giovedì 15 dicembre 2011

"Liberalism" arriva anche in Sudan

Liberation Revisited

Khalid Al Mubarak Sudan Vision An Independent Daily 15 dicembre 2011

One of the golden rules or polite polemics in Britain is to defend your corner without being offensive.  This, however, is easier said than done. Faced with a barrage of disinformation and spin, one is sometimes bound to break the rules. On the occasion in which my patience snapped, I asked the director of a leading think-tank, who was chairing a discussion. "After Iraq's weapons of mass destruction lie, after Abu Graib prison scandal, after Guantenamo Base and complicity in the Gaza blockage, and after the financial crises - what makes the West still behave as if it is standing on the moral high ground, with license to pontificate, assess and point fingers of accusation?"
 The West's record is, however, much more nuanced than the one selectively highlighted by my comment. US tacit behind-the-scenes protective blanket has ensured success of the Tahrir Square   uprising with the minimum loss of life. Without British, French and US intervention, Gaddafi loyalists would probably have entered Benghazi to chase the participants in the uprising "Zanga-Zanga" as the dictator has threatened.
Similarly, support for the Tunisian uprising has demonstrated the shift to stand "on the right side of history". This is remarkable because popping up authoritarian regimes and dictatorships was seen as a plank in the "security of Israel" and a guarantee of its military as well as socio-political superiority over its neighbours. The monster Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East was repeated by far right pressure groups like AIPAC in order to defend the indispensable   occupation and justify religious fundamentalist expansion and humiliation of the Palestinians in what Archbishop Desmond Tutu called "Apartheid in the Holy Land.
Recent history indicates that the West's support for the Arab Spring has got deeper roots. The success of the civil rights movement in the USA in the 1960s has paved the way for the election of a Black US President. He could not have won without White voter's choice or without the embrace of a significant constituency within the establishment. Moreover, the West's role in confronting and defeating Nazism and Fascism during    the Second World War is an example of genuine liberal democratic commitment and readiness to pay a costly high price to defend it.
The subsequent triumph in the cold war and the collapse of the USSR is another colossal landmark. G. John Ikenberry has discussed the challenges facing the USA in a uni-polar world order that is changing. By accommodating this rise of China and other powers, the USA "liberalization" can deftly continue to lead despite the expected decline in its position in the global system during the 21 century.
Focus on Sudan
If we focus on the Sudan, another dimension of liberalism can be revealed. "People's Liberalism" provides a solid basis for friendship, common economical interests as well as mutual respect for different cultures. The best example of this was the anti-colonial movement in the UK that became vocal during the 19th century military campaign against Mahdism (the antecedent of Sudanese nationalism). Dissident voices were raised against the re-conquest of the Sudan.
Even within the colonial administration there were civil servants who established the "cultural club" in which British and Sudanese discussed papers on agriculture, science, history and politics. The "Sudan Notes and Records" treated Sudanese folklore with respect. Archeologists dazzled by the glorious Nubian past were in the forefront of efforts to see the Sudan without arrogance or condescension. Both Shinnie and J. Alexander were honoured   by the Sudan after independence.
The Atlantic Charter of 1941 in which W. Churchill and Roosevelt promised self-determination to those standing by them against Hitler and his allies, was a turning point. Sudanese national leaders quoted the charter in their 1941 memorandum to the Governor General, asking for self-determination. They also mobilized the population for the war effort on both the Libyan and Ethiopian fronts. This paved the way for independence through the ballot box. MPs voted for independence on December 19, 1955. Compared to the Mau Mau revolt and the long Algerian armed revolt, Sudan's experience was a demonstration of liberalism in action. A tea party was given to the departing colonizers. The statues of Gordon and Kitchener were returned to England intact.
Liberalism, Revisited
A recently translated book by Domenico Losurto "Liberalism, a counter history Verso London 2011, adopts an iconoclastic approach that points a documented picture of "the other face" of liberalism.
After accepting the general definition: "Liberalism is the tradition of thought whose central concern is the liberty of the individual" which is ignored or abused by dictatorships, he goes on to expose the contradictions and the gap between theory and practice. John Locke, the father of Liberalism had investments in the slave trade and was involved in the formulation of Carolina's construction that enshrined slavery. George Washington who wrote the declaration of independence and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison who wrote the federal constitution was all slave owners.
The American colonies revolted against the British Monarch in the name of freedom and liberty, but they carried out policies that openly called for the experimentation pf the Indians. In 1851 the Governor of California said; "a war of extermination will continue to be waged…until the Indian race becomes extinct."
The French liberal, De Tocqueville defended the extermination of Indians by alleging that "they seem to have been placed by providence amid the riches of the new world to enjoy them for a season. They were there merely to wait till others came."
The author quoted Arnold Toynbee who traced the justification of policies of extermination to biblical references. Christians of European origin and race identified with Israel obeying the will of Jehovah and doing the Lord's work by taking possession of the Promised Land and destroying non-Europeans. The parallels to the attitudes of 20 century religious practices are obvious. Another parallel is the eagerness of Afro-Americans to win recognition by bravery in the wars against the Indians Condoleezza Rice wanted the Israeli invasion of Lebanon to continue in 2006 – she pushed for the erection of an iron shield to ensure that the whole of Gaza border with Egypt as tightly sealed underground.

Parte 2

Nessun commento: