Thursday, June 30, 2011

shades of foreign intervention

"If MacMaster's act smacks of the Orientalist mentality typical of the old colonialists, Grapel was a soldier in the army of the one remaining settler colonialist country in the world, Israel. The wonder is that with such a background he seems not to have known how unpopular the Israelis are in Egypt, assuming that no Egyptian would suspect his motives in joining the protests.   One sad by-product of the actions of MacMaster and Grapel is that they offer the corrupt regimes of the region, desperate to remain in power, with an opportunity to manufacture fear and xenophobia.  Foreign threats, real or illusory, have always been summoned up as a justification for rallying behind unpopular regimes. It's a tactic that was recently employed in Egypt in the days preceding the overthrow of Mubarak.  Fortunately, the ugly xenophobia directed at foreign journalists covering the uprising, and unleashed no doubt by the security forces, did not last for long.  However, I should point out that in talking about manufacturing xenophobia I am distinguishing between an unjustified fear of foreigners and the legitimate anti-Israeli sentiments emanating from the threat Israel poses to the security of the region. The Israeli threat to Arab national security is something that most Arabs, Egyptians included, take seriously."