What Laurie Garrett saw in Davos

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Sat Mar 1 18:18:16 MST 2003

This was an extremely interesting post. I thought the following passage was
among the most remarkable

Garrett wrote

"- Serious Islamic leaders (e.g. the King of Jordan, the Prime  Minister of
Malaysia, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia) believe that  the Islamic  world must
recapture the glory days of 12-13th C Islam. That  means finding tolerance
and building great education institutions and  places  of learning. The
King was passionate on the subject. It also means  freedom of movement and
speech within and among the  Islamic nations.  And, most importantly to the
WEF, it means flourishing free  trade and  support for entrepreneurs with
minimal state regulation."

My first reaction is that the "serious" leaders are afraid, very
afraid.  On their necks they feel the hot breath of the Sans Culottes who
have embraced Islamic religious fundamentalism.  Now the "serious" leaders
speak of culture and the Golden Age of Islamic Enlightenment.  Of course
these very same leaders based their rule on the same fundamentalists and
tortured and murdered the Arab intelligentsia.  But now they desperately
seek allies among the liberal petty bourgeoisie.  They promise to fund
education would you believe.

My second reaction is that to the capitalists at the WEF, this means
nothing.  They neither care about nor understand the dilemmas facing the
"serious" leaders.  They merely perceive an opportunity to put on pressure
to guarantee access to bigger profits. Truly they could not care less about
Arab culture or enlightenment.

So once again, freedom comes to mean "free trade" and inexorably this
strengthens the hand of the traditionalists, because Free Trade and
neo-liberal economics create more dispossessed and inexorably drive them
into the hands of the mullahs.

This is the circle that cannot be squared.  Sooner or later this
contradiction will erupt into the Arab revolution.  And everything that
George Bush has done and will do serves only to hasten that day.



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