When will the cheerleaders of the Arab Spring acknowledge the darkness it has ushered in?
The Arab Spring, like the banking system and the national debt, has become too big to fail. The “too big to fail” label mandates the cover-up of a bad policy that has too many influential people, movements and countries tied into it to allow anyone to admit that the whole thing has gone pear-shaped.
The only way to deny the failure of the Arab Spring as a means for creating a better and freer region is by embracing its disastrous consequences. In other words, goodbye, Egyptian Twitter activists; hello, Muslim Brotherhood.
The triumph of Islamic parties in Egypt and Tunisia leaves Western “Springers" with only two choices: to either admit that the whole thing is a disaster and that the brakes need to be applied or learn to love the Brotherhood. Senator McCain’s delegation to Egypt, which included Senator Lindsay Graham, praised the Brotherhood for its opposition to the laws that the International Republican Institute activists ran afoul of in aiding the overthrow of Mubarak.
It’s not quite an endorsement of the Brotherhood, it’s something worse—it’s an endorsement of the process that brought the Brotherhood to power. The Muslim Brotherhood is not a supporter of foreign funded regime change, unless it’s a foreign funded regime change that brings them to power. When the Brotherhood is wielding absolute power, then IRI activists won’t merely be prevented from leaving the country, they’ll be put on trial and face the death penalty, like Amir Mirzaei Hekmati in Iran or they’ll be attacked in public like Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, a splinter Brotherhood candidate.
Reasonable people who find themselves on the same side as a genocidal organization like the Muslim Brotherhood would check twice to see if they really are doing the right thing. McCain, however, keeps pushing the regime change button, this time in Syria where the militias are already brandishing Al-Qaeda flags. McCain rightly points out that losing Syria would weaken Iran, but gaining Syria would strengthen the Brotherhood.
The "Springers" are unwilling to admit the possibility even while the Al-Nahda party is crushing unions in Tunisia, and Egyptian Islamists are burning Coptic Christians out of their homes. The Libyan capital is in the grip of the militias, and the anti-torture McCain, who endorsed intervention in Libya, can stop by to witness the militias he supported torturing former members of the regime and anyone with black skin.
There has yet to be a single positive outcome in any of the Arab Spring countries where the government was overthrown. Egypt is now mortgaged to the Brotherhood, Tunisia, to its Al-Nahda cousins and Libya may fall to a former Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist-group-turned Brotherhood proxy. Yemen is starting to look a whole lot like Afghanistan. Contrary to "Springer" dogma, the healthiest countries in the region are those which managed to outlast the seasonal pressures of the Arab Spring.
If the Arab Spring were an experiment, it has indisputably failed. The Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov said of Communism that if it were an experiment, he would regret subjecting even a frog to it. The Arab Spring has already subjected approximately 100 million people to this particular experiment, not counting the collateral damage in nearby countries like Israel, which will have to live next door to a Sunni Iran. But the experimenters seem determined to keep cutting open frogs until they successfully graft an Islamic green-banded poison toad onto a democratic fire-bellied bullfrog.
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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