The Ultimate Divide II
Two weeks ago, I received the strangest call I could imagine. It was from a colleague from a liberal party from Sweden. He asked me what I thought of the Democratic Front Party of Egypt! At first, I did not understand the question. Why would someone from Sweden ask me, a member of another Egyptian liberal party, El Ghad; such a question? In explanation, he sent me a copy of an article which was published in a Swedish Newspaper, in Swedish; together with an English translation. The article accused the Democratic Front Party (DFP) of being anti-Semitic and urged Swedish liberals not to participate in Liberal International's Conference in Cairo hosted by DFP at the end of October. I was then made aware of an email campaign where messages with similar content were dispatched to members of Liberal International (LI) and the International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY). On the first day of Liberal International's conference in Cairo, a piece was published in Wall Street Journal with the title: "Why are Egypt's 'Liberals' Anti-Semitic?". In addition to throwing the racist accusation on DFP, this article now claimed that ALL Liberal Parties in Egypt, El Wafd, El Ghad and DFP are anti-Semitic!
Why would someone, or some institution or a group, exert so much effort in sending emails to members of Liberal International, Members of IFLRY, publishing articles in newspapers in Swedish, English and possibly other languages, to throw such accusations on assumingly fellow liberals? But are they fellow liberals? The accusers, you would assume are Liberals who are trying to safeguard liberal values. But no. The accusers, as it turns out, are self-professed Neocons. So, why would they take such an effort in trying to mend the liberal stream?
If it was just an article, then those could merely be opinions, published in response to allegedly racist comments. But when emails sent to members of Liberal International urging them not participate in LI's conference in Egypt, are followed by an article in Sweden then another in Wall Street Journal which was published at the same time as the conference, we must observe a concerted organizational effort and a Neocon campaign, indeed a crusade, some sort of Jihad against some invented infidels. A political campaign designed to discredit and weaken Egyptian Liberal Parties. Now, who would benefit from such a thing? Who would launch such a campaign and what would be the aim of such an effort? The writers are self-professed Egyptian Neocons, but what does that mean? What does it mean to be an Egyptian Neocon? In their words, it means that they believe that the USA, as a superpower, has the right and the obligation to spread "democracy" and "capitalism", by force if necessary, to other countries all over the world, starting with Muslim-majority Countries. However, here comes the puzzling piece. Whether their strategy was right or wrong, surely thriving Liberal Parties in Egypt, being one of these target countries, must help in achieving their aim, of spreading democracy and freedom in the world. Why then would Neocons exert so much effort in discrediting or weakening these parties? In their unholy Jihad against Egyptian Liberals, assumingly in coordination with some Neocon High Commander in some American institute, enterprise or think tank; Egyptian Neocons have attempted to harm the very cause they claim to promote. Liberal International Conference was held in Cairo as scheduled since none of the member parties took those claims seriously. But the instance showed the divide, between those who believe in peace and dialogue on one hand and those who push for confrontation and prophesize for an Armageddon.
Many Neocons believe that the confrontation is inevitable. That Liberal Parties in places like Egypt only delay such a confrontation and dilute the urgency of the situation. They prefer to see a clear and present danger of Islamist extremists as to justify immediate armed intervention. In a way, extremists on both sides have a common interim goal. They both desire to escalate things so that Armageddon draws near. How did this bizarre self-fulfilling prophecy of an Armageddon infiltrate the minds even of those who are not necessarily religious? Or is there some other hidden motive? Neocons secretly and publicly cheer for terrorist attacks. They may be saddened by the loss of human life of course, but they see in these terrorist attacks a tool to gather public support for their confrontational agenda. Neocons booed when President Obama visited Cairo last June and attempted to build bridges of friendship and reconciliation with Muslims around the world. They prefer escalation and conflict. They believe that efforts of peace and reconciliation will eventually fail and the sooner the US realizes that and gets into military action the better.
Neocons and extremists on both sides have become more obsessed with the strategy (of violent confrontation) that they have 'forgotten' the original aim of spreading their ideology. In fact, in their Jihad against Liberals and Liberal Parties, Neocons have proved that their idea of liberalism is in fact some form of a fascist 1984-style ideology, where a single view of righteousness is imposed upon the whole world by force and military power. "You are either with us with the terrorists" kind of thinking. Neocons have not learned anything from the failures in Vietnam, from the Soviet failures in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan, from US failure in Iraq; where imposing a regime on a nation proved unsustainable. Because for a stable balance to occur, a system of government must come as the product of cultural, social and political interactions of each society. We can help democracy in a certain country to prosper, but no one can impose change by force on the way people think or live. Use of force to impose ideas or lifestyles has only proved counterproductive.
These same Neocons who label Egyptian Liberals as anti-Semitic, label Obama as a communist and a Muslims-appeaser. They have labels for everyone and they use rumors, doubts and fear, but for what aim? If the real aim of the accusers was to mend the Liberal practices in Egypt, you would think they would exert some effort in communicating with their peers in their locales. But their aim appears different. Their aim is to prevent people, particularly liberals, from coming together. Their aim is to sabotage understanding so that the same failed old policies of confrontation and invasion can be promoted.
It is ironic that the day has come when Neocons wear the crosses of liberalism and cry on the altar of anti-racism ! The day has come for Neocons to cry liberalism! It would have been laughable if the aims were not so dangerous. It is not just hypocritical or showy. It is way more organizationally sinister. It is another facet of the Ultimate Divide.
The Writer is a co-founder of El Ghad Liberal Party of Egypt