Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East

Read this book review by Nouri Lumendifi. I can't decide if I am more impressed with the book or the reviewer. After reading what appears to be a very scholarly review of an important newly-released book, I looked at the profile of the reviewer.

The profile description of the blogmaster of The Moor Next Door says he is seventeen years old! I have a hard time believing that. Kids that age just don't write like this. But apparently this one does.

Mission Statement of the Moor Next Door

"The Moor Next Door" is a blog whose purpose is to allow me to express myself and to provide a liberal look at Algerian, and Euro-Maghrebi/Middle Eastern affairs, as well as American, Algerian and European foreign policy. In addition, with this blog I seek to explore various theories of history and politics and how they relate to one another. Issues of nationalism, identity, history, religion, and the like as the fit into the previously mentioned contexts are intended to be the primary focus.

I write this blog with Americans, Europeans, North Africans, liberals, conservatives (in the Middle Eastern sense), and just about every other sort of folk in mind. I do not tailor my posts to them however. I'm not writing to please, but to inform. I base my opinions from facts and I formulate them from what I see and know. If you don't like them, you probably know something I do not, so tell me. I am open to different ideas.

You think that's impressive? Go look at his list of "favorite books."

Oh, and before I forget, this post is about the book he reviewed as well. I am struck by the similarity of how the word liberal may not have the same exact meaning in the Arab world as it does in America, but the word seems to carry a similar stigma. Fascinating, since those who advocate a "liberal" agenda there seem to be advancing the same values that American "conservatives" lay claim to. Problem is, laying claim to a value is not the same as practicing it. Catch this last paragraph:

Far out numbered by Islamist organizations and sympathizers, Arab liberals face incredible odds. Rubin’s conclusion, that the Arabs must realize their faults and shortcomings, while coming up with solutions to the "thousand and one difficulties" facing the region, is not likely to please ideologues from the nationalist or Islamist camps. The Long War for Freedom answers the oft asked questions of "Why don’t Arabs and Muslims speak out against terrorism and aggression?" or "Where are the Arab Democrats?" by providing an abundance of clear and unequivocal examples, and presenting the arguments of Arab liberals in their own words. Prospects are bleak, but campaigners are committed and bold. Rubin’s book offers little hope as to the growth of liberal movements; that isn’t its point. It rather presents profiles in courage of brave Arabs who are working to put back in place the simplest foundations for democratization and liberalization in the Arab world. Rubin’s book is a must read for those concerned with or interested in Middle Eastern politics or history.

Seems like neo-conservatism is a world-wide phenomenon. Passing as patriotism, preserving and protecting traditional values, it seems to me nothing more than old-fashioned fundamentalism. Hmm?

1 comment:

Fayrouz said...

Nour is a wonderful person.

The Arab world will become a better place when we have more Nours in that part of the world. For now, we're happy to have him in the States :-)