruits of their labor and to profit off the wealth of their natural resources. Both of these demands are fundamental principles of free market economics.

Ironically though, the U.K., with the help of the U.S., did what ever they could to prevent these countries from doing just that. They did this by conducting covert coup d’etats and assassinations. They financed monarchies and even bribed foreigners to stir uprisings in their own countries (All the Shah’s Men, Kinzer).

What is even more ironic is that the countries stirring these uprisings, namely the U.K. and the U.S., tout Western principles of freedom and democracy, while, simultaneously, investing in movements led by Islamic fundamentalists and tyrannical monarchies abroad.

In Iran, for example, one Islamic cleric turned against the popularly elected leader Prime Minister Mossadegh. A day later he received $10,000 from the CIA.

Incidents like these are scattered throughout the twentieth century. They only serve to illuminate the truth behind the politics of the Middle East. Even more so, they force me to question the current chaos gripping the Middle East today.

I ask myself questions like, who is behind these Arab protests? Are they really genuine? And why are countries like Saudi Arabia not being scrutinized for their brutal suppression of pro-democracy protests in Bahrain?

Perhaps it is for the same reason that the U.K. orchestrated the coup d’etat against Prime Minister Mossadegh in 1952 – to preserve their grasp on the oil wealth of the Middle East.