The film after the film
SOLİ ÖZELThe violence of the reaction to the shameless film and the rising waves of rage it sparked have once more opened debate over the state of affairs in the Islamic world. Some are asking why Muslims reacted this was and not that way, and others saying the United States is reaping its own harvest: those debates we are familiar with and which do not mean too much politically.
Along with this, the question of whether or not the Arab awakening has come to an end, and whether the “spring” has become “winter” also arose. It should be especially emphasized that this question is very unjust. It took a hundred years for the French Revolution to finally result in a stable regime. It was only possible for the Russian Revolution to create a sound regime after an incredible number of lives were lost, and after a very bloody period lasting at least 20 years.
After a long period of colonialism, the Arab countries gained their nominal independences. However, the administrations that took over recreated the authoritarian mentality of the colonial period: disrespectful of all people, limiting their sovereignty and regarding the people as subjects. Those that called themselves socialist and those that were best friends with the U.S. or France were all the same. The republics and the monarchies, all of them adopted the same regime.
It is unjust and unconscionable to expect these societies, which have broken their chains to recover from this nightmare, to set up an order and achieve stability immediately. The difficulties they are experiencing do not stem from being Muslim or from the religion of Islam. There are all kinds of people among members of all religions. What actually needs to be discussed here is what those who use Islam as a political project want to accomplish and the methods they are using to achieve that. A member of or sympathizer with al-Qaeda and a Muslim do not have the same view on life, nor do they accept the same methods as legitimate. Nor is the way they live their lives the same. In the final analysis, the Jihadists use suicide, which Islam absolutely rejects, in the name of Islam as a tool to produce violence and terror. And it should be presumed that a believer in Islam would not accept that.
The fear of Islam or hostility against Islam in the West and in other places in the world, which has also emerged under the effect of violent actions, is a real phenomenon. Muslim societies may also regard themselves as having been subjected to injustices throughout history. However, the majority of other societies that have been subjected to injustice are trying to solve their earthly issues with a language and methods other than violence.
Unfortunately, these recent incidents will deal a heavy blow to the tendency to improvement in the two exemplary countries of the Arab awakening. Salafi radicalism may gain ground. Societies will pay serious prices. Tourism in Tunisia, according to figures provided by Juan Cole, is about to catch up to its 2010 level, and Egyptian tourism, which was about to recover, will enter a crisis in the wake of these incidents. It would be daydreaming to expect foreign investment in other sectors.
The more the relatively mainstream Islamic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt fail in the economic field, the more it will play into the hands of radical elements.
What’s more, I believe the recent incidents will have the effect of prolonging the life of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.
Not only the West, but also the rest of the world will feel much more cautious about working for a regime that will have predominantly Islamic features to take over the administration of a country such as Syria. Putin’s reaction should be evaluated in this context. What has happened in Libya will further decrease the possibility that the U.S. will directly intervene in Syria after the U.S. presidential elections.
Soli Özel is a columnist for daily HaberTürk, in which this piece was published on Sept. 16. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.
SOLİ ÖZEL - firstname.lastname@example.org