Vi hører ofte fra folk som burde vite bedre, som Harald Stanghelle og Knut Arild Hareide, at opphavet til dagens barbari i Irak og Syria er den amerikanske invasjonen av Irak i 2003. I en lengre artikkel i Politico Magazine, med den ikke lite bombastiske tittelen «Barbarians Within Our Gates», går Hisham Melhem gjennom den arabiske sivilisasjonens sammenbrudd. Melhem er sjef for Washington-kontoret til tv-kanalen Al Arabiya. Det hele er temmelig deprimerende lesning:
«Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. (…)
Iraq’s story in the last few decades is a chronicle of a death foretold. The slow death began with Saddam Hussein’s fateful decision to invade Iran in September 1980. Iraqis have been living in purgatory ever since with each war giving birth to another. In the midst of this suspended chaos, the U.S. invasion in 2003 was merely a catalyst that allowed the violent chaos to resume in full force. (…)
Cairo no longer produces the kind of daring and creative cinema that pioneers like the critically acclaimed director Youssef Chahine made for more than 60 years. Egyptian society today cannot tolerate a literary and intellectual figure like Taha Hussein, who towered over Arab intellectual life from the 1920s until his death in 1973, because of his skepticism about Islam. Egyptian society cannot reconcile itself today to the great diva Asmahan (1917-1944) singing to her lover that “my soul, my heart, and my body are in your hand.” In the Egypt of today, a chanteuse like Asmahan would be hounded and banished from the country. (…)
The Islamic State, like al Qaeda, is the tumorous creation of an ailing Arab body politic. Its roots run deep in the badlands of a tormented Arab world that seems to be slouching aimlessly through the darkness. It took the Arabs decades and generations to reach this nadir. It will take us a long time to recover—it certainly won’t happen in my lifetime.
Jan Arild Snoen
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