First posted on my short-lived blog Tharwalizations.
Indeed, it is happening again: protests and condemnations giving way to riots, arson and pandemonium. Just as Khomeini needed to use the Rushdie Affair to stoke the dying fires of his revolution, so now are the myriad Arab dictatorships, most notably the Syrian one, using an, at worst, unwise decision by a Danish publisher to rally the masses to the cause and divert their people’s attention, no matter how momentarily, from their corrupt authoritarian and inept rule. Indeed, a new Rushdiesque is unfolding, albeit a rather mediocre one. For Arab rulers cannot produce but mediocrity. The scenes in Damascus and Beirut are but a simple testament to this little macabre truth. See in this regard as well the blogposts by Tabsir, Llano Estacado, Mental Mayhem and Religious policeman.