Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 1st, 2011

Political or civil mass disobedience movements? Case studies of Occupy Wall Street, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia…

Are secular and national concepts anathema to Arab/Islamic spirit?

Except in Egypt, it appears that most upheavals are fundamentally violent civil mass disobedience, (not true any longer in Egypt), with no clarity or viable pragmatic alternatives of why reforms and change are needed, and what alternative reforms should substitute the existing dictatorial system…

In Egypt, we had a political mass disobedience and the western nations are adopting the Egyptian non-violent strategy.  Mubarak is gone, but the regime is still alive, and the Egyptians might resort to civil disobedience if no reforms takes place very soon.

Many US officials and policy-makers blame former Egypt dictator Mubarak for fomenting many religious sectarian riots between the Sunni Moslems and the Christian Copts (10% of the population) during his long reign.

The tactic was to keep the Copts allied to his corrupt system in fear of the “Moslem Brotherhood” fanatics.

Actually, Mubarak didn’t have to go to so much trouble fomenting sectarian riots: All he had to do is sit tight and fail to intervene ahead of time since his widespread internal secret services had infiltrated all movements.

Mubarak was asked several times to review the terribly biased religious laws that deliver permits within a week to build a Mosque and requiring the Christians to wait 5 years for a permit to emerge.

The other sensible law was to separate building Mosque and Church by 200 meters. It turned out that by the time Copts got their permit “stamped”, the Moslem had built within the 200 meters of the potential allocated plot…

After Mubarak was evicted, nothing changed in the skewered religious treatments.

In early March, a church was burned in Halwan.

On May 7, three churches were burned in Embaba, resulting in 15 deaths and over 200 injured civilians.

On June 24, the fanatics among the “Moslem Brotherhood” movement attacked a church in Aswan.

On Oct. 5, the Copts demonstrated and the army dispersed the march violently.

On Oct. 9, the Copts reacted and tried another mass protest in Cairo that ended with 25 killed and 320 injured.  Two tanks ran over protesters and Moslems threw Molotov cocktail bombs on the Copt marchers.

The Egyptian military lied through its teeth:

First, not a single soldier was killed as it claimed; and

Ssecond, the official media harangued the Egyptians to descend in the street to support the military!  Mubarak would not stooped that low to confirm his authority.

The goal of the current military is to maintaining their hold on power, directly or indirectly.  The reasons for this mania are:

First, preserving all the previous advantages and benefits, and whatever review is to be for more power.

Second, sending the same signal, as during Mubarak, to the world community that only the army is in a position to maintaining security and unity.  Consequently, the military is ready to using heavy handed methods as the Mubarak regime to demonstrating its brute power…

The greatness of the Egyptian revolt is that it is still non-violent and the masses get to the streets at every critical junction:  They are ever ready to warn anyone in “power” that the revolt is never going to be over, until the common people have a say in the decision making process…

The other solid factor in the success of the Egyptian revolution is that the “elite class” is far less violent than their counterparts in almost all other Arabic/Islamic countries, and particularly in the Near East such as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon…and even in the western culture.

It is mainly a historical tendency and current heavy dense population in Egyptian cities…that remind street leaders of the consequences of inflaming the masses by violent means and rhetoric.

In a nutshell, historically, the Egyptian natives of the Nile Valley hardly opposed any occupation troops with arms.

In Syria, all war-like empires invaded the land, but never any occupation force managed to administer or centrally hold any power, not even the Romans or the Arabic/Islamic Empires.

Ask the French mandate power how it quickly withdrew from Syria: In revenge, France ceased valuable northern Syrian lands to Turkey in 1936 (the Alexandretta city and the strategic region of Adana).

Historically, Syria was mostly governed by intermediary tribes or coalition of tribes… The Emir of a city relied on youth hoodlums to tame virulent tribes, and this is what the Syrian regime is exactly currently applying. Those “shababs” of local militias paid by the regime will have the same destiny, if history repeats itself in Syria.

For example, in Syria, the son of Aleppo Mufti was assassinated by fanatic opposition extremists.  Not a single “insurgent: faction or opposition movement condemned this unnecessary assassination: They even declined to mention the event in public and discuss it.

A “deep terrifying silence” is hovering over the horror wrong-doing, according to Lebanese journalist Jihad el Zine. How could we expect a better alternative social/political system in Syria if what is happening in horror stories during this uprising is not discussed and stands taken?  How could we expect any peaceful transition to the Bashar el Assad clan regime?

How could we condemn a violent regime if the culture in society is not prepared and trained to act non-violently? Period.

This deep scary silence was witnessed in Lebanon after the Syrian troops withdrew from Lebanon in 2005.  Scores of hard-working Syrian workers were assassinated in various districts in Lebanon, and not a single voice from the elite class or civic movements reacted to these barbarities. Actually, not a public official dared to lament the “revenge” behavior on Syrian civilians…

The brutal civil war in Libya has demonstrated the violent revenge reactions of the people.

Iraq is still suffering from suicide car bombing in crowded streets (random violence tactics) after the US occupation in 2003. What is happening in Yemen? Can anyone follow the story or the world community has given up on Yemen, as it had given up on Lebanon during 17 years of civil war?

There is this stupid excuse that current Sunni Moslem Brotherhood” movements are “moderate”.  Moderate in what?

Is saying that the women will not be subjugated to the same servile standards as in Saudi Arabia, the most obscurantist Wahhabi sect, a good enough proposal to enhancing freedom of opinion, liberty, and equal rights?

Can anyone point to a single Islamic movement, a majority religious sect in any country, coming to power and ever being defeated in any “democratic” election?

Do anyone believe that the “Moslem Brotherhood”  currently in power in Turkey can ever be defeated in election from now on?

Note 1: The topic on the Egyptian Copts’ tenuous situation was inspired by an editorial of Sarkis Naoum in the Lebanese daily Al Nahar.  Naoum visits the US frequently to interview officials, current and former, and policy-makers and foreign research institutes.

Note 2:  What is the new “democratic” alternative of the US in the Greater Middle East?

Note 3Tactics of scary random violence

The math of favors

Finally, a post of Seth Godin that I like.  Expressions in parentheses are mine, and I edited the post sightly for added comprehension. It goes:

“One of three things is going on in your head when you’re entering into a transaction of any kind:

  • I’m doing you a favor, bud
  • Hey, this guy is doing me a favor
  • This is a favor-less transaction

It’s interesting to think about how this internal monologue affects the way we do business.

A favor, after all, is an investment in a future relationship.

(Mostly, whoever made you a favor, such as lending you a small amount of money, particularly money, and occasionally referred you to a position, he is not about to forget you: He did you a favor and he insists on reminding you that you owe him a favor in return…best way of retaining acquaintances…  Most of the time, when you lend money and you cannot pay back in currency, you usually keep paying back in different kinds of favors that amount to many fold the money you borrowed.  I have witnessed this behavior and experienced it to know that exceptions are pretty rare.)

At the famous old-school pizza joint, they act as if they’re doing just about everyone a favor. (You love pizza, and you like their pizza.  Where else could you get what you love?)

No need to answer the phone nicely, smile, or add just a little bit extra to that pie.

Godin’s first law of pizza joints:  Quality is often inversely proportional to niceness.

(I recall a movie by Spike Lee about an Italian-origin family feeding a Black community pizza.  The juvenile delinquent grew big, and the owner of the pizzeria boasted that the community owe him a favor because they lived on pizza.  Soon, the youth in the community caught up with the spirit of the time, civil rights movement, and realized there is more to life…than eating pizza…)

Whether or not they are actually doing you a favor by selling you this pizza, they believe they are, and act accordingly.

On the other hand, when your buddy Lorne Michaels does you a favor and gets his friend Steve Martin to stop by your kid’s birthday party, it’s really obvious that a favor is being done. So you bend over backwards, you’re dancing at the edge of obsequiousness, putting as much extra on the table as you can get away with. After all, he’s doing you a favor.

And most of the time, it’s the third category: business as usual.

My hope is that during business as usual, you’re aggressively over delivering, but still, it’s not like they’re doing you a favor by transacting with you. It’s an exchange, a sustainable transaction, where both sides win.

The disconnect happens when one party in the transaction thinks he’s doing the other guy a favor… but the other guy doesn’t act that way in return.

In fact, when both sides think they’re doing the other a favor, it’s a meltdown. The flip-side is great–when both sides act as if the other guy is doing them a favor.

The shortcut to success is this: why not always act as if the other guy is doing the favor?” End of quote


Indeed, “why not always act as if the other guy is doing the favor?”  On the individual level, this is a great attitude and very profitable.

On the flip-side, it is the worst case scenario among States.

The third alternative is more effective:  Each State in the negotiation table thinks of doing the other parties favors, but act neutral.

For example, why western States, European and the US think that they are doing developing States favors by launching preemptive wars, strikes, and financial embargoes?

Why after developing countries successfully win a mass revolution, and in non-violent revolts, do western States butt-in to grab the largest piece of the favor pie?

As if in this wretched poor countries nothing can be done without prior planning of the intelligence agencies of the veto-power States in the UN?

After all, it is the Egyptian citizens who got killed, injured, and stood steadfast in mostly non-violent sit-ins and marches…Why the US Administration feels that it has to propagate the message that the upheaval was successful because it sided against Mubarak, finally?

Why does the US Administration encourage power sharing between the military and the religious Sunni “Moslem Brotherhood” political parties and movements, in Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt…?

Is there any role to the secular and liberal factions in Arab/Islamic States withing the western propaganda?

What kinds of “alternative democracy” has the US created? How it is described?




November 2011

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