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The future for women and minorities in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya is already about as grim as possible. The exodus of Coptic Christians in the wake of riots and church burnings would be described as ethnic cleansing if the media and the political establishment were not busy covering up the consequences of the “too big to fail” Arab Spring.
While Hillary Clinton was holding a photo op meeting with “young Tunisians” to discuss the future of democracy in the region, the Al-Nahda regime was suppressing a union protest over attacks on union offices. Had a protests of thousands taken place under the old Ben Ali government, it would have been front page news and proof positive that regime change must take place, but under Al-Nahda rule, it’s only another footnote. Like the 150,000 Copts who are headed for the exit in Egypt.
Last month, Tunisia’s new president Moncef Marzouk received a golden key to a mosque in Jerusalem from a Hamas leader. This month he shook hands with Hillary Clinton. She also met with Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali who had pledged, “The conquest of Jerusalem will set out from here, Allah willing” and described his party as the sixth caliphate. She did not, however, meet with Al-Nahda leader Rashid al-Ghannushi, who has stated that there are no civilians in Israel, declaring, “The population—males, females, and children—are the army reserve soldiers, and thus can be killed.”
As the Arab Spring is too big to fail, the Al-Nahda ghouls are invariably described as “moderate Islamists” in the press. If genocide makes you a moderate Islamist, it’s an open question of what you have to believe to be an “extremist Islamist.”
Some four centuries ago an Elizabethan courtier scathingly observed, “Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.” In the Arab Spring, extremism can never prosper, for if it prospers, none dare call it extremism.
The Brotherhood and Al-Nahda are all “moderates” now. Along with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Any group that comes to power as a result of the Arab Spring must be considered democratic and moderate, for if it isn’t, suddenly the Arab Spring is no longer democratic or moderate.
Continuing to support the Arab Spring requires more than just revisionist history, it forces its proponents to accept the victories of Al-Nahda and the Muslim Brotherhood as not merely lawful, but as the outcome that the Arab Spring was intended to bring about all along. Like the boy who accidentally throws a baseball through a neighbor’s window, the “Springers” have to pretend that this was what they wanted to happen.
The new narrative of the Arab Spring is that it will usher in an era of Islamic democracy. The window isn’t broken; it is ushering in a new era of greater transparency and airflow into the front yard.
At the end of Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith wins a victory over himself by learning to love Big Brother.
“Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache,” Smith thinks. But it has not taken the “Springers” that long to discover the kind smile lurking under the dark mustaches of the Brotherhood. In less than a year, the proponents of Arab democracy are already winning their own victory over themselves by learning to love Big Brotherhood.
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