Tuesday, March 01, 2011

How To Excuse Tens of Millions

For decades, Arabs have identified with, supported, fought for and acted with unspeakable hostility and hate on behalf of their leaders.

But Fouad Ajami finds a way to excuse all that as if it wasn't their fault and that they had no or little responsibility for participating in all the horrors:

Over the decades, Arabs took the dictators’ bait, chanted their names and believed their promises. They averted their gazes from the great crimes. Out of malice or bigotry, that old “Arab street” — farewell to it, once and for all — had nothing to say about the terror inflicted...Average men and women made their accommodation with things, retreating into the privacy of their homes. In the public space, there was now the cult of the rulers...The traditional restraints on power had been swept away, and no new social contract between ruler and ruled had emerged...Fear was now the glue of politics, and in the more prosperous states (the ones with oil income) the ruler’s purse did its share in the consolidation of state terror. A huge Arab prison had been constructed, and a once-proud people had been reduced to submission. The prisoners hated their wardens and feared the guards, and on the surface of things, the autocracies were there to stay.

This is much too facile, too simplistic, too forgiving of the "regular people".


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