zaterdag 8 oktober 2011

Arab Spring, My Foot

October 7, 2011

by Martin Peretz
Or, better yet, “my ass.” The Arab Spring has been with us for nearly three quarters of a year. This is not a long time as history goes. But the annual flowers of the spare land have long ago vanished into the crude, mostly gritty sand that is the Middle East. It’s not, though, as if it is at all back to “normal” in the Arab world. And, frankly, we haven’t the slightest about what normal in the Arab world is or will be. The Muslims and the Jews and the increasingly scarce but differentiated Christians who constituted the region lived (and live) recreant lives. For centuries it was the People of the Book who were put on edge or to death, mostly for what they believed and also for what crimes the authorities fantasized they had committed. (In this way the Jews of the Near East—near where, exactly?—lived lives on the edge much as they did in Christendom. Of course, if there are maybe 2,000 Jews now in all the Arab lands, it would stun me. The near-million there were are now mostly in Israel, God bless them, and in Western countries which, God bless them, welcomed them, even France, like brothers and sisters, a new enunciation offraternité.) The Peoples of the Cross were likewise persecuted—but sometimes the powerful states of Europe, both Catholic and Protestant, were able to extend a cloak of protection around Christian communities of the Levant. Though not, of course, around the Armenians. Or, for that matter, not around the Kurds either, who, mostly Sunni, some Shia, were in the Islamic orbit but distanced from that orbit’s—let’s face it—zealotry.

Read more at: The New Republic