Monday, February 4, 2013
President Morsi and the Silence of the Press
An Israeli Arab journalists Facebook page removed because the message it delivers is one of a vibrant multi-ethnic and sometimes too-tolerant nation; the President of the worlds most numerous Arab nation pours out his personal hatred and religious bigotry on national television and the Western Press by and large ignores it; the world screams in outrage whenever Israel builds in disputed territory but says nothing when Arabs build in that same disputed territory. How can we reconcile these events to what is happening in our everyday life?
We could suggest that prejudice is hard wired by society into our consciousness and that without it, those with power would be exposed and answerable for their incompetent management of society – a conspiracy shared by those in power with those seeking to retain a status quo of bigotry. We might even suggest that our awareness of corruption does not force us to confront it until we are faced with the realisation that we have been permanently excluded from sharing its fruit (as fuelled the Arab Uprising in Egypt for instance). Or we could just say that it is all about oil.
It has never failed to surprise me just how desperate we are to find the spark of humanity in evil.
It is difficult to empathise or to try to imagine how a person of intelligence can be persuaded to endorse a dehumanising narrative. I understand that in the 21st Century an illusion of civilisation at its zenith creates an opportunity for the weak minded to opt out from personal choice. It has never been easy to think independently of what society dictates.
Universities are portrayed as agents of change, innovation and free thought but the evidence for this is almost completely absent. Galileo dismissed the idea that the earth was at the centre of the universe and spent the rest of his life under house-arrest. A much less imminent scholar, Edward Said substituted polemics as alternative to scholarship and was elevated to that Pantheon of Illuminati worshipped by the extreme left for their clarity of doctrinal eloquence (which, in turn is meant to silence all opposition and to damn to hell all those with whom they disagree). How different is the situation today to that of Nazi Germany? Hitler also used the universities to provide intellectual justification for genocide and he was backed up by the judiciary.
The issue is not about nuance and for most it is not about ideology. If someone pays you a wage then you have a winning formula, why change it? If your employer demands your soul as payment for putting food in your belly an argument can always be made for the earth being flat (as some Islamic scholars insist it is).
This brings me to Mohamed Morsi, the President of Egypt, Muslim fundamentalist racist and religious bigot.
If the Jewish State of Israel, with all its citizens of many faiths and nationalities is ever to enjoy a peaceful relationship with its neighbours it will only be realised when its neighbours are able to recognise its essential humanity and equality. Without the former the latter is unachievable. The issue of Palestine will never be resolved while the Arab / Muslim world believes that Israel is eternally the patrimony of an idealised Islamic caliphate born out of 7th Century conquest and ethnic cleansing and that therefore, non-Muslim rights are conditional and inferior to Muslim rights.
The unreconstructed fundamentalist and Foreign Minister of Turkey (Ahmet Davutoglu) on the 2nd of February 2013 egged on his neighbour, Syria, to go to war against Israel. President Morsi of Egypt has not done this. Nor has he (as far as we know it) encouraged the jihadis to attack Israel or Jewish targets overseas. But like his predecessors he has never forsaken the opportunity to belittle Israel, to reward purveyors of hate and to encourage Islamic and Left wing supporters of genocidal bigotry against Jews and Israel.
You begin the way you wish to continue. There is little, if any reason to believe that a person holding repugnant beliefs is going to magically transform themselves on attaining a position of exceptional power except perhaps in terms of their outward form. Dissimulation is the favoured weapon of fascism. The mendacity displayed by Morsi in justifying his recent comments was balanced, one assumes for his public, by the comments of his spokesman (who denied the veracity of the Shoah).
It is possible to transfigure a theologically hateful individual into a smiling bureaucrat but he does so for a Western audience that would prefer to salve their conscience for as long as is necessary for them to do so and not because he has ceased, mysteriously, to believe in what is an essential component of his religious make-up.
So he accused us of being apes and pigs, bloodsuckers and war-mongers. We might of course consider his hateful epithets in psychiatric terms as no more than mirroring and guilt projection. But what is said by a foul mouthed rabble-rousing bigot in the context of rallying the faithful into a frenzy when travelling a revolutionary path to power has a different significance once that power has been attained. Intoxication with words of hate, these are difficult for the demagogue to dispense with in their entirety.
So what are President Morsi’s excuses? Morsi says his words were “taken out of context.” “I am not against Jews who practice their religion” he proposed as a somewhat bizarre explanation for his 2010 diatribe against Jews and Zionists.
His hate filled remark (calling Jews "the descendants of apes and pigs”) was in fact made when as a senior official of the Muslim Brotherhood he could be expected to express his bigotry of anyone who was “not one of his kind” openly and often. Also from 2010 - the supreme leader urged his followers to “not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews and all those who support them.” Of course the Brotherhood is now Egypt's ruling party and Morsi is Egypt's president so should we believe that his racist rants were no more than electoral sound bites?
It has also been pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood has many targets for its hate. Apparently the CIA invented the Holocaust "myth"; Egypt's declining fortunes are entirely the fault of her Christian minority and recently the Brothers legal committee announced that it was drafting legislation to unilaterally amend the 1979 peace treaty signed with Israel. The new constitution makes Sunni Islam the supreme guide to everything and denies religious rights to Baha'is and Shiites.
A couple more quotes before I conclude my analysis of the West’s newest best friend, President Mohamed Morsi:
“Resistance is the correct and only way to free the land from the filth of the Jews” (July 2007)
“I do not differentiate between one Zionist and another….they all have the same nature of slyness, deception and hatred” May 11, 2009.
In the twentieth century Muslim world, the word “Zionist” is always code for “Jew” (and far too often this ‘code’ is replicated by the far-Left). So should we believe Morsi and his fundamentalist cohorts when they make excuses?
Given the extreme nature of some of those ancient but revered Islamic quotes, the last quote (above) is perhaps the most appropriate to end on. As an example of the delusional, hate obsessed ramblings of a religious fanatic they form a not insignificant part of the core belief system of the man who is now President of the world’s most populace economically mismanaged Arab state.
Radical ideological movements say things in order to ease their path to victory. Infidelity to the truth is part of the arsenal they utilise to fool the gullible and the weak spirited. I cannot recall a single Islamic state whose foundation stone is bigotry, prejudice and violence that was minded to renounce any part of it. Fourteen hundred years of historical precedent should have taught us that it should not be ignored.