Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Knowledge is power

Yesterday's "Million People Protest" in Tahreer square brought together many of Cairo's protestors. It also brought down the image peddled by the Regime and its supporters in the Arab World and in the West that the Egyptian Uprising was being diffused. The reality is very different: after a first round of negotiations that went generally nowhere, the picture is becoming clearer. A leadership is merging among the protestors, and it includes among others, representative of the youth as well as representatives of the ikhwan (the Muslim Brotherhood). The Ikhwan were kind of keen on negotiating with the regime, and I think this has made them lose a lot of credibility and they have now shifted gears and are moving with much more care in the negotiations minefield.

Meanwhile, I have had the opportunity in the past few days to read the French press, especially the liberal press that would like to be thought of as the Left but is in fact left behind. I refer for instance to "Le Monde" and "Liberation". I focused on the coverage of the Egyptian uprising and I found it to be revealing: exceptions aside, the liberals are basically not too happy with the turn of events. Their general position can be summarized as follows: "We are not sure we like this revolution and maybe we'd rather keep the oppressive regimes because Arabs cannot deal with democracy and any revolution is bound to end up as an Islamic regime." This position is made clear through some news reporting, but mostly through opinion pieces written by a flurry of those new age media-craving philosophers who are willing to use their skills to please the rich and powerful. Their guru is Bernard Henri Levy, fierce defender of freedom and zionist massacres (and one of Le Monde's ombudsmen). These are "philosophers" and "thinkers" who are willing to do anything to get maximum media coverage in order to achieve recognition for their simplistic ideas packaged into convoluted sentences.

Through their actions and their steadfastness our Egyptian comrades will make sure to send the right messages to the world, philosophers and common mortals alike. But I want to tell these opinion writers a couple of things too: Who the fuck do you think you are? Do you really think you can stand on your decaying world, which remains in place only because it is propped up by hundreds of ballistic nuclear missiles, and lecture people about emancipation? You have no clue how irrelevant you are, to your own society as well as to a world that we, in the periphery, are creating. You are scared of the Arab revolution precisely because you don't see islamic fundamentalism in it. You see a genie you cannot control through power or money, through force or finance. You are scared because, from the height of your pompousness, you know that you have reached levels of decadence you never even dared to imagine. And you know that you have lost your youth and your soul to the demons of the material while we carry the energy and the hope of the youth.

But we have a position on you: We do not like your regimes. We do not like how you have built your world on the pillage of our resources, and how you have used our fathers and forefathers as cheap labour to construct your towers and you factories and your roads. We do not like how you continue to impose your power and control over our world by propping dictatorships that only serve your interests and those of your multinationals. We do not think you can handle democracy. You talk about it and you keep changing its meaning. You buy it and sell it through media and advertising and fund raising diners and money laundering. You manipulate and lie and use deceit in order to keep a small class in control. We would support you if you were to have a revolution, but we don't think you're really up to it now, as the way things are going it may turn into a western fundamentalist regime. With the far right on the rise everywhere, we would hate to see it come to power and destroy your hypocritical liberal world. Because last time it did, you nearly wrote off the planet. Oh, and remember: we speak your language and you don't speak ours. We know you far better than you know us. And knowledge, as you know, is power.


Anonymous said...

very nice piece! Full of hope! Often I wish I knew about you when I was in AUB, I would have taken an elective with you! :)

Anonymous said...

one more thing dr, 'knowledge is power'
Well your blog is in their language, and so are most of my favorite middle eastern blogs, so they have the same knowledge as you.
So where do you go with this? Will you write in arabic from now on, since we got our newfound middle-eastern pride back?

Rami Zurayk said...

The point is that we know them better than they know us because we speak their language and they don't speak ours. This is our strength and we should retain it.

Yann said...

Choukran rouya!