Corruption, Money, Sex and Humiliation: The "Arab Spring" in Four Words
by Shoshana Bryen
May 22, 2012
Event Date: May 22, 2012
JPC Senior Director Shoshana Bryen spoke to an RJC meeting in Skokie, IL. Nearly 100 people attended the presentation: "Corruption, Money, Sex and Humiliation: The "Arab Spring" in Four Words." She traced the social and political changes in the region leading to the so-called "Arab Spring," and explained how a hopeful uprising splintered into a variety of difficulties including armed revolution. She told the audience:
The good news is that Islamic radicalism has no answer to the problem of the rise of educated and ambitious young people. Religious despots are not a positive alternative to secular despots.
Americans talk about "democracy"â€¦ when people are angry in that part of the world, they call for "justice" not "democracy." Justice is the opposite of corruption. The Western notion of "rule of law"â€”meaning one set of laws applied equally to the rulers, the rich, and the regular people without regard for race, religion, sex, or political proclivityâ€”would be responsive to calls in the Arab world for "justice" and an end to "corruption."
The bad news is that the best organized groupsâ€¦ are Islamist. The people face the likelihood of radical Islamist governmentâ€”whether they want it or notâ€”because "free elections" which are simply a majority rule referendum without minority rights, favor the organized.
Ms. Bryen suggested an American approach along the Cold War model, "to ensure that those governments know we don't approve of what they do. They should be treated like we treated the Soviet Unionâ€”as an abhorrent system of governanceâ€”and we should publicize and work to ameliorate the condition of the people. During the Cold War, we were good at the distinction between the people and their government. 'Making nice' to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas tells the people, 'We are interested in your leaders regardless of what they do to you.'"
She concluded that, "Our Western heritageâ€”NOT of electoral politics necessarilyâ€”but free speech, rule of law, free market economics, independent judiciaries, property rights, and toleranceâ€”is, in fact, responsive to the conditions faced by demonstrators across the Middle East and North Africa."
Related Topics: Middle East Uprising | Shoshana Bryen
receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free jewish policy center mailing list