Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ali Allawi: the former puppet defense minister of Iraq

Ali Allawi does not want you to know that he was a puppet defense minister appointed by the Bush administration in Iraq. In this article he merely tells you that he was "a cabinet minister" as if he was serving in London in a democratically elected government. He was puppet minister of defense when the ministry was known for massive corruption (although he was not personally accused of corruption) and for serving obediently the orders of the occupiers. Allawi has decided to reinvent himself as a Western liberal. And like all colonized people who want to praise "the West" they really show ignorance about the West: their West is an imagined West distilled from the writings of Rousseau and Voltaire and not from modern realities. Who would, for example, say this about the US: "The West has accepted secularization as an inevitable consequence of increasing wealth and power." And the first section of the article reminds me of what the New Yorker's Pauline Kael said when Richard Nixon was elected president. She said that she can't believe that Nixon won because "I don't know anybody who voted for him." Similarly, this member of an elite family who grew up in privilege was describing elite Islam to you and then extrapolating on the entire Muslim community of Iraq and beyond. You wonder whether his mommy and daddy allowed him to venture in his white shoes into the slums of Iraq at the time. Notice he still praises the Da`wah party: he objects to sectarianism of Wahhabiyyah but not of the ruling Shi`ite Ayatullah groupies in the government. And you read this long peace and wonder what he wants from all this talk about civilization. Do people think that they sound deep simply by using the word civilization? Read this and tell me what he wants please: "If Muslims want an outer life that is an expression of their innermost faith, however, they must rescue their own civilization from years of inactivity, lassitude, and indifference. Such an achievement requires overcoming conditions of great imbalance and adversity. The challenge is not insurmountable, but it will test to the limit Muslims' commitment to Islam as a complete way of life. Muslims must invent a new means of expressing the outer dimensions of their religion, a new Shariah — ethics-based rather than rules-based, tilted toward social action rather than preserving the status quo. Muslims must confront the twin temptations of seeing the Shariah either as a malleable garb for whatever modernity throws their way, or as a fixed creed of intricately detailed rulings." Don't you hate New Age jargon when mixed with talk about religion? Rescuing "civilization from inactivity"? What does that mean?