Tunisia: Violence and the Salafi Challenge – International Crisis Group.
So-called “Salafism” has been a key factor for loss of international support and interest in the arab reformist periods that started in Tunisia and succeeded in Egypt. Both were mostly social movements based in demands for freedom, democracy and human rights, but lacking cohesion and a political guideline, it turned out to be just an exhibition of a people’s need for pure values , human rights, freedom and honesty from their rulers.
At the time, islamists had not been a leading party in the process, but soon appeared as a solid option for those too uncertain abt future as to accept the uprising of “a bunch of “arab style” naive idealists and modern time hippies”. Then came the time for Lybia and its violent revolt led militarely by salafi guerrillas, supported by the west and by gulfian unlimited credit…
After Gaddafi’s fall, moustache-less beards started to grow and be exhibited more openly in Tunis and Egypt, taking a political space that westerns only expected to find in hands of the so called “moderate islamist” parties, who used to declare that had found in Turkey their inspirational model to combine islam and democracy.
Instead of being absorbed by moderation, hardliners and radical slamists (salafis, as we call them) have gained strength, generating continuous troublesome in Tunisia, while they obtained 1/4 of votes on the first elections in Egypt after Mubarak’s ousting, and now are seen as the ones who are pushing and sustaining the MB’s islamist agenda against minorities, liberals and secularists…
We also saw them taking the lead roles in Syria’s armed revolt and today they are the strongest rebel force, offering not-so-nice future expectations for any of these so-called “Arab Spring” countries.
After all this I’d ask: Who is the real enemy of the path towards freedom and REAL democracy in the area … an old intransgigence or a new one? …
My father uses to tell me that it’s stupid that I take my time to think abt these issues. “They’re all crazy”, he says… “you can see that investing our time and our interest in them just makes us notice we wasted it… once again. They will never change… even havng our support… now stop wasting ur time and switch the TV for the weather report”
Let’s hope this is just a necessary step to be taken by mid easterns towards a real prospect of positive change.
I am not my father.
I wish the descendants of this whole arab generation aren’t as hopeless and lost as their parents look like.