Monday, February 21, 2011

Egypt uprising: Is it internet driven?

The western and the Indian media, have blown the role of Facebook and Twitter so much out of proportion as if there would have been no revolution without them. What they tend to forget is that the ideology, the leadership, the zeal and motivating factors are more important than means.

There seems to be a grand design to undermine the very message of the revolution. There is a need to explode the myth of internet in bringing about the revolution. It is true it played its role, but attributing the revolution just to internet is simply unacceptable. Egypt still has a big number of computer illiterates, who took to streets on their own.

Much less is being actually written about the ideology, which motivated Tunisians and Egyptians to take to streets for so many days till they ultimately succeeded in getting rid of Ben Ali and Mubarak respectively. Yes, the movements were against the dictators and Tunisians and Egyptians eagerly wanted to have government which enjoyed people’s mandate. But they wanted more than that, which the media didn’t highlight.

There is strong element of anti-Americanism and anti-Westernism in these big upsurges, but this aspect is deliberately being ignored or underplayed. In case of Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood factor is being highlighted but sometimes with the element of doubt. The West once again wants to project that the revolutionaries are impressed by democracy in Europe and the United States and so, one way or the other, want to adopt their version of Democracy.

The truth is that the concept of government based on people’s mandate is much older in Islam than the West, which partially introduced it with hardly any success for the first time after the French Revolution of 1789. In fact what they now call as liberal democracy is fairly a recent development with countries like France, the so-called nursery of democratic change, permitting its women to vote for the first time in 1945. Even in the United States and several other countries this total democracy is a recent phenomenon, in which all its citizens, including Blacks and women were allowed to vote. In fact in Australia hunting of aboriginals was legal till only half a century back, not to speak of giving voting right to them. In fact India gave voting rights to all its citizens much before several western countries––Spain, Portugal are a few examples.

So when they talk of Muslim Brotherhood, it needs to be highlighted that its concept of government having people’s mandate, has its roots in the immediate aftermath of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and not that of the western democracy of 20th or 21st centuries. The Brotherhood was formed in 1928, much before many western countries became democratic. From its founder Hasan-al-Bannah to Sayed Qutub and Mohammad Qutub––all of them are no more alive––have dealt in great details about Islam as a way of life in their writings.
The emergence and subsequent electoral victory of Hamas in Gaza has more to do with this idea rather than of the western democracy. In fact the champion of modern democracy, the United States, has always been opposed to the election victory of Hamas in 2006 and the West never gave it legitimacy.

The western writers, journalists, and other public opinion-makers are trying to take some credit for whatever is happening in Egypt or in other Arab countries, but there is no scope for it. Had the Communist ideology been powerful as in the past, they would have some satisfaction as after all it is also a western idea. Now that they have made no contribution they are repeatedly playing up the internet theory.

True Egypt is yet to see the emergence of leader like Erbakan in Turkey or Ayotullah Khomeini in Iran, but the ideology of Islam has played a big role in bringing the people to the streets. With large number of woman-marchers clad in burqa and demonstrators offering namaz (prayer) give fair amount of idea that the revolution has Islamic color.

But the problem with the western media is that over the years, they have distorted the image of Islam so much that it has become a sort of synonym to terrorism. How can they now say that Islam believes in peaceful political change like the one which is happening now?

So if the revolutionaries refused to resort to violence in spite of provocation by Mubarak’s agents, the West was quick to conclude that those who were protesting were modern-minded liberals who wanted a western democracy.

In spite of so much information explosion, the world perhaps knows more about the role of the Google executive Wael Ghonim in bringing people to the streets than about the Supreme Guide of Muslim Brotherhood Mohammad Badie––not to confuse it with Nobel Prize winner Mohammad El-Baradei.
Badie, 68, is himself a professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Beni Suef and was named by the Egyptian State Information Service in its annual listing as one of the top one hundred Arab scientists. He is also the founder of the Higher Veterinary Institute of the Arab Republic of Yemen. Yet the name of this great scholar is hardly visible in the western media as he does not fit in the western scheme of thing.

Soroor Ahmed in Two circles. More Here.

1 comment:

Muhammad Shafee said...

Well said.


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