Islamophobia is rampant all across the western world; but well, this is the Washington Post…
The above is not some op-ed; it was a featured piece in yesterday’s Washington Post. So, by way of balance, these popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are not about religion (why do I have to keep stating this?!). Yes, there is a chance that extremists will try to exploit the situation. However, you have to bear in mind that the one common thread in all these uprisings is that the protesters want freedom and democracy. The extremists can’t offer them this. The protesters in these various countries have lost their fear. They will no longer put up with any kind of repression, and they are risking their lives to gain freedom. Yesterday, Reuters reported that Abdel Jalil, the head of the rebel National Libyan Council, told his followers: “Victory or death, we will not stop till we liberate all this country”.
Which brings me on to Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, who yesterday posed the question…
No, Mr Gardner, they are not running out of steam. When you consider that to begin with the Libyan uprising was peaceful/unarmed, and many of the protesters are still without arms (see the battles for Zawiya) and they are up against Gaddafi and his heavily armed gangsters (who are trying to regain control of the oil installations, Al capone-style), the protesters have made amazing progress during the first three weeks of this uprising. In a very short period of time a liberation army has had to be organised from scratch, and with every day that goes by this army grows stronger. Of course there’s a chance that it could all go belly-up, yet at the time of writing it seems almost certain that Gaddafi’s days are numbered.
The effect that the downfall of Gaddafi will have on the region, and the rest of the world, cannot be overestimated. The fact that unarmed and unorganised (in the military sense) people can overthrow such a vile regime sends a very, very powerful message.
Among many further developments today, the Chinese government have announced measures to give their people greater freedoms, and the robber barons of Saudi Arabia have banned all demonstrations in their country.
The Saudi royals should go look up the word ‘guillotine’ and its historical context.