Adonis Diaries

Litmus test for Arab intellectuals? So many of these litmuses, and so few to pass…?

Posted on: June 18, 2012

Litmus test for Arab intellectuals? So many of these litmus tests, and so few to pass…

Apparently, every period has its main litmus test of patriotism and progressive positions, regardless of how little action and engagement are linked to them. A litmus test is to show how acid or basic a liquid is, and in political jargon the term is to judge someone on his political social stands, irrespective if the individual is the most passive kind in his actual engagement…as long as he is considered a “public figure”…

In the Arab World, the litmus tests were for many decades, especially in the 70s:

What is your stand on the Palestinian cause?”

How far would you support the military wings of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in its struggle against the apartheid State of Israel?

Would you ask the PLO to take your side in any civil war against “archaic regimes” that are ready to sign any peace agreement with Israel?

Would you dare direct you critics to the main danger to oligarchies instead of the Palestinian cause?

Are equality of rights between genders as urgent a priority in the political spectrum? 

A few angry intellectuals want to shift the “support for the Assad leadership’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis’ onslaught” and replace it with supporting the Syrian insurgents funded and armed by the Saudi Wahhabi absolute monarchy and the Qatari absolute Emir…

No, maybe not supporting these radical salafists, but the “good insurgents” are so shifty, very rational people, and refuse to submit to this ridiculous litmus test, that it is very convenient to focus on the “blood thirsty” Assad regime… 

As’ad AbuKhalil  posted on June 13 under “Outrage of the week: absurd levels in defending the Asad dictatorship” (with slight editing):

“Now the real litmus of Arab intellectuals’ and activists’ commitment to the Palestinian cause is no longer their support for Palestinian rights.
Rather, their support for the “Assad leadership’s struggle against the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis’ onslaught.”
(Can this angry Arab mention the name of any intellectual who claimed that Bashar does not have to go?)
Litmus test according to whom?  Who sets this litmus test?  Rami Makhluf or Dunya TV?
Let me get this absurd notion: so one need not support Palestinian struggle because support for the Asad dictatorship suffices?
(I think this sentence is an absurd counterpoint and totally irrelevant to the content) 
The Asad regime is NOT in any way struggling against “the moderate axis”.  The regime is merely struggling to stay in power: do you see Bashshar EVER speaking out against Saudi regime and alliances?
(Bashar did speak out on several occasions and was punished for his haughty public statements. Particularly after the 2006 preemptive war of Israel against Lebanon)
Do you see him ever even responding to hourly Saudi propaganda attacks on him?  He does not dare.  No, because he wants to eventually reach a compromise with that Arab ruling order to stay in power.  
(Which regime would not? The US is the best ally to Saudi Arabia…and the AbuKhalil would follow suit if they came to power…)
If support for the Asad regime is the litmus test, please register me as failing in that test every minute of my life, ever since the Syrian regime intervened in Lebanon in 1976 to crush progressive Palestinian and Lebanese struggle–real struggle–against “the imperialist-Zionist-Arab moderate axis”.  
(It is not because the “Christian” Phalengists allied to Israel that the opposition alliance was that progressist…and was willing to give Arafat free power to reign over Lebanon…
In fact, as Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, most of these progressive parties were showering rice on the invaders and opening strategic route for the advance of the tanks…and their leadership were nowhere to be found, and only the Palestinian forces stopped the advance of the Israeli army in Saida, before the enemy regrouped and amassed 500,000 soldiers and 1,200 tanks.
And the Syrian troops were sitting duck along the highway, by their tanks, waiting for the Israeli jets to bomb them, just for the fun of it, and the abandoned Syrian soldiers managed to stop Israel advance toward the higher region of the Chouf and denied Israel the luxury of cutting off Lebanon from the Syrian borders…)
The Assad regime was for many years part of that axis until it was kicked out for reasons that have nothing to do with the struggle.  
(What struggle is meant here? How can we erect a litmus test if we fail to define what is the struggle?)
The Asad regime failed the Palestinians at every crucial moment of Palestinian struggle:
1. the regime failed the Palestinians when they were being slaughtered in Jordan in 1970,
2. the Assad regime failed the Palestinians when they were being slaughtered by pro-Israeli militias in Lebanon,
3. and even engineered the war on the camps against the Palestinians in Lebanon.
(Can AbuKhalil recall any State bordering Palestine that did not indulge in repressing Palestinian infiltrations into Israel?)  
The litmus test for Arab intellectuals should entail opposition to all Arab regimes without exception, unless one wants to pick sides in the regional conflict between Arab dictators and other Arab dictators.  (thanks “Ibn Rushd”)
This angry Arab intellectual published a self-indulgent post and is trying to please the current mood of the western media, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia…
What is the freshest litmus test again? I got confused of the previous litmus test.
Litmus test must be applied to engaged politicians, with enough power to make a difference…
Let us name names… And stop the angry rhetoric

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June 2012

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