“The Arab spring” has destroyed two most popular demagogies of the democratic world. The first demagogy is the necessity of struggle against tyranny only by peaceful methods. The second is that democracy and Islam are incompatible.
We spoke about the first demagogy in the previous articles. We can add here only the following: the preachers of a peaceful transition to democracy rely on the leaders known for the sermon of nonviolent struggle. One of them, of course, is Mahatma Gandhi.
But other leaders can’t be included into this category as they were not the supporters of nonviolent struggle against the tyranny at all or were the supporters for a very short period. The most vivid example of such leaders is Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela was under Gandhi’s influence only in his youth, but soon he realized an absolute inefficiency of this method in existing political trend. The irony of it is that when he was the supporter of nonviolent struggle (December, 1956), Mandela and more than 150 people were arrested by the authorities and were charged with the treason and the preparation of a violent overthrow of the existing power.
In 1959, the new group of black people has torn its ties with the African National Congress (ANC), demanding the acceptance of more drastic actions against the regime of the National Party.
In 1961, Nelson Mandela has at last become the leader of «The Spear of the Nation», the armed wing of the ANC. As a result, he initiated a policy of sabotage against the government and the military and which allowed the support of a guerrilla war in case of failure in struggle against the apartheid regime. Thus, Nelson Mandela has managed to get a financial support from abroad and to organize a military training for the wing’s members.
According to Mandela, the armed struggle has become the last instance. The years of growing reprisal and violence from the state convinced him that nonviolent struggle against the apartheid’s regime has not brought and could not bring the expected results.
Now, think of 22 years of peaceful activity of the Uzbek opposition despite the growing reprisal and violence from the Uzbek authorities. From the beginning, the Uzbek opposition was accused of preparation of a violent overthrow of the existing regime in Uzbekistan!
This is the irony of our destiny. We could not prove that we don’t want to dethrone this regime in such a way. How is it possible to prove something that doesn’t exist?
None of us has said that Karimov’s regime is a 100 times worse than the apartheid regime and God ordered us to answer with violence against violence of this bloody regime.
When, in 2005, after the massacre of peaceful demonstrators in Andizhan, the mayor of London — the center of democracy – has declared that it’s necessary to struggle only with weapons in arms against such regimes as Karimov’s, the liberals of the West froze in deep silence. It was the first public blow to demagogy of nonviolent struggle against tyranny. But almost nobody has felt it, especially the dictators. The noticeable, tremendous blow has been delivered by “the Arab spring”.
This blow has legitimized the armed struggle against the world’s monsters.
Now, here are some thoughts about the incompatibility of democracy and Islam.
In the beginning of the revolutionary process in the Arab world, nobody has dared to predict the future of these countries, which have suddenly entered into political turbulence. The West was not ready to comprehend quickly this event and to offer any strategy on a new arrangement of political regimes, which mostly suited it in the past. Most likely, the radical decision (the military intrusion) of the NATO regarding Libya was based on the hope of emerging of even more compliant regime than the Gaddafi’ regime.
Alexander Rar, a German political scientist of a Russian origin has expressed a “wreck of this hope” by saying: «It’s necessary to recognize that «the Arab spring» didn’t take place. In the East, the Islamization is going on instead of the democratization; we see who wins the elections, we see how it occurs. Our idea of freedom runs across alternatives and it’s impossible not to see it».
The alternative, on which the West runs across, is a new type of political regimes where democracy and Islam could co-exist. Apparently, according to Mr. Rar, such type of a political regime is perceived with difficultly not only by the Islamic radicals, but also by the radicals from democracy.
The statement «In the East, the Islamization is going on» shows a lack of knowledge of the East and a wrong perception of its history and reality. Over there, the Islamization has been going on for 1500 years.
It’s time to understand that Muslims will never give up their religion for the sake of any other ideology, even for the sake of democracy.
Post-revolutionary events in the Arab world have destroyed demagogy about a natural hostility between Islam and democracy, which some politicians have been using for many years.
The first statements about a possibility of coexistence of Islam and democracy have been made in the mid-nineties of the last century. It was the obvious discord in the general chorus of enemies of Islam in the democratic world. It’s remembered how Gram Fuller, an analyst from «Rand Corporation», citing as an example Islamic parties of Turkey, has advised the researchers of political Islam to approach this problem not as «Islam and democracy», but as «Muslims and democracy».
Such a foreshortening of the question would help to see a flexibility of Islam as a part of political perception of the world.
However, the critics of such a method have accused the liberals similar to Mr. Fuller that they promoted the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalism, preventing its extermination on time. They cited as an example Afghan mujahedeen that didn’t become democrats in spite of many years of cooperation with Americans during a joint struggle in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation.
Now, after the Egypt people have elected the President by the universal voting as it’s done on the West and the «Brothers Muslims» (that were the symbol of the anti-western movement and by whom used to threaten with until recently) won majority of seats in Parliament, new arguments are required to prove the incompatibility of Islam and democracy.
The fall of demagogy is present.
How will it be reflected on a political life of the Muslim countries of the Central Asia?
During the last year, dictatorial regimes similar to Karimov’s didn’t feel comfortable even under a wing of the West that was compelled to “close its eyes” on their crimes for the sake of «corridor» from Afghanistan. Law enforcement bodies of Uzbekistan continue to arrest and send «unreliable» religious believers to the camp of death «Zhaslyk» without any investigation and trial. (Indeed, in Uzbekistan, Islam (Karimov) and democracy are incompatible!). Shadowing after the members of opposition has increased. Control over Internet users in big cities is even more toughened.
It’s because a year of 2011 was not the best year for Central Asia’s dictators. The Arab spring has delivered the strong psychological blow. They have not recovered from this shock yet.
The shock was so strong that it’s even reflected in documents of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization where the countries of Central Asia have membership. According to the analysts, the fear of the dictators rests in the heart of these long, boring documents. But the aim is expressed quite clear. According to the newspaper «Commersant», in these resolutions the accurate list of the actions is provided, which are directed against a hypothetical «spring» similar to the «Arab spring».
Nevertheless, if after the elections, Muslims in Egypt will manage to establish a true stability and show to the world that they are capable to rule the country in a way of a lawful state it will make a huge impact on the subsequent course of events not only in the Arab world but also in all East, including Central Asia. Everyone will see a wreck of myths about Islam and Muslims, the defeat of the world Islamophobia.
Islam, since its emergence, has lived side by side with heresy; why it would not be able to live side by side with democracy?
Islam is able and does live alongside with democracy.
It cuts the ground from under feet of our dictators that still live embracing a scarecrow of Islamic fundamentalism; it will deprive them of their status of the outpost against «the invasion of Islamic radicalism from the South».
In turn, it will give the strong impulse to still hesitating liberal Muslim groups to enter into a political spectrum and join the struggle for political power in a legitimate environment, which «the Arab spring» has created.