Archive of ‘Linkity love’ category

Marxism 2008

You know, I wasn't looking for trouble, just minding my own business, until I stumbled upon this video, of our very own Hossam el Hamalwy giving the opening speech at the Marxism 2008 conference in London. Hossam, with a palestinian Kuffiah around his neck of course, gave a rousing 10 minutes speech about the different strikes that egypt has been going through for the past 2 years, and painting a picture of how they are interconnected and somehow will lead to the fantastical workers revolution that will take egypt by storm. Yeah..ok..anyway, I have to say that my favorite part of the speech is at its end, when Hossam reminisced on how 10 years ago he came to the Marxism conference as a disaffected arab nationalist, and ended up joining the revolutionary socialists, and how back then there was no hope, but thanks to the books written by british revolutionary socialists he was given hope, and how they smuggled those books into egypt, spent hours translating them and teaching them to youngsters, and now look at Egypt, ripe with revolution- thanks to those teaching by brits, who thought us how to plan and think- and now sports 2 generations of revolutionary socialists. And then the coup de grâce, when he tells them that because this conference and those books gave him and his comrades hope when they needed it most, eventually he and his comrades will return the favor with the anticipated great socialist revolution in Egypt, once it happens of course. Me, personally, I find something rather unsettling about the concept that somehow those strikes- none of which were ever ideological  by the way and whose participants would think that the revolutionary socialists are a bunch of amoral godless nutjobs if they found out what they really believed in- were somehow caused by the invaluable teachings of a couple of guys in London, or that if such a revolution would take place it would be thanks to the ideas and foundations they gave us hopeless poor uneducated uninformed egyptians and would owe it all to them. Something almost…dare one even say… colonialist about this whole thing. But what do I know? You watch it, and tell me if I am imagining shit!

The Kabobfest inner conflict

In what could be Kabobfest a hoax (and god knows they are not above it), an ex-Kabobfester started an anti-Kabobfest website, even creating an Urban Dictionary entry on the definition of Kabobfest:

amalgamation of pseudo-bohemian, kuffiyeh wearing, proto-typical
non-conformists who identify as being either Arab or Muslim-friendly
within a post-9-11 context and sit around all day competing for that
one moment of self aggrandizing glory in which they seemingly hog the
intellectual spotlight within pointless, shallow conversations related
to Middle East affairs just to temporarily fulfill an insatiable thirst
for appearing knowledgeable. These types of people are often found in
Cafés checking their Facebook profiles on laptop computers and blogging
about nothing terribly important.

Look at those dirty activists wearing $95 designer Che Guevara t-shirts, they're such a KABOBfest!

Sounds true to me! 

Youtube suspends Wael Abbas' account

Youtube has suspended the account of Wael Abbas – which contained the the egyptian police brutality and torture videos- because there were apparently too many complaints and flags from users- who are not members of the egyptian government or state security, of course- who have deemed the videos inappropriate and offensive. Youtube immediately took action, and suspended the account, claiming that it violated its terms of use. Now, while this may be true in the technical sense, it may benefit them to make exceptions for such videos that do expose certain tyrannical regimes and won;t be shown by mainstream international media, you know, as part of that whole "alternative independent media" thing they have been talking about for some time now. Or they could take on Issander's compromise. Also read Brian Whitaker's take on it!

On New Muslims

Lou Lou had an interesting experience:

…but why do some new Muslims feel the need to denigrate their former
religion & culture & sometimes their own family &
upbringing? Why do they change their names to Arabic names? Don't they
realize that the majority of Muslims in the world are not Arab and do
not carry Arabic names? Who says names have to have religious
significance, anyway? A name is something you have no hand in,
something you're born with – like the color of your eyes. But it IS a
legacy of your parents & their love for you. And of your heritage.
I mean, my name has no religious connotations and I wouldn't give it up
for anything because to change it would be to hurt & betray the
people who brought me into the world.

Who has been telling these
people that being Muslim is synonymous with being a wannabe Arab &
spewing forth all sorts of anti-Western, anti-Hindu, anti-Jewish,
anti-whatever they used to be diatribes that any thinking person knows
are nothing more than prejudiced, xenophobic well, tripe?

Is it
just new Muslims? Or is it all new converts or born-again types? Maybe
it's just the excitement of discovering a new religion/culture that
causes you to think what you found is the greatest & so everything
else looks bad in comparison? Do converts eventually 'settle down'
& become more tolerant of their own past? Or is it an attempt to
prove their 'authenticity' to their new community that prompts them to
be 'more royalist than the King' sometimes?

I don't know. But
this phenomenon disturbs me. You see, Arabs are prejudiced enough
without new converts from other cultures feeding our cultural ego.
There was a time when I saw a role for new Muslims in opening up our
community & mentality. Perhaps, I thought, having brothers &
sisters join the Umma from other cultures would lead to more dialogue
& harmony & less of the siege mentality. I wanted new Muslims
to help give the Muslims masses a voice of reason they can easily
identify with.

So it really bugs me when a new Western Muslim
essentially sits around telling Arab Muslims Western society really is
as decadent & amoral & devoid of all good as our own media
likes to tell us it is and talking about the 'hypocracy' of Western
democracy. For the purpose of this discussion, I don't care about the
flaws of Western democracy. Of course it's not perfect. But it IS light
years ahead of us in terms of democracy & civil rights &
Western democracies are thus the best available role models around. To
tell us otherwise is to insult our intelligence and frankly, to
patronize us. It's like saying "Oh you know Whitehall isn't all it's
cracked up to be. You guys just stick with the likes of Saddam &
Mubarak & Gadafi."

This is not surprising, especially if you consider the people who do the converting themselves and the kind of stuff they tell them. I disagree with LouLou though, those who do join up and are anti-western were already anti-western to begin with. They just now have a good excuse for their feelings of alienation and hatred. Religion, in the cases of new converts, is neutral. You make of it what you wish, and Islam is no different. You want to go the route of Jihad, well, there is stuff for that. You want to go the route of Sufism, well, there is stuff supporting that as well. You choose if you hate or not, if you look down on western culture or not, and if you like Saudi or not. Plus, are we forgetting the idea that some people are just freakin weird? Maybe the idea of cutting off someone's hand for stealing appeals to them. Maybe Democracy is too much of a hassle. Maybe they don't like the baggage that comes from freedom of choice or manifest destiny. Some people love to be slaves in their sex lives, you don't think there are those who long to slaves for any ideology that will take them in real life? There are women who truly believe in Hijab people. Who view themselves as an evil lust-generating thing that must be covered, and they might've been born and raised in Amsterdam. Imagine the peace those women would find in Saudi.

Nahh, counting on new Muslims to change the outlook of Muslims is like expecting the new kids who just joined your clique in Highschool to change the social structure of the school and maybe hang out with the dweebs. Chances of it happening and succeeding ranges between 0 and 1%. So, yeah, no dice there. They will come in, and adopt the view of what they perceive to be the majority of Muslims (Thank you Media), which is jew-hating, western-despising misogynistic hateful diatribes and conspiracy theories. Until that changes, count the new Muslims in the "Problem" column, instead of the "solution".

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