There is no doubt that enduring political tyranny is the fundamental root-cause of the many ills plaguing the Arab world from Morocco to Bahrain. Hence, it is essential that this tyranny be eradicated if the estimated 300 million Arabs will have any real hope for a better tomorrow.
We all know that there is not a single Arab country that really enjoys any real semblance of democracy, perhaps with the exception of Lebanon, a country with 35 religious sects and denominations which have maintained an uneasy and often bloody coexistence since independence in the mid 1940s.
Some Arab regimes have succeeded in bribing their often politically-unconscious masses into submission and pacification by granting them hefty financial inducements. But life is more than just eating and mating, and people in some of these oil-rich countries are beginning to ask the hard questions the despotic dynastic rulers have always dreaded.
In other countries, especially the so-called republics, the comparatively more tyrannical regimes continue to employ the same stale nationalistic rhetoric which the masses have been hearing ad nauseam and got fed up with for many decades.
The stale slogans include, inter alia, references to western imperialism, Zionism, capitalism and reactionary forces. Indeed, ever since the end of the Second World War, any Arab daring to demand basic human rights and civil rights from the tyrannical regimes and ruling juntas has been automatically charged with collaboration with Israel or being an agent for Capitalistic or imperialistic forces.
Numerous prominent Arab intellectuals and thinkers were executed on concocted charges. We all remember the great Egyptian Islamic thinker Sayed Qutb as an outstanding example of the victims of Gamal Abdul Nasser’s tyranny.
Nasser, undoubtedly a charismatic autocrat, tried to create a false Arab religion, comprising a combination of socialism and anti-Islam Arab nationalism. As we all know, this religion died an ignominious death in 1967 when Israel defeated Egypt, Syria and Jordan and seized the remainder of Palestine, including the Aqsa Mosque, as well as the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights.
We should also remember the fact that a few months before that fateful war, the atheistic Baath party declared the “end of Islam” when one of its leading officials, Ibrahim Makhos, wrote in the Syrian army magazine, Jayshu Shab (or the people’s army) that “Allah, religion and morality ought to be viewed as mere mummies in the museum of history.”!
Similarly, Gamal Abdul Nasser was declared as the “last Arab prophet,” although he was responsible for the greatest Arab defeat since the Crusades seized Jerusalem in 1099.
The reason for this historical background is to remind readers that the current Arab regimes are mere “extensions” -in every conceivable respect- of past regimes in Cairo and Damascus. For example, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the mass murderer who ordered his henchmen to open fire indiscriminately on peaceful protesters at Rabaa, openly claims he is a political incarnation of Nasser.
Similarly, Bashar el-Assad, the Hitler of Syria who didn’t hesitate to exterminate his own people with deadly chemical weapons, says he is following the footsteps of his father Hafez el-Assad, the cursed tyrant who murdered tens of thousands of innocent Syrians in Hama and who is widely believed to have ceded the Golan Heights to Israel in 1967 when he was commander-in-chief of the Syrian army.
Criminals par excellence
The secular Arab media, much of which is vehemently hostile to Islam, keeps referring to Islamists and other free-minded individuals taking part in the current revolutions in both Syria and Egypt as “terrorists.”
However, a thorough examination of outstanding facts would reveal that the true terrorists are the regimes, not their opponents.
In fact, there are numerous damn reasons justifying and even necessitating revolution against these nefarious regimes from the religious, moral, human and political perspectives.
In the following paragraphs, I will present some of the hard-pressing reasons making revolution a must.
First, some of these regimes, such as in Syria, have been shamelessly trying to change the religion of 90% of Syrians-from Islam to Godless secularism or heretical Shiism (whereby Ali Bin abi Taleb is worshipped as God incarnate).
Indeed, on every occasion, spokesmen and mouthpieces of the Syrian regime boast of being the guardians of secularism in the Arab world. By making the false claim, they hope to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the West, especially in the aftermath of 9/11 events in the US, when west governments became more allergic to anything Islamic.
Well, true secularism means freedom of religion, first and foremost. It also implies, as in the U.S., protection of religion from government interference. But in Syria and Egypt, this is not the case as everyone working in the mosques and Islamic affairs ministries -from the lowest ranking employee to the cabinet Minister- is appointed by the Intelligence apparatus. In Egypt, the Sheikh of Azhar must be answerable to the tyrant ruling to the country. This was amply evident in the absolute and unequivocal support and backing of the Sheikh of Azhar to the bloody coup against the only democratically-elected president in Egypt’s history.
This means that religion is manipulated by the government as religious officials must always be loyal to the regime, not to Islam or to God. This explains the fact the official religious establishment in Egypt and Syria as well as other Arab countries are siding with the manifestly evil and murderous regimes, although it is manifestly clear from the Islamic perspective that many of these regimes are apostates.
Second, in Syria and Egypt, one has to be a member of an atheistic or secular party in order to practice his political rights. The new Egyptian Constitution, being prepared by secular fanatics handpicked by the murderous military junta, allows for the formation of political parties based on atheism, secularism, even sexual perversion but not on Islam. This happens in a country whose constitution stipulates in its second article that Islam is “state religion.”
And in Syria, which also proclaims Islam as state religion, anyone convicted of affiliation with an Islamist political party is executed before a firing squad. But this doesn’t prevent the regime from claiming that Syria is the most democratic country under the sun.
Third, the secular but fascist regimes legalize and encourage every conceivable violation of the Islamic faith, including gambling, prostitution, usury, media promiscuity and atheism. Indeed, it is well known that while religious people are refused admission into numerous jobs and occupations, atheists and unreligious people are readily accepted into the army, air-force, intelligence and other “sensitive” fields.
In fact, in Syria, and ever since the Baathist coupe of 1963, only Alawites and non-Muslims are accepted in high-ranking jobs in the security apparatuses. In some cases, Sunnis are accepted as a cover-up. However these Sunnis are stripped of any real authority or power.
One Syrian official intimated to this writer that even an Alawhite janitor in any given ministry in Syria has more real power than a Sunni cabinet minister.
Fourth, the ruling regimes in most Arab countries are decidedly anti-democratic. In fact, Arab regimes and democracy cannot be used in the same sentence. They are an eternal oxymoron. Indeed, the highest strategy of any Arab state is to keep the current regime in power. Every other consideration is subservient to that strategy.
Sometimes, some of these regimes are forced to organize elections, mainly under foreign pressure. But before they embark on holding the elections, they promulgate draconian laws designed to maximize the chances of success for anti-Islam secular candidates and/or regime supporters, and minimize the chances of the Islamists.
And in case the Islamists win despite all the odds and hurdles as happened in Egypt in 2012, the regimes, or the deep state apparatus ( e.g. the justice system), resort to canceling the elections altogether for “technical or procedural reasons.”
The reason the elections results are cancelled is simple. These people are infinitely corrupt. They are big thieves to say the very least. Hence, they are really worried that any clean government which might arise as a result of the democratic process would put them behind bars and recover the millions of dollars that they have embezzled.
Hence, they follow the adage “let us eat them for lunch before they eat us for dinner.”
The real conflict in the Arab world is not between Islam and secularism, although secularism is not part of Islam as there is no real separation between mosque and state.
The real conflict is actually between fascism, which often dons a secular attire, and democracy. The problem for the fascists is that they can’t allow true democracy to take root in their countries for two main reasons.
First, a true democracy would overthrow the tyrants sooner or later, forcing them to lose their grip on power and privileges, especially the huge thefts they amassed at the expense of the people.
Second, a true democracy would sooner or later bring the Islamists to the fore.
Hence, the most “reasonable option” for these fascists is to seek alliance with pseudo-liberals, leftists, and religious minorities on the ground that the Islamists are their “common enemy.”
To conclude, the Islamists have every right under the sun to revolt against these criminal and bankrupt regimes. Indeed, the Islamists are damn correct in claiming that their very religion (Islam) is at stake especially if these regimes are allowed to linger unopposed and unchallenged.
Khalid Amayreh is an American-educated journalist living in al-Khalil in occupied Palestine.