Paradise Lost?

BaghdadA thousand years ago the great cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo took turns to race ahead of the Western world. Islam and innovation were twins. The various Arab caliphates were beacons of learning, religious tolerance and trade. That’s a far cry from the state of Arabs today.

As The Economist reports, as Asia, Latin America and Africa advance, the Middle East is held back by despotism and is convulsed by war with Israel, which is a completely futile cause and never likely to create an outcome that the terrorists of democracy dream about.

There needs to be massive resurgence where moderation and the respect for other nations, cultures and religions once again becomes part of the Arab psyche rather than the illiterate and evil doctrine of those who profess to be Muslims and who are simply using Islam as a flag of convenience in order to perpetrate acts of unspeakable aggression against innocent people.

Hopes soared high three years ago when a wave of unrest across the region led to the overthrow of four dictators – in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen – and to a clamour for change elsewhere, notably in Syria.

But the Arab spring’s fruit has rotted into renewed autocracy and war. Both engender misery and fanaticism that today threaten peace and security and have made the world a much more dangerous place.

All too many of the Arab world’s 350m people are caught between rotten governments and even more rotten and often extremely violent oppositions. Would-be moderate reformers are nowhere to be seen, condemned to hope and trapped in stagnant repression or cycles of strife.

All this has done is to reinforce a highly negative perception of these States that are in some way unsuited to the modern  world and are throw backs to a point in time that has long lost any meaningful sense of purpose in today’s modern world. What fanaticism fails to see is that however much it tries, it really can’t turn the clock back to a point in time where differences were settled through slaying the opposition. To think otherwise is to exhibit a deep level of psychotic behaviour that ‘s capable of being labelled as insanity.

Most commentators agree that only Tunisia has cast off its old ways and embraced a new more open order. Elsewhere the result has been either a  reprise of the ancien regime as in the Egypt of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi or civil war.

hezbollah-vs-al-QaedaAnd regrettably these wars have empowered radical Sunni jihadists like those of those of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a vicious and ambitious step-child of al-Qaeda that now controls territory in both countries and which has declared its blood-splattered leader to be the caliph of all Muslims – a claim that has been roundly objected to by Muslims leaders in the UK who are now trying to expose the sick evil terrorists that peddle a version of the Koran that’s aimed at recruiting the gullible to fight for a cause that lacks any religious or moral foundation.

Those of us that look on in horror at the unfolding human tragedy and loss of innocent lives can’t remain unaffected by the perverted interpretation of Islam as this lies at the root of some Arab’s troubles.

Jihadists seek to kill non-Muslims not just in the Middle East but also on the streets of London, New York and Paris. Egypt is now back under military rule. Libya, following the violent demise of  Col Muammar Qaddafi is now at the mercy unruly militias. Yemen is beset with insurrection, infighting and al-Qaeda. Palestine is still far from statehood  and peace as can be evidenced in the wake of three Israeli students that had been brutally murdered  that has triggered an escalation of rocket attacks and with it the destruction of the lives of many innocent people on all sides of this conflict.

These wrongs can’t easily or rapidly be put right. Outsiders, who’ve often been drawn to the region as invaders and occupiers can’t simply stamp out the jihadist cause or impose prosperity and democracy. That much, at least, should be clear after the disastrous military invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

In short, the solution to the present doomsday scenario lies in the hands of the Arabs who have the power to reverse their civilization decline. Let’s hope that for the sake of mankind they choose to exercise  such power before it’s too late.







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