Is Saudi Arabia Next?


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The Gulf countries, to some extent, initiated quick reforms to avoid the domino effect of the Arab Spring.

Reminiscent of the Age of Metternich in Europe, when serious efforts to revolutionize the continent were being suppressed.

Revolution often has little idea of the future, but this weakness is exploited by existing orders to maintain the “status quo”. The divisions between revolutionaries, usually ideologically, lead to fragmentation. Sometimes, revolutions become themselves suppressive, as with far left or far right ideologies in Europe, the Far East and Latin America.

Ironically, the Arab Spring affected only the nations with little economic influence in the region. If the Arab World has a list of grievances, it would be safe to assume that economic misery is atop the list, along with cultural and political factors. Involvement by foreign countries further complicates the dynamic.

How could the Arab Spring miss the Gulf countries? Why did it not sweep Lebanon? Why were the results overturned quickly in Egypt?

All of these are important questions. Many of the leaders that were overthrown in the Arab World over the last two decades, including Saddam, Gaddafi, Mubarak and Morsi deserved their fate, perhaps. But two forces plague the Middle East – robust capitalism in the Gulf and authoritarianism and sectarianism in the Levant and North Africa. This dynamic of persistent monarchism and militarized statism have together, produced disaster. But how can such polarized forces, like the two aforementioned, which are ideologically diametrically opposed, share the feature of tyranny? This forces analysis to focus on external factors.

The most crucial piece of the Arab political puzzle is the Gulf region, because economically, it preserves the economic capacity necessary for sustaining and developing the entire Middle East. Patronage and nepotism have disenfranchised the average person from the political and thus, economic processes. Religious and family bonds infiltrate policy, and result in corruption and economic misery.

The Gulf is aptly supported by America. Israel too.

Is it possible that both economic, social and political development are lagging then not only as a result of Arab tyranny, but the American involvement which secures it?

Placing the blame on external forces is an easy and common trend, particularly in the Middle East where a factual history of foreign conspiracies confirmed societal paranoias towards the US and Europe.

Both the conflicts in Iraq and Syria were US-led initiatives, really. But genuine reform in the Middle East cannot take place without reform in the crux of the puzzle – the Gulf. If violent insurgencies persist, will they eventually realize their greatest obstacle is not the enemy of the US, Assad and Iran, but rather, the enemy of the Arab World, which is the greediness which permeates the Gulf?

DAWUD


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Had an interesting conversation with a dear friend of mine on the issue of the debate between religion and science, atheism and theism. 

While I sought to avoid all the useless rhetoric which leads to no answers – I sought to reconcile what I believe to be two perceptions that are not all quite that different. What I have noticed as a common denominator amongst so-called atheists is a disdain more-so for the morose attributes of religion rather than the philosophy and intellectualism behind it. In reality, even in today’s modern world, religion is a tool for control, power and crime (as expressed through politics), which does nothing to improve the image of the philosophy behind theology in the first place. 

Social liberalism grew largely out of the resistance movements against monarchism, despotism, authoritarianism, and socio-economic control. Since most of these ‘tyrants’ in history were in fact justifying their actions through religious dogma, it only makes sense that individuals would be repulsed by the idea altogether. But just as there have been religiously dogmatic tyrants, there have also been irreligiously dogmatic tyrants. And in the midst of it all, we’ve even had tyrants who could not make the decision for themselves, such as Hitler, who in one angle portrays himself as a God-fearing messiah, and in other, an anti-judaic anti-christ. Stalin and Lenin worked to disenfranchise religion entirely from the socio-political scene. 

Ultimately, each individual ought to be free – atheist or not. In the end it seems to me what matters are the virtues of life that are carried in philosophy altogether. Religious fanatics will claim you cannot be good without obedience to organized religion; atheists claim you can be ABSOLUTELY moral without the help of God. Both seem quite extreme. I sympathize with the atheist however, because religious dogma is terrifying. Yet, I do believe that without God, man falls prey to hubris, which eventually leads to power-grabbing, and an obstruction of human liberty and dignity. 

Ultimately, I must say I am devoted to the Abrahamic God – and I believe all truth and beauty resonates from Him. The wonders of philosophy, morality, existentialism, and secularism as well – all of these resonate from that wonderful truth which is perfection – the Lord of the worlds. No, I do not traditionally welcome the Christian anthropomorphic version of God, and I do reject the evangelical and fundamentalistic zionist interpretation of God – seeing both of these as equally dogmatic and detrimental to individual liberty, dignity, and truth. 

I am a muslim and a jew. I believe in the message of Allah. I do so philosophically, however not ‘religiously’. I submit to God – not to one man’s devious understanding of God. 

 

References:

http://www.salon.com/2013/02/23/10_celebs_you_didnt_know_were_atheists_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

My Mel Brooks Statement


Not enough time while uttering socialist hymns,

Approaching the wind, brushing, warming his skin,

Always wondering why society is so controlling,

Too busy desert storming, forming methods of hoarding,

From playing hard to get to destroying ancient artifacts,

Time is a double-edged sword to my solid axe,

Warriors in a colosseum, praying for a carpe diem,

Caesar to give a thumbs down soon as his partners seem him

Pretorian guard, plotting a coup,

Even the king’s brother was part of the crew,

Judas of the army trading his arm for a shoe,

Compartment filled with arson till the parliament blew,

Wearing Guy Fawkes masks incase they follow your tracks.

A Free Affaire


What is ‘want’, but a never ending torment of what we cannot have? Oh, I die inside, for what I wish to have. A war on the inside,  a war on the outside, that is want. It is the things I want. The magic. The freedom. The innovation. Yet, this specter of nihilism and religious fundamentalism creep upon me. That, and the ‘traditions’ of the world. Hate to sound this way, I am a den-man, but I love society too. I need success. I need to breathe it. I smell it. It is in the air but I need it now.

What is ‘GOOD’ for the M.E.?


What is GOOD for the Middle East? Think about it. Let me know what you think.

Crushing Liberalism in the Middle East: Foreign Intervention, Religious Fanaticism, and Freedom


 

The Middle East is lacking strong, secular, liberal leadership. Everything is extreme. Its either nun or libertine.

Where have all the liberal forces gone?

Let us not forget that they exist, although most religious and fundamentalistic forces would not mind if we did, and that they are currently facing extinction in the Middle East. This is mostly visible in Syria, in what seems to be another attempt by global forces to support unknown and possible extremist entities overthrow a secular dictatorship. It is also visible in Egypt, where Morsi and his supporters continue their Islamic campaign, and in Turkey too.

Since 1979, the country of Iran has been held hostage by the world, forcing it to be an artificial clerical theocratic democracy with no real ability to redistribute wealth due to its isolation.

In fact most of the Middle East is unable to redistribute wealth in the region democratically and in a fashion that protects western-like values such as individualism and natural rights. This is mainly due to the collective forces of religious fundamentalism and ideological fanaticism and their entanglements with foreign schemers.

Liberal forces brought Hafez al-Assad to power in Syria in the latter half of the twentieth century. I would argue that part of this was possible because of a collective Syrian identification with secular and diverse culture.

This culture of Alawites, Christians, and mainly Sunni muslims would become the subject of a rather subversive government for forty years, however, during this reign, the country remained stable, religious fundamentalism was squashed, religious minorities were protected and the economy developed. However these liberal forces were only allowed to go so far, as is usually the case in the Middle East and, arguably, the whole world.

The Middle East, and especially Syria, considering its geopolitical relativity, is in my opinion unable to take full strides towards liberalism as the West has been able to. I attribute this not only to mere differences in culture — namely the conservatism and religious significance of the Middle East — but moreso to the political landscape: on both ends of the world lie two self-interested great powers, the U.S. & China; just neighboring it are what appear to be modern Western satellites, or extensions of power and influence in the region, namely Israel, Saudi, the rest of the Gulf, Iraq (or whatever is left of it that is still under Western influence), and Turkey.

All these countries have one thing in common: very powerful religious forces which, if played right, can fall right into the traps of Western governments who easily use them to coordinate colonial plots.

How the hell are social liberal forces and economically liberal forces — which are not mutually exclusive in my opinion — going to exist in the Middle East — how is true happiness, freedom and social justice — these liberal values — going to prevail in a part of the world dominated by religious extremism and a constant foreign agitator?

How can democracy, individualism and the pursuit of happiness be implemented in a Middle East rampant with such ideological mayhem and economic disparity?

One begins to think that certain forces in the West, mainly corporations like oil companies, and the military industrial complex, are together working to influence their own democratic governments, like ours in America, to vote in favor or blindly support foreign initiatives such as invasions or supplying armed militants/terrorists.

There are individuals in this world who don’t care. They cooperate in order to reap the benefits of global wealth, such as oil and gas. Their enemy? Freedom.

So why have the liberal forces of the Arab world been crushed? It is because of foreign intervention and their little pawns. Foreigners will have the world believe otherwise, but of course, only those who wish to be their slaves.

youth in asia


My pride is rising,

Perhaps that is a bad thing,

Sometimes it’s a good thing,

in this life.

When I wake up for a cigarette,

Make music they pay for,

Love for, cry for,

I’ll be delighted then.

Remember Michigan?

Cold air and grey buildings,

misty breathe and my hotel by the mall,

the largest mall I’d ever been?

One day I’ll have a million stories,

I can tell you all again.

My imagination, I wish I let it spin.

My heart, I wish I let it sin.

My eyes, what do they see but air?

All this while that I’ve been in despair,

Will I grow the courage to leave,

My old self behind or at least that part of me?