Across the Bay

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Always a Good Sign

A Pan-Arab nationalist writer, Jihad Fakhreddine, is appalled by the new Iraq (like our buddy Don Juan, whose views in fact are almost identical to Fakhreddine's, which should tell you something about Cole's vantage point):

    One thing was certain, however; hardly any of the parties' names had the word "Arab" in it. Also absent were the terms "socialist" or "social." While this was a reaction to the despotic reign of the Baath, it also had important implications for the way Iraqis are thinking. The fact that most party names contained terms such as "Iraqi," "national," "Islamic," "free," "democratic," or "independent," reflected the politically introverted mood prevailing in the country. 

Excellent! Thank goodness! It means Iraq is on the right track! This kind of drivel (which is exactly what Syrian Information Minister Dakhlallah thinks is the way forward for Syria; see post below, esp. Dakhlallah's points on "socialism" and "Arab nationalism") used to be thrown at Lebanese parties who used to be labeled "isolationists" and "retrogressive" for being at odds with Arab nationalism, wanting to preserve a unique Lebanese identity and not get sucked into the authoritarianism of the Arab order and its pathologies. But truth be told, what are we thinking!? "Democratic," "free," and "independent" clearly means "introverted," "isolationist," and "retrogressive!"

Needless to say, Lebanon and now Iraq are the first countries in the region to realistically deal with their ethnic and communal make-up as it is on the ground, opting for a pluralist consociational democracy as the best model for them. The Arab nationalist hypocrites can't stand that. It's much more soothing to defend Arab nationalism. That's why I use the term "pathological" every time I talk about that ideology and its adherents. But more than that, as Michael said of Rashid Khalidi (see my "Khalidi's Facts" post below), these types become the defenders of the untenable status quo (even as they dislike it!). That's perfectly fine, but others, like the Iraqis, want to move on. One hundred plus years of tyranny is more than enough.