by Dyab Abou Jahjah
They called us crazy, naïve, radical, foolish, relics of another time, irrational, but we always believed and preached the Arab revolution. We always believed that our Arab peoples are oppressed and that they want to liberate themselves. We refused to accept the racist statements made by western orientalists and by all kinds of self-hating Arabs that somehow the Arab person is inclined towards absolutism and is not interested in freedom. We refused to accept the preaching of both right wing pundits and Muslim extremists that Islam and democracy are not compatible. And we refused to accept the poisoned gift of democracy imported on an American tank and we exposed it as invasion and occupation. We always believed that like every person on earth our people want dignity and freedom, and that these values are universal. We also always believed that our culture that is Islamic in essence is compatible with democracy as much as the Jewish or Christian cultures are, with the necessary adjustments and tact.
Some people shared our views but contested the revolutionary method we advocated and said that revolutions are of another time, and that the only way towards democracy is to support some enlightened despot who is willing to make reform, albeit under the pressure of the west. We refused that because we knew that a despot is never enlightened and that the west doesn’t want democracy in our countries as much as it wants stability and safe oil trade. We also knew that democracy is a threat to Israel and a threat to western hegemonic policies, because democracy translates the popular will into policies and our people want national dignity as much as we want freedom. Our people also want a free Palestine and if we had the opportunity to determine the agenda, each Arab country would have Palestine on the top of its foreign policy interests. And this is why Arab democracy frightens the west.