First of all, there was no Arab civilization in the 19th and 20th centuries. Arabs have long become subsumed under the Ottoman Civilization, a staunchly Turkish entity despite its ethnic diversity, and they had long ceased to be significant contributors to the basic operations of that entity, except as fodder, that is, as conscripted soldiers and farmers.
Amid the flurry of really wonderful documentaries about Syria and the Syrian revolution that are emerging these days, this one might represent a more modest effort in this regard, and might seems a bit dated now since it was mostly filmed in the summer of 2012. Still, since the focus here is to trace the roots of the Syrian revolution and its transformation into an armed struggle, and to showcase the betrayal of the nonviolent liberal prodemocracy activists that led the early protests throughout the country by the leaders of the free world, the subject matter maintains certain relevance and seems to distinguish this effort from other works.
This statement by Ed Hussein makes absolutely no sense:
“If the barometer for democracy is France or Britain, then Muslim countries are not on that trajectory. Why should they be? Theirs is a different culture rooted in scripture, unlike that of secular Europe. The freedom to blaspheme or “insult the prophets and God” is not acceptable to most Muslims or even Christians living in Palestine, Pakistan, Egypt, or Lebanon. This tension between Western and other approaches to democracy will remain a cause for ongoing struggle.” Continue reading “Secularism and the Barometer for Democracy”→
Kevorkian’s essay is followed by an interview with the dissident author and democracy activist Ammar Abdulhamid, whose first novel, “Menstruation,” deals with a young Islamist who can smell women’s menstrual blood. It is one of the highlights of the book, with Halasa asking thoughtful, pointed questions that provoke equally thoughtful replies, which add up to a comprehensive briefing on gender relations in Syria. He and his wife now live in the US, where he is a fellow at the Brookings Institution. To no one’s surprise, he dismisses Victoria’s Secret, one of his wife’s favorites, as “lame.” Back in Syria, he says, there “is simply much, much more.”