Arab Spring the motion picture?
Debates over an atrocious movie produced in the United States have attracted the world’s attention throughout last week. How many more provocations do we need to face the act that Muslims will not idly stand by as the Western secular ethos attacks the prophets –including Jesus, Moses and others? Nietzsche famously said that “in truth, there was only one Christian and he died on the cross.” Westerners have to come to terms with Muslims’ continued respect for the prophets in this day and age. They might just as well take the first step by proving Nietzsche wrong!
The ineptitude of the West’s intolerance toward the demonstrations and the level of violence that took place closely resemble one another. Let us, for now, take note of secular theology’s hypocritical “freedom of expression” fetish, devoid of both morals and intelligence. Similarly, let us keep in mind the contribution of post-9/11 neo-con Islamophobia to this picture.
Another unfortunate outcome of the movie scandal was a series of nonsensical analyses of the Arab Spring and President Obama’s political future. These observations, made against the background of erupting violence in Libya, made a perfect case for the lack of understanding surrounding the two years of change in our region and the Islamic world. “Film analysts” resolved over the course of a few days that the Arab Spring, which toppled governments and undid the Camp David regime in the region with support from millions of people, had turned to winter. It is of course possible to reach such sad conclusions when one resorts to using a movie to prevent the status quo from falling apart.
It is indeed intellectually comforting to ignore the rage behind the Arab Spring, accumulated over a century of colonialism, despotism and Western intervention. However, the Islamic world’s masses do not reflect this sentiment. The majority of those who claim that the Arab Spring has become an Arab Winter due to the violence that erupted in reaction to the obscene movie also happen to think that the Arab Spring itself was a motion picture. They ignore, thanks to a rather banal strand of Orientalism, the will, struggle and revolt of tens of millions of people, and argue that recent developments are a figment of fiction and conspiracy. The advocates of this view need to realize that they themselves do not fall too far from this outrageous movie’s lack of respect for Islam.
The calm attitude of post-revolution Arab Spring leaders in the face of mass demonstrations, on the other hand, has helped to decipher the cheap, opportunistic play underway. We must expect the same kind of seriousness from the U.S. administration and its European counterparts. The United States must acknowledge the existing hatred of Islam engendered by the neo-cons after 9/11. Similarly, the EU is compelled to think about the rise of a nationalist – even, at times, fascist -- discourse throughout the continent, particularly over the past decade. It would be a great starting point for the West to replace its “Why do they hate us?” narrative, which approaches Muslims’ every reaction as a criminal case, with a simple question: “Why do we hate them?”