If you didn’t read Slavoj Žiže’s essay over at The Guardian, “Why fear the Arab revolutionary spirit?,” you missed this: Western liberals think the only end result of any sort of Arab revolution will lead to either:
A) The Taliban taking over.
B) A sequel to Iran, 1979.
Žižek puts into words a lot of the things I’ve been thinking over the last few days as I monitor media coverage of the unfolding events. I think of any riot or large-scale protest in recent Western history, and I’m constantly reminded by somebody that –whether it be smashing windows during the WTO or French workers taking to the streets to protest pension cuts– these people are angry. It’s somewhat natural, it’s almost acceptable, and the aftermath is looked at in an almost romantic way. Take the Paris riots of ’68 or the Chicago Democratic convention protests of the same year: while not entirely similar to what’s currently taking place in the streets of Cairo, all of these movements are similar in the fact that they are youth based.
“Admiration for Egypt’s youth was a common theme running through the crowd. “I’m ashamed of my generation. We old people sat back and lived through decades of corruption without lifting a finger,” said Aza el-Hadari, a 63-year-old bookshop owner. “This new generation has given me the best years of my life back.”
The youth of Egypt want something different and what is happening in there is a true youth movement unlike anything that is packaged and sold to Western kids as ‘rebellion.’
Žižek is absolutely right in his essay, and since we aren’t able to predict the future, we should be supportive of this current revolution, and support the Egyptian peoples willingness to fight for their freedom. Otherwise we should feel ashamed of our hypocrisy.
(Photo via the AP)