The Arab Spring brought Egyptians new freedoms: kidnapping and robbing American tourists, the arrest of 43 NGO workers, including 19 Americans, senseless killings, endless riots and chaos, burning of churches and the killing and kidnapping of Christians.
Arrests of Westerners and accusing some of espionage and stirring up the riots and attacking and accusing Christians of working with the enemies of Islam, is nothing new and is almost always politically motivated. Focusing on the outside non-Muslim world rather than focusing on urgent internal matters and taking responsibility for previous failures has always been the norm in almost all Muslim countries, especially Egypt. With a straight face, an Egyptian MP recently commented on the Egyptian soccer riots that resulted in the killing of over 75 people and injuring hundreds, by saying “This anarchy is caused by America, Israel and the former regime.”
Blaming Israel and America has reached pathological levels and Western media keeps ignoring it thinking it will go away. Blaming the outside world has always managed to work in confusing the public, deflecting their anger against the system and placing the blame on the outside evil infidel world and the treasonous non-Muslim minorities. Arab obsession with the blame game is deeply rooted in a religion that is obsessed with jihad and conquering the outside world. 62% of the Koran focuses on the infidels and not on conquering the hearts of Muslims to peace and loving one’s neighbor.
Even though Mohammed Tantawi, leader of the Egyptian transitional government, was thought of as a friend of America, his friendship must quickly evaporate in a culture where showing any friendship or loyalty to the West can be a life or death situation. The West must always be put in its infidel dhimmi place, Western interests must be challenged and a good dose of humiliation of Western leaders every now and then will certainly increase the popularity of any Islamic regime. I always believed that tyranny in Muslim countries often originates from the bottom up.
Pushing the buttons of the Westerners and rubbing their noses in the ground, insulting and slandering them and spreading outright lies, throwing shoes at them, arresting Westerners, and accusing every tourist of being a CIA agent has become the normal political tactic for internal political gains. Ahmadinejad’s popularity in Egypt skyrocketed after he insulted America and its leader in NY and in the UN. While the West is trying to rescue third world nations, the Islamic third world wants to use every opportunity to denigrate and destroy them. The bitterness, anger, envy and resentment is filling the heart of the Muslim world and it stands in the way of any hope for reform within Islam.
Most of the Arabic commentary on the one-year anniversary of the Egyptian revolution has focused on its accomplishments of destruction of the Mubarak regime, destroying the gas pipelines with Israel, and hardly any constructive and humble rhetoric. And now, almost all Egyptians running for office are defying the West and calling on the repeal or re-evaluation of the peace treaty with Israel. That is what Egyptians traditionally like to hear and that is what they get and no one sees or challenges such dysfunctional dynamics.
The 2011 revolution follows in the same footsteps of previous revolutions. In the 52-revolution, Nasser’s popularity skyrocketed when he defied and ridiculed the West, disregarded many international obligations and arrested and expelled the Jews. The unifying theme that always guarantees bringing Egyptians together is to make the destruction of Israel the number one objective of the state.
The most important lesson the Arab Spring should teach us in the West, is that regardless who is in power leaders in Muslim countries are not free to befriend the West or be their allies, those who do so will be removed from office as traitors and Tantawi fully understands that. So far, the revolutions succeeded in taking out only the pro-Western regimes and no Spring in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Even Ghaddafy could not have been taken out without Western intervention.
Egyptian pride has reached a pathological levels where they would rather defy the West and attack Israel rather than engage in peaceful co-existence and concentrate on their internal affairs. They want to cut off Western noses to spite their faces and they are succeeding. What the naive West needs to learn is that third world countries are not as innocent as many in the West want them to be.
Nonie Darwish is author of new book, The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East.
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