[Marxism] Tariq Ali interview on the Middle East
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 11 08:47:59 MDT 2006
MJ: You've called for an Islamic Reformation. Where do you see the best
prospects for such a movement?
TA: I used to hopeand Ive still not given up on itthat a big reform
movement could arise in Iran, which in some ways is one of the most
cultured Islamic countries, with a very long pre-Islamic tradition as well
which hasnt been completely wiped out. But when the United States and
Israel behave in the way they do, then that sets it back. So Im quite
despondent on that particular front at the moment. Thats one problem.
The second problem is that in many parts of the Islamic world, secular
forces, where they exist, tend now to be so unsure of themselves, so
lacking in self-confidence, that in many casesnot in allthey line
themselves up fairly squarely behind the imperial project and that then
creates a big vacuum in which the Islamists become the dominant power
because they are the only ones then who are seen as resisting. And that I
think has been a very, very dangerous development in the Islamic world. And
when I go often I meet very, very good peopleintellectuals, writersjust
sitting completely despondent, trapped between the American hammer and the
Islamist anvil, not knowing which way to turn.
MJ: Can you point to any leaders youve encountered in Muslim countries,
Arab or otherwise, that might be a beacon of hope for religious reformation?
TA: Theres no movement as such, but you know if you look at Iran the bulk
of the population75% of the populationis under 30 years of age, and these
are people whove grown up totally under clerical rule, and their first
sort of gut instinct is to resent all the social codes which are imposed on
them. I have been arguing that this is where you will probably have an
upheaval in about ten years time. Currently that situation is on hold
because of all the threats against Iran, which has united the country.
Whatever you think about those threats or why they are made, certainly they
have the effect of making the majority of people in Iran very angry with
the West, and they see the Islamists as the only opposition, and the reason
they see them as the only opposition is cause there aint nobody else!
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