Friday, February 11, 2011

Is there a Muslim sisterhood, too?

In The Guardian today, popular Lacanian Slavoj Z. contemplates on the "miracle of Tahrir Square." To explain the revolutionary rupture that in his view accompanies the collapse of Mubarak's regime, he makes a troubling comparison:

In Shah of Shahs, a classic account of the Khomeini revolution, Ryszard Kapuscincki located the precise moment of this rupture: at a Tehran crossroads, a single demonstrator refused to budge when a policeman shouted at him to move, and the embarrassed policeman withdrew; within hours, all Tehran knew about this incident, and although street fights went on for weeks, everyone somehow knew the game was over.

I, too have been thinking a lot about "the Khomeini revolution" these past weeks, though I guess in a somewhat more defeatist way. Slavoj ends his piece by warning against the dangers of realpolitik, apparently choosing to forget how often in human history revolutionary enthusiasm has ended in slaughter. I kind of like realpolitik, especially if it is of the calm, pluralistic way of enlightened democracies. I'm an old-fashioned girl, as you know.

How long, I wonder, until the veil will become mandatory for Egyptian women, how long until women who refuse to obey it will be stuck in a bag and machine-gunned?


The Plump said...

Optimism is called for. I watched one of the demonstrators interviewed on TV. He was asked what country was most likely to be next to overthrow its dictator and his answer? Not an Arab country, it will be Iran.

This is different from Iran, no overseas theocrat posing as a national leader is flying in to galvanise the crowds, there is an explicit rejection of the concept of an Islamic state everywhere, there is Christian/Muslim unity - displayed before the revolution too when Muslims turned out to protect Christians from sectarian attacks. Every Egyptian is pointing out that this will not happen.

The same forces that were at work in the protests at the fraudulent elections in Iran - young people and disaffected workers - are those who made the revolution in Egypt. No one seems anxious to exchange one dictatorship for another.

And then there is thirty years of experience of the Iranian revolution to reflect on.

This article is typical of much that is coming from the protests. I may be wrong but it seems so different.

Jürgen Neubauer said...

I couldn't agree more, Mr. Plump. Check this out:

Your friend Slavoj Z., by the way, is a riot. I have to admit that I had never actually seen the man until I watched a half-hour interview with him on Al Jazeera. It was love at first sight. The longer his manic depressive forecast droned on, the happier I felt, until I knew: Everything will be just fine.