Friday, 16 March 2012

"Can The Cushite Change His Skin?"

George Clooney is neither stupid nor uninformed. He is just wrong. He should pay more attention, as he is obviously more than capable of doing, to Dr Rowan Williams. Only about 20 per cent of the Southern Sudanese are Christians, and the partially successful separatist fighters there, with their designs on the Nuba Mountains, are no slouches when it comes to recruiting child soldiers, or to attacking African Union peacekeepers. In an ideal world, one would not wish either them or the regime at Khartoum on the Nuba or anyone else. But we do not live in an ideal world. And we must not kid ourselves that there is some sort of nicer option, any more than was in Afghanistan, or there was in Iraq, or there was in Libya, or there is in Syria. There is not.

However, South Sudan has become celebrity culture's favourite, aided and abetted by the lazy use of "Arab" and "Muslim" as synonyms, as well as by the failure to comprehend the basic fact that an Arab is anyone whose first language is Arabic: Semitic, Caucasian, or black African; Muslim, Christian, or Jewish; and so on. Arabic used to be a very successful lingua franca in that sense, above all in Mesopotamia and in the old Levant of Muslims, Christians, Jews and Druze, with its de facto capital at Damascus. But a grievous wound was inflicted on the latter in 1948, while the former has been utterly devastated since 2003.

From coast to coast, from Nigeria to Kenya, that band of Africa is becoming evenly divided between Christians and Muslims, as Lebanon used to be. But as the Levantine and Iraqi models have been ruined by ignorant clod-hopping, Zionist and neoconservative, so the examples of co-existence and co-operation are either gone or, at best, not a patch on what they once were. Syria and Lebanon still hold out hope, as does the Iranian model and example, which also has reserved parliamentary representation for Jews as surely as Hezbollah is backing the restoration of Beirut's historic synagogue. But those are now only lakes where once there was an ocean.

The neocon-backed Islamist dismemberment of Yugoslavia has not helped, either. Nor has the neocon-backed, including Islamist, dismemberment of what had been the Soviet Union. And nor is any help being provided by the neocon-backed Islamist dismemberment of the Russian Federation. Or by what is at least putatively the neocon-backed, including Islamist, dismemberment of China.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I am coming to the conclusion that there is just too much Western sideline cheerleading when it comes to other people's conflicts. Why do so many people feel the need to pick sides, especially when we know so little about the parties to the conflict?

    The coverage of Syria, for example, has been quite maddening. Do we know who the rebels are? Not exactly, although what little we do know seems to suggest that they are not the kind of "freedom fighters" that inhabit the imaginations of neocons or Trendy Lefties.