Today the world celebrates the end of WWII. Algeria also commemorates 8 May 1945, but for us Algerians, this day was a bloody sad one. Like most of the old world’s populations, the Algerian people wanted to share their happiness after the end of WWII and remind the French colonizer and the other victors that they existed and wanted their freedom back, so they organized some peaceful demonstrations. But France didn’t intend it that way and massacres were perpetrated in many parts of Algeria, especially in Setif, Guelma and Kherrata.
So the commemoration of these events is a good way so nobody forgets the past and how dearly paid was our independence. The commemoration should also remind France and the world of the ugliness and inhumanity of the colonisation system. These last years’ talks between Algeria and France, and the more recent questions which arouse in France around the “Outside of the law” movie, show that we probably need more frequent and stronger reminders if we want to convince everybody.
Having said this, I would like to deal with another aspect of these events.
I was reading a reply by the millitant communist André Ferrat to a ‘study’ which appeared in trotskyist review “La lutte de classe” in 1935 (that’s 75 years ago!). The ‘study’ in question was entitled “Les problèmes révolutionnaires de l’Algérie” and although I have not read it, it would appear from the response it provoked from Mr. Ferrat that it was an attempt to discredit the Algerian symptoms of the looming national revolution by resorting to a ‘pedantic’ analysis whose only concern was to produce a confused and self-contraditory ‘theoretical magma’. Reading this article, I was amused to find the same old and eternal arguments and the same old eternal replies to them. These arguments are still used today by the likes of Israel and the USA (and even some representatives of the ‘oppressed people’) and presented as ‘studies’ and ‘analyses’ of the palestinian and Islamic terrorism respectively. What also amused me in this article, is that the commies did not seem to all have the same interpretation of what Marx or Lenin had said or written. Reminded me of the recent financial crash and how the economists of the various schools started having a go at each other, each claiming that they detain the right interpretation of capitalist or socialist theories of the distribution of wealth. Nearly a century has passed since the publication of this exchange of ideas, everything seems to have changed so much, and yet, in the end, nothing has really changed.
I include here some excerpts from the article which have reminded me of post-modern arguments we have all heard from politicians in the context of the various violent conflicts which are taking place in the world today. Take excerpt A for example: Continue reading →
I came across this new poll made by YouGov and thought the results were interesting: Apparently most Arabs from the Gulf countries think Iran is a bigger threat than Israel. I knew this was the Gulf states’ opinion but it puzzles me coming from the population.
I couldn’t find the original poll data and have no figures per country, but anyway I wonder whether this feeling is caused by some political aspects or religious ones or both. And what role does the Arabic Nationalism play in it?
Shiite movements started as a political group during the Ali/Muawiya conflict. They continued during the Omayyad period and also the Abbassid caliphate while getting an ideological background which was necessary for the movement’s perennity. Their historical foundation added to their clerical institution, and now Iran’s existence as an Islamic republic strengthened the religious and political ties.
As to the Arabs, I guess I can divide the Arab world into two parts, the usual ones: Continue reading →
Qunfuz is one of the blogs I enjoy reading regularly. In one of the most recent posts (entitled: “The end of the Arabs?“), the author speaks about the different visions behind (pan-) Arabism and why almost all of them have failed. What I like most about this analysis is the persistent optimism that Arabism may still work but it will demand a radical change in perspective. In fact, it will demand such a radical change that it will not be Arabism anymore – not as we have always been lectured on it anyway. Some quotes from the blog:
The definition of ‘Arab’ has expanded over the last hundred and fifty years from describing tribal nomads as opposed to townsmen, to describing the people of the Arabian peninsula, and then to describe all from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf who share the heritage of the Arabic language.
The Ba’ath Party went so far as to find religious significance in ‘Arab,’ as is evident from the slogan ‘One Arab Nation bearing an Eternal Message.’ The ‘risala’ or message is what Arabs would previously have assumed to be the revelation of the Prophet (more often called Messenger in Arabic) Muhammad. The word used for ‘nation’ is ‘umma’ – a word previously used to denote the international Muslim community. In fact, Ba’athism should be seen as one of the twentieth century’s many attempts to compensate for the collapse of traditional religion (Nazism, Zionism, Stalinism, contemporary Wahhabism and hedonist consumerism are others). Continue reading →