The spotlight on Middle East regimes in transition has left Tunisia and Egypt behind for the most part and zeroed in on Libya. I believe that it is worthwhile however to examine one of the early images of the revolt against the rule of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
The fact that it was a complex amalgam of forces that joined together in the streets of Tunis was brought home to me in a photo (above) in the January 25, 2011 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The photo showed two presumably exhausted young demonstrators perched on a wall. One had a Tunisian flag over his shoulders and the other had a banner that featured the famous likeness of Che Guevara in a beret.
The image of the Latin American communist revolutionary seemed out of place in starkly Islamic Tunisia. The decidedly post-nationalist Che contrasted with the national flag of a North African country deserves comment. What possible direct influence could Che have had on Tunisia?
But like so much in the Middle East, there is so much more to the story.
The use of Marxist iconography during these demonstrations is at least as important to closely examine as the anti-Zionist images that have been employed. All of this symbolism is used to demonstrate what these protesters hate and those things that they seek to stir the hearts of the masses: the hatred of the Jews and the rejection of the capitalist model (i.e. the U.S.) and the regimes that America supports. What is not reveled is the unseen hand of the Islamist.
It is most useful to recall the devious use of these elements during the Iranian revolution. Iran is behind much of what is now going on now. Perhaps in the long run to Ahmadinejad’s own peril the ongoing insurrection throughout the Middle East should be traced back to Tehran. Let’s recall that Khomeini’s revolution was aided by the Soviet Union.
The communist revolutionary Left has sought to support Arab terrorists and extremists for half a century. The goal of Moscow was to create a permanent instability in the Middle East that they could engineer to their geopolitical advantage. Arafat and the PLO were at the core of the Kremlin strategy.
Yasser Arafat based his PLO in Tunisia for well over a decade and was brought back in to prominence by the Bush/Clinton-era State Department during the Oslo years. In 1994 when Arafat entered Gaza, the PLO was headquartered in Tunis.
Beyond being a dedicated Muslim, Arafat was a consistent supporter of repressive, anti-American, communist regimes. It should be recalled that Arafat notoriously praised Beijing’s bloody response to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
According to the Xinhua News Agency (June 27) Arafat wrote to General Secretary Jiang Zemin:
“On behalf of the Arab Palestinian people, their leadership and myself, I express the warmest, most sincere congratulations to you, dear comrade, on your appointment to general secretary of the Communist Party of China, and take this opportunity to express extreme gratification that you were able to restore normal order after the recent incidents in People’s China.”
Where did Arafat’s close relationship with the communists originate?
In 1964, when the Fatah was in its infancy, Arafat and Abu Jihad traveled to Beijing for meetings there to earn support for their “armed struggle.” In 1965 Abu Jihad was introduced to Che while Guevara was in Algeria during the celebrations there after the revolution.
The anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism of the Marxists has spread to the non-Communist far left in the decades since. This has mirrored the rise in popularity of Che (and his image) from just a martyr of the Marxists to a symbol of an extremely large portion of the left.
The Marxist/Islamist Unholy Alliance indoctrinated millions through a study diet of anti-West and anti-Israel propaganda for half a century.
The demands for freedom and elections (and even democracy) should not be followed by expectations that there will be demands for a closer relationship with the West in general or with the U.S. in particular let alone seen as a sign of any tolerance for Israel.