The Devil We Don't Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle Eastby Nonie Darwish
Did the Arab Spring mark the beginning of a bright new future for the Middle East? Will it usher in a new era in which democracy will flourish, freedom of speech and religion will be seen as absolute rights, and economic opportunities will open to all? Or will the bright hopes lit by the Facebook revolution be drowned under waves of mob violence, police brutality,… See more details below
Did the Arab Spring mark the beginning of a bright new future for the Middle East? Will it usher in a new era in which democracy will flourish, freedom of speech and religion will be seen as absolute rights, and economic opportunities will open to all? Or will the bright hopes lit by the Facebook revolution be drowned under waves of mob violence, police brutality, and renewed repression? According to Middle East expert Nonie Darwish, there will be no democracy, no freedom, and no new economic opportunity, and the violence and repression have already begun. This should not surprise anyone, she says. We've seen it all before many times.
In The Devil We Don't Know, Darwish reveals the unpleasant truths behind the Arab Spring: the students, activists, and young professionals who initiated the Cairo protests represent only a tiny minority of Egypt's population. Other groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi, shared their desire to oust President Hosni Mubarak, but for entirely different reasons. Now that Mubarak is gone, says Darwish, these radical conservative factions have seized the initiative to further their own goals, including waging war on Israel, expelling Coptic Christians from Egypt, and engaging in jihad against non-Islamic nations.
Darwish presents a brief history of the cycle of revolution and dictatorship that has plagued Islamic nations of the Middle East since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923. She finds a common thread among all of these regimes, whether military, monarchist, or ideology driven. They have all been Islamic states in which sharia, the divine law of Islam, supersedes all others, forbidding freedom of speech and religion, as well as gender equality. Under sharia law, any ruler who refuses to conduct jihad and advocates peace with non-Muslim nations can be removed from office.
She describes how the rigid, authoritarian class structure demanded by sharia law precludes any possibility of democracy or equality, and she laments the fact that among all of the many placards carried by protesters in Tahrir Square in January 2011, she didn't see a single one demanding "Down with Sharia."
Darwish also examines the effect of the Islamic revolutions on the state of Israel, the rise of Islamic apostasy in recent years, and whether the uprisings have helped or hindered the budding Arab feminist movement. Further, she explores the impact of these rebellions on the West and whether they will lead to a reduction or an increase in terrorist attacks by Islamist groups.
Backing up all of her claims with hard facts and solid, well-reasoned arguments, Darwish makes it clear that she has no fear of controversy, and The Devil We Don't Know is sure to provoke plenty of that as events continue to unfold.
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