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Tunisia, where the 2011 Arab uprisings began, remains an ominous model for where these uprisings will end.
The nation’s first round of elections are in, and, as expected, the Islamist party, al-Nahda, won by a landslide, gaining over 40% of the seats in the national constituent assembly. As usual, the mainstream media, interpreting events exclusively through a Western paradigm, portrayed this largely as a positive development.
Thus, a Washington Post editorial, “Tunisia again points the way for Arab democracy,” asserts how “the country’s leading Islamic party claimed victory—and that, too, could prove a positive example.” Other reports, perfunctorily prefixing the word “moderate” to “Islamist”—an oxymoron to common sense, an orthodoxy to the MSM—gush and hail “democracy.”
Such sunny depictions are not mere products of Western projection but augmented by conniving Islamists who spoon-feed the world what it wants to hear. Thus, an MSNBC report, “Tunisia’s Islamists Seek to Reassure Secularists,” optimistically talks of how the Islamists “said they would share power and would not try to push through radical measures.”
Of course they did.
Meanwhile, despite these fantasies, the mood among seculars on Tunisian ground is one of dread and urgency. Wael Elebrady, host of the popular show Al Haqiqa, speaking to a corresponded in Tunisia soon after al-Nahda’s “sweeping victory,” confirmed that the Islamists have immense grassroots support, that they will have a major say in the formulation of laws (Sharia), and that, if the Western MSM is eating up Islamist talk of “sharing power,” the apparently outnumbered “liberals and secularists” are not.
Some reflections: First, among Arabic speaking nations, Tunisia has long been recognized as an especially “Westernized” nation, secular and liberal—at least in comparison to other Arab countries, and not unlike traditional Lebanon.
Now, if Islamists have risen to power in onetime “moderate” Tunisia, through the usual conduits—grassroots support, lip-service to democracy, promises of “sharing power,” and a complacent West—is there any doubt that Islamists will also takeover in those nations where they are especially entrenched, like Egypt and Libya?
Ali Akbar Velayati, top advisor of Iran’s Supreme Leader, accurately predicts that “the result of the election in Tunisia will positively affect regional developments. We will observe the victory of Islamists in future elections in Egypt and Libya.”
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