Friday, October 4, 2013

Apres moi le deluge

Louis XV by Hyacinthe Rigaud
The sentiment of "Apres moi le deluge" could easily be applied to the Middle East. Gaddafi, Hussein have fallen, along with Mubarak in Egypt and his successor Mohammed Morsi (whose Muslim Brotherhood was crushed by the Egyptian military) For a while it looked like Assad was on the way out, but now the glimmerings of a possible deluge have actually been responsible for perpetuating his rule. One of them communicated recently in a front page Times photograph (“Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West,” NYT, 9/5/13) showing opposition soldiers standing over half naked Syrian army regulars who were about to be cold-bloodedly murdered. Liberation from oppression has been galvanized by social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Yet the opposition parties are already so immersed in a metaphoric game of capture the flag that there is no flag to raise in a putative Iwo Jima. The victories are Pyrrhic at best with former dictators smiling from their graves or in the case of Mubarak on the verge of being rehabilitated (“Mubarak Is Moved From Prison to House Arrest, Stoking Anger of Islamists," NYT, 8/22/13). Obviously one of the most destructive elements in all the uprisings is the extent to which they have been exploited by external movements for their own purposes. Terrorists battle each other for hegemony fueled with arms and money from other tyrants of which they are clients. Neutrality and a non-partisan humanistic stance have become dubious luxuries that few civilians can readily afford. It’s not naturally selective to be an innocent bystander in the civil wars that are the rubble left by Arab Spring where violence has become the only means of survival.

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