Meeting with a book has sometimes to do with luck. Sometimes it is because you are at the airport with some foreign currency which you couldn’t spend even after you visited the restaurant, the café and the duty-free shops. And then you spot a book with a catchy title and the right price to empty your wallet. So you buy it and read it during the 12 hours-long flight. Then you decide to write a review because you have nothing more interesting to write about.
This is what happened to me and this book.
Well, not exactly. I decided to write this post because the book’s topic is essential in our present days where so many wars are said to be launched against Islam-ist groups and threat.
In “A world without Islam“, Graham Fueller tries to picture a world where Islam wouldn’t have existed and considers the current trends to find out whether they would have been different or not. Would there still be a war on terror, a clash of civilisations, hatred towards the US, etc. Continue reading →
So the Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union “for [having] over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” Wikipedia says the prize is worth US$1.2 million. I wonder if EU will give the money to Greece or Spain or… Goldman Sachs. Perhaps this prize will revive rating agencies’ faith in the EU and encourage them to stop lowering their ratings. L’espoir fait vivre… Continue reading →
Many videos on youtube speak about Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Arab Spring events. This channel based in Qatar has been accused by many as being a collaborator with ‘foreign agents’ working to destabilize the region and serve the interests of foreign powers. I am posting here a specimen of such videos which I chose because it speaks specifically about what Al Jazeera’s plans are for Algeria:
So Gaddafi’s dead, and with his death ends the reign of three North African dictators. I won’t talk of the way he’s been killed or on whether he’ll be buried or not. Useless details if you ask me. What is important is the way the situation will evolve in Libya. I of course wish the best for the Libyan people but I must say I am not convinced at all the Libyans will be free in an independent state given the conditions of Gaddafi’s regime fall. I obviously mean the NATO and its Arab lackeys’ military intervention and the influence they have in the ill-conceived NTC’s Libya. Many share this opinion but many make the mistake of calling Gaddafi a martyr and his military resistance. I neither mourn nor celebrate Gaddafi’s death. The fact I do not like the NATO military intervention doesn’t make me forget who the Guide was. A similar feeling was created among the public (and I mean the Algerian public) after Saddam’s execution.
The topic of this post is not only about Libya. It’s on one of the reasons why I do not like the NTC and their likes, the perception of treason. The so-called Arab Spring, which started in winter and has yet to reach an end after three seasons, did raise this point. Who are the people leading the movements/uprisings/revolutions? Where did they train? What are their relations with foreign governmental and non-governmental organisations? Are they patriots or traitors?
These are not my words!
This week two men declared many of their Muslim fellows were not Muslim anymore.
One of them is a Saudi scholar, Sheikh Al Barrak, who followed a certain logic to eventually reach the conclusion that whoever denies that men/women mixing is religiously illegal (haram) must be considered as an apostate and should be killed. This topic is a serious and complex jurisprudence matter, and specialists disagree over it; so I won’t discuss it here. As we know the vocabulary is important, so the full text in the original language can be found on his web site.
The second case has nothing to do with the first one despite them being grouped in this post.
The second man is new to the Islamic jurisprudence. He probably ignores a lot in this field but his ignorance didn’t prevent him from declaring the apostasy of many Muslims. Thank God he didn’t call for their killing. This man is the Libyan president Mouammar Gaddafi. In the video below he declares djihad on Switzerland and says that any Muslim who doesn’t boycott this country is an enemy of Allah.
The Libyan/Swiss relations faced a first crisis in 2008 when the Swiss police jailed the Colonel’s son (Hannibal) for two days. At that time, Gaddafi decided to remove all his money from the Swiss banks, and the Swiss authorities had no choice but to apologize. More recently, the Swiss government decided to deny the visa for many Libyan citizens (leaders). This angered the Colonel who retaliated with a visa ban for all the European citizens. At that point, the European Union tried to fix things as it seems nobody wants to anger Gaddafi, and Algeria said it supported Libya in its “battle”.
But now, he took the opportunity of Almawlid, and used the excuses of the recent Swiss referendum, to declare djihad on Switzerland. I wonder who would follow him there!
The 14th ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union which took place between 25/01 and 02/02 in Addis Ababa reminded me of the interesting positions of the Arab states leaders in the African rulers longevity ranking.
We can indeed find three of them in the top 10 with Libyan Muammar Gaddafi (1st), Egyptian Hosni Mubarak and Tunisian Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. And if we consider the Algerian ruling system specificity (same people behind a changeable president) and the Moroccan monarchy (with different kings) we can safely add them to this top 10 list.
These regimes are still in power despite the will and hopes of their populations, and the means they use to stay in charge have little to do with democracy. But for some reason, these rulers always seek legitimacy arguments. I bet it is because they feel for their peoples and want to ease the pain their presence created and nourishes. And by providing such ingredients to the populations, they help them feel better and happily accept to follow these leaders they never chose. Such arguments could even have the surprising effect of turning parts of the populations into genuine supporters of these leaders.
Therefore, I decided to organise a sort of contest of the best legitimacy arguments. I must warn you though, I don’t know much about the internal affairs of most of these states, so it’s not advised to take the results too seriously. Continue reading →
From right to left: Muammar Gaddafi, Muawiya Ould Sid Ahmed Tayaa, Chadli Benjdid, Hassan II, Zine Elabidine Benali
Elkhabar reported today that Algeria made a new proposal to revive the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA). The Algerian idea aims at changing the structures and internal rules of the union so that the political aspect doesn’t hinder the other activities.
The only concrete souvenir I have of the UMA is this picture which many Algerians saw on their national TV or in their school books. It reminds us that 21 years have passed without making any significant advance on the union construction.
We remember Gaddafi’s famous phrase ‘we should put the union in the freezer’, but the most important setback to the UMA construction was definitely the 1994 problems between Algeria and Morocco and the closing of the land borders. This event almost paralysed the union.
Now Morocco says there will be no progress before the borders are opened again, and Algeria says they won’t open them before dealing with many aspects such as security, smuggling, drug traffic, etc. Not to forget the Western Sahara question. And I don’t think these issues will be solved any soon.
And anyway, despite some collaborations at the union level or bilaterally between the union members, the UMA has never been efficient as witnessed for e.g. by the member states negotiating individually with the European Union.
That’s what apparently pushed Algeria to make its pragmatic suggestion, and try to revive an economic union since a political one is not possible today.Elkhabar said that Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania welcomed the Algerian proposal while Morocco reminded of its conditions for “normalisation”.
A meeting is scheduled in Algiers next June and we will see what will happen. Until then, the UMA’s realised objectives list will remain as empty as its missions’ web page.