Resistance Trumps Religion, in the Arab Middle East

If you are struggling to understand why Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both Shiite, are so popular among Arab masses from Egypt to Palestine and Saudi Arabia, where the predominant religion is Sunni, think of it through a different prism: the culture of Resistance.

The culture of Resistance trumps the schisms of religion, as well as other divisions like nationality, ethnicity, and political persuasion.

The Arab world has been so impregnated with an anti-West, anti-colonialist, anti-occupation, anti-invasion, anti-globalization, anti-Israel ethos, that anything or anyone who stands at the vanguard against these modern suppressors will be greeted with enthusiasm.

The challenge for the good of the Arab Middle East and the world at large is how to channel all of these very real frustrations, that have only been deepened by lack of political accountability and continued authoritarian rule seen as imposed by the West on the Arab population, into a constructive path for progress within the Arab Middle East and outside.

It is not an easy challenge to overcome.  If anyone figures it out, they will hold the key to progress and popularity.

At present, you either drive for revolution and cry against oppression in the name of "resistance", or you are part of the establishment and hence seen with suspicion by ordinary Arabs that are not part of the elite.

Great leaders like Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad or Jordanian King Abdullah, who are bringing economic progress to the poor in their country, will have difficulty getting credit, because they are seen as agents of the West.

Democracy and other concepts that should ordinarily appeal to the human quest for freedom similarly have difficulty because they are seen as Western impositions, and part of a cultural colonization.

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  1. Sobering Attitudes correlated to sobering times | Daniel Lubetzky said:

    [...] like on the Palestinian side the call for "resistance" has been strengthening, Israeli views towards negotiations with Palestinians are hardening, [...]

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