Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Carthago Delenda Est?

Rachid Ghannoushi, whose daughter Soumaya is so ubiquitous at the moment, is on his way back to Tunisia, to re-establish An Nahda there. Of course, it is "only" comparable to its close friends, his translators, the ruling AKP in Turkey. So that's all right, then. Isn't it? How about Tunisia in NATO? Or Tunisia in the EU, with An Nahda legislating for us, just as the AKP will soon be doing, and just as all manner of other undesirables already do?

Israel, Egypt, Turkey, the Gulf monarchs, the Saudi proxies in Lebanon, and now Turkey's little helper in Tunisia, whatever the unreconstructed Communists who actually staged the uprising there might have wanted (and whose kind has been legislating for us at Brussels and Strasbourg since 1973): the Middle East is being turned into what most people in the West have been conned into believing that it has always been, with no indigenous Christians, and with no place of safety for Jews unless they sign up to Zionism. Even the sort of ghastly regime that the West used to indulge, and continues to indulge elsewhere in the world, simply has to go.

At Israeli, Egyptian, Turkish and Saudi instigation, the large and previously secure Christian minority in one of the most populous Arab countries has been used as bait with which to attract jihadis, a country with reserved parliamentary representation for Jews and Christians must be nuked, a country with Christian festivals as public holidays and which is busily restoring Jewish holy sites is next in line, and a Christian-Muslim alliance which is restoring an historic synagogue is not recognised as the respected Opposition within a pluralist and Westward-looking democracy, but rather is demonised as a gang of Islamist terrorists.

In that last case, the aim seems to be to hand over Lebanon to the Saudis' sponsorees in order to prove the Likudnik and neoconservative point: "Remember when there were lots of Christians in Lebanon, and you heard French on the streets of Beirut? But it's all gone now. Arabs, eh? What are they like?" For that matter, "Remember when you heard French on the streets of Tunis? But it's all gone now. Arabs, eh? What are they like?" Well, what are Phoenicians like? Carthage may be gone for now, and may indeed have been gone for a long time. But Sidon and Tyre are not.

The old deal was that the Christians would give up appealing to Europe, especially France, and recognise that Lebanon was an Arab country, while the Muslims would give up agitating for union with Syria and recognise that Lebanon was independent and indivisible. The March 8 Alliance embodies the changed reality, that both the ties to the West (especially Europe, at least while America remains as she is) and the ties to Syria (and to Iran) are now essential to maintaining Lebanon's independence, her indivisibility, and her Levantine character, itself a living witness to a way of being Arab radically different from that propagated out of Riyadh.

That Alliance should commit itself to recognising French once and for all as an official language equal to Arabic, to reflecting the increasing situation on the ground by doing the same for English, to strengthening ties within the Francophonie, and to following the example of certain never-British countries in Africa by joining the Commonwealth. If there had to be some quid pro quo in terms of ties to Syria, Iran or both, then so be it. But how would the ridiculously biased media in, especially, the English-speaking world spin this?

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