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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

No Wonder

I used to wonder if the muslim moderates and secularists would one day win the ideological war with the islamist fundamentalist fanatics. Now, after reading Sayed Al Qimni’s interview (Hattip BP) I have come to this conclusion: the moderates will never win that war. The reason? They are not willing to kill or die for their beliefs. Moneyshot: Were you pressured by friends or authorities to stop? No. The truth is that the authorities ignored the threats for four days. I was trying to get ahold of them. The threats gave me a week to announce my repentance of all that I had written. I contacted the police and nobody answered. So finally I issued my statement announcing that I would stop writing. Only after the media responded did the police start to care. I have two guards outside my door, but we’re in Egypt. You think this is enough? You saw Sharm. There were 200 soldiers guarding the hotels and they got hit. One of my guards has bilharzia, the other is sick too. What are they going to protect? If you stop writing, haven’t the terrorists won? No, I don’t care about anything that I have written. I care about my life. If I kept writing, I would have been killed, even if I was in the middle of Lazoghli, or in Sharm. I understand these people. I know well what they want and I gave it to them. Look, I am one of the people who believes that this is a war of ideas, that it’s best fought in the minds of people then on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran. The problem lies in the fact that while Ideas are bulletproof, the people who have them aren’t, and they are not being protected by those who desperately need them to win this war. I completely understand Sayed's position: the man has no choice and no protection. God knows our police are too busy beating up Anti-Mubarak protesters to actually do their jobs. You know, sometimes I think I have a totally wrong view on this issue, that maybe the moderates are not fighting right by only using pens and ideas; that maybe this shouldn’t be treated as a war of ideas, but an actual war, in order for it to be won; that maybe the moderates should advocate killing those who find their ideas so threatening that they want them dead. And then I look at this sentence I just wrote and think: “the moderates should advocate killing those who find their ideas so threatening? What kind of moderates would do that? If this is the case, how can they be called moderates?” Maybe what we need then is a group of fanatical extremists secularists that will wage a holy War on the Jihadies everywhere, so that moderates and centrists would seem like the sane alternative. We need people who are vicious, who will not be deterred by death threats and who will not be stopped no matter what the stakes are, who are so dedicated to the principles of secularism that they will fight any sign of any activity held by organized religion people, and who are willing to be martyrs for that cause. I never thought I would ever say those words, but I am starting to think we need , in this War, the ACLU. Maybe we should just import the ACLU to Egypt, that should make Egyptians on the religious right miserable, which, let's face it, that's the kind of stuff that the ACLU people live for. Not to mention, they could fight for freedom of religion, women's rights and civil liberties in a country that truly needs those things, instead of just spending their time suing schools for having religious symbols or for removing the words "Under God" from the pledge of allegiance. You know? It's their destiny man! Their prupose; what they are here on earth to do. Time for them to get off their lazy asses, to come down here and fullfill it! Hmm........


At 8/03/2005 03:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post SM,

This brings to mind the model of Ataturk in Turkey who imposed with an iron will into a truly secular country. I used not to like this approach with all talks about gradual transition, democratic reform, inclusion and not exclusion. However, lately, one begins to appreciate the use of an iron-hand to impose reform. Mohammad Ali did it somewhat in Egypt back in the old days.
Or just forget the above and let us just keep on blogging and writing until we are struck by lighting or extra-terrestials coming to free our land.

An Egyptian in Germany

At 8/03/2005 05:46:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, take the ACLU. Please. Pretty pleeese.
Then the terrs can do a Berg on them. The ACLU isn't what you think it is. They are an elitest group that has no interest in any sort of freedom, beyond their own. The ACLU ONLY protects the ideas they find 'suitable'. That makes them different from Mubarak in means, not goals.
Actually, there is a group waging jihad on the jihadists. They are called the U.S. Marine Corps.
Jaw Jaw is better then War War, however, there are those people who just won't Jaw Jaw. For them we have the Marines. Semper Fi, Mac.

At 8/03/2005 06:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ACLU? I'm afraid you're wrong there, Sandmonkey. The ACLU is only interested in prosecuting Christians. They don't care enough about Islam or Allah to fight for you guys. Secondly, under a regime like Mubarak's, the ACLU would wither away like a weed plant that's just been sprayed with poison. Lastly, the ACLU only seem tough because they know they can mouth off in the US and still be protected by our civil rights. Egypt is not their safe zone to operate in. One threat from the terrorists and the ACLU guys will piss in their girly panties, turn yellow, and run out of Egypt faster than a cow that's just been castrated.


At 8/03/2005 07:20:00 AM, Blogger Louise said...

Psstt. Jonas. It's bulls that are castrated.

Otherwise, you are right on the button.

At 8/03/2005 08:20:00 AM, Blogger aliandra said...


You can have the ACLU if you want it, Sandmonkey. But it will be bad for Egypt's tourism industry as they will set themselves to tearing down every ancient temple that has the misfortune to be sitting in a public place.

And all those Eyes of Ra will have to go too.

Don't say you weren't warned.

At 8/03/2005 08:39:00 AM, Blogger jj mollo said...

Any country is susceptible to these fascist control freaks. Even Germany, so often considered to be the very best representative of Civilization, was gobbled up by the Nazis. In the US, the South was under the thumb of the fascist KKK until 1965 or so. It is the same story always, and you must fight it.

Europe and the US did not win their freedom without bloodshed, but it is true that we have to have something to motivate us. It is true that serious Christians will not kill for their freedoms, but they will die for them (see MLK). In the US, at least, we also have a secular religion whose major document is the Constitution. There are many who will die or kill to protect that, but more importantly, there are many who will live their lives to protect the Constitution. The ACLU represents one such group. Their first Commandment is, "Thou shalt preserve freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to peaceably assemble." They cause a lot of friction, and in my opinion, are wrong as often as they are right. Nevertheless, it is this kind of active political agitation that keeps our government honest.

Turkey, Singapore, and arguably Chile are the only places I know of where the leader was sufficiently strong, sufficiently ruthless, and sufficiently decent to create self-sustaining political havens of sanity. If you think Mubarak is such a man, you should support him with all your strength. If you don't, you need to create an object of secular worship and use it to subvert the cruel values of the religous fascists.

At 8/03/2005 12:07:00 PM, Anonymous Lily Downing said...

I suspect that many of the people who read this blog lack a historical perspective and are unaware how very important the ACLU has been with regard to protecting individual rights in the US since it's founding in 1920. While these days they seem to do little of value and much that is a nuisance, the concept of a civil liberties union in Egypt is a good one.

Respecting the rule of law and the rights of individuals is an almost unheard of concept in arab countries. An organization which is willing to defend those rights and to insist on the rule of law would possibly be a good element in the effort to promote liberty and prosperity in the middle east.

At 8/03/2005 12:20:00 PM, Anonymous PE said...

The ACLU is an organization that merely attempts to protect people's civil liberties. They do this through court cases. If what they advocate is within the realms of the law, they win the case, if it's not, they lose. It's that simple. They operate wholly within the law and do a lot to protect America's legal system.

At 8/03/2005 12:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about YOU establish the ECLU? I think that you could do it! Oh wait, y'all need to establish civil liberties first don't you? Well, go ahead and run for office like your family wants and take care of that. Good Luck


At 8/03/2005 07:55:00 PM, Blogger madtom said...

The answer is that the whole region needs more elections. That way sometimes you get a Carter, and sometimes you get a Bush. Somewhere in the middle live all the moderates, and the whacko's never take over for long.

At 8/03/2005 08:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to retool the CIA,KGB,Mossad etc. When radical clerics open there mouth,just put a bullet between their eyes. Eventually,they'll get the message.

At 8/03/2005 09:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love when people claim they know history but don't!The ACLU's founder said somethign to the effect that the only way America would accept socialism was by the way of the Judical branch and that once done they woould wonder how it happened.Sound familiar?

I suspect that there are enough true blues to fight,have faith!:)

At 8/03/2005 09:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I will be killed for above typo's by the left(they so love to do that about spelling,it's a diversion) but the info is true,look up the founder and his word's.They(ACLU) were not founded for civil rights but for their own agenda!

At 8/03/2005 09:55:00 PM, Anonymous ryan said...

What is missing in all of this is any mention of specific limitations on the government. Government is about power.

What scares me is that it seems like secularism in middle east parlance just means socialism as a religion instead of islam. This sounds very similar to the french revolution where limited government did not win out.

If its just a fight between who gets the power, cloaked by saying, "we will run the government better". i don't see how that can be resolved.

In England and America we started with limitations on the governments power. The social freedoms came after.

Great posts SM. Maybe instead of asking what you want from america...it should be what you dont' want from mubarak.

At 8/04/2005 05:05:00 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Yes, it is true that the ACLU was founded as, and still is, a communist front organization. Ther name was chosen simply to confuse opponents and occasionally, though rarely do they represent the right side.

An Egyptian Civil Liberties Union, on the surface, is a good idea. However, like it was pointed out above, there must FIRST BE civil liberties in Egypt.

In the war of ideas, some people do NOT recognize a logical argument. If they do not recognize logic and rationality, then they certainly cannot respond with such. These people, likened to animals, are the ones who respond to rationality with the use of force.

Since all they understand is the use of force, then force must be used against them to counter their "arguments."

At 8/04/2005 05:41:00 AM, Anonymous Alaa said...

FYI there are several Egyptian organizations actively working on protecting civil liberties, mostly through courts.

in the case of freedom of speech, we had many high profile cases where ad-hoc committees where organized to campaign and help the lawyers.

At 8/04/2005 07:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Originally posted by Louise

Psstt. Jonas. It's bulls that are castrated.

Otherwise, you are right on the button.

LMAO, I know it's bulls, but while typing it, "Bart Simpson and cows" were on my mind, so I typed it. I think it sounds funnier with cows. LOL


At 8/04/2005 12:09:00 PM, Blogger Arturo Jimenez said...

The founder of the ACLU, Roger Baldwin, was indeed a Communist in his early years: he stated "I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is, of course, the goal.

However, he became somewhat disillusioned and claimed to break ties with Communism in 1939 due to the Nazi-Soviet pact, and did become openly critical of the Soviet Union. In 1953 he wrote A New Slavery, Forced Labor and the Communist Betrayal of Human Rights, a polemnic against rights abuses in the USSR.

In 1947, Douglas MacArthur, no "red" himself, invited Baldwin to help establish a civil rights program in Japan. In 1948 Baldwin did the same in Austria and American Sector Germany.

The organization has also been active in promoting freedom to read, arguing against censorship of Ulysses, The Canturbury Tales, and even Harry Potter among others.

But the ACLU, though slightly more moderate than in its earlier days, has remained decidedly left of center.

As for today, the organization does seem to take up bizarre and irrelevant cases like the Los Angeles city seal. They have been heavily critical of Bush, Ashcroft, et al, but were relatively silent during the events at Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Elian Gonzalez's house during Clinton's time. I wouldn't say that the majority of the card-carrying members in the ACLU today are also CPUSA hardliners hoping for revolution, but their political bias is very clear.

Still, as you've implied SM, an organization like the ECLU would be helpful, to not only criticize Mubarak on the basis of civil rights, but also to help counter the religious extremists (dangerous jobs, both of them).

At 8/04/2005 04:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't need the ACLU, you need the FBI.

At 8/05/2005 05:51:00 AM, Blogger Jen said...

ACLU, FBI, all of these rely on the rule of law. The basis of any protection under the law is that the law is a mutually agreed upon, inviolate thing. At base, every U.S. citizen shares a reverence for and devotion to our Constitution and our arguments are only over interpretation and application. But the rule of law is a thoroughly established fact of our society, both making possible organizations such as the ACLU, the FBI, even the Marines, and at the same time limiting their power.

This is what Egypt (and much of the rest of the world, IMO) needs.

At 8/05/2005 10:05:00 AM, Blogger programmer craig said...

Jen said:

#But the rule of law is a
#thoroughly established fact
#of our society

Yes, but that didn't stop the Ku Klux Klan from terrorizing blacks in the south for nearly a century after the civil war!

The Germans had a lawful society in the 20s and 30s when the Nazis rose to power.

I think terrorism is in the same category. I don't believe the terrorists are disaffected and alienated lunatics like they are portrayed in the news so often. The KKK became... unimportant... when they lost all their support from the community. When whites decided, collectively, that the KKK was a despicable organization and that it couldn't be tolerated. The Nazis faded into history when the entire world came to the same conclusion about them. When organizations like those are considered to be shameful, people don't join them. People aren't open to being indoctrinated into a set of beliefs that are looked down upon my the rest of society.

It's NOT easy to force violent groups out of a society when they have any degree of support in the community. Look at criminal gangs in Los Angeles for instance. You can drive down the street and point out the gangmembers. You can even see them doing drug deals and engaging in other criminal activity. The people in those neighborhoods are scared to do anything about it, because they are afriad they'll be murdered. But, those gang members are not outsiders. They grew up in that neighborhood, and their families live in that neighborhood, and their families raised them gangmembers, and their families are raising more gangmembers.

There's no easy solution to societal problems like this. Society has to change, but how do you change a society?

At 8/05/2005 03:51:00 PM, Blogger Brian H said...

So, SM, you want an anti-Jihad Jihad? A Jihad to eliminate all Jihads and jihadists? Sounds weird.

But the dilemma is real, of course. How do you use civilization to defeat unrestrained barbarity? Almost always it requires vigorous use of considerable numbers of semi-restrained semi-barbarians of your own. You certainly can't use pure suasion and passivity. (There was a great typo I saw the other day, by the way -- "Passivists". Those who advocate militant passivity to defeat violent radicals.)

Hmmm indeed.


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