Arab spring - confiscated

Since Westerners fought for quite a long time against totalitarianism and religious moralism, for individual freedoms and secularism, they expected the Arabs do the same. But barely freed from their dictator, the Egyptians hastened to choose (democratically) Islam as the state religion and the Sharia as the source of legislation.

Shocked by this moral and political choice, many Westerners did not wait long before condemning and denouncing “an Islamist plot". “How could it be otherwise?", concluded the specialists. "How could some people wish and even fight for a theocracy? How could a person freely choose a path so inconsistent with the universal values?"


Each one was trying to convince the other of his sacred truth:

― "Since humans are all equal, they are all the same. They should thus follow the same universal goals, and have the same aspirations. We should all put the human rights at the center of our life," proclaim the Westerners brandishing their sacred Social Sciences Models paradigms to support this evidence.

― "Since God as created us, we humans have to put religion at the center of our life and our state institutions," proclaim the Arabs, brandishing their sacred book, the Quran to support this evidence.

― "Yes, but our truths are universal" argue everyone, hand-on-heart...


The outcome of the Egyptian revolution was, for the Westerners, a double scandal, because it challenged two of their deeply entrenched beliefs about human nature. The first one is that our nature is naturally and innately rational, and the second one concerns the concept of universal morality and values (of course, based on what Westerners see as “universal values”).

"Many Muslims want religion to play a role in politics (...). To assume that everyone around the world wants to be like the West - that they want liberal secular democracy - is an absurd idea.” Recall Farid Senzai, political scientist, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding in Washington.

Could our readiness to condemn the differences (“Islamism”* in this case), ― without truly bothering ourselves trying to understand the people who carry this perception, and to stand back on our condemnations ― reveal the shallowness of our tolerance and our incapacity to understand and accept a human nature quite different from our expectation?


* Regarding “Islamism”: as a result of the recent political tensions, the popular definition of the word “Islamism” has lost its original meaning. Islamism is merely the idea to combine religion with politics. We find this need to integrate religious values in social life, in most world cultures. For example in France or Germany have a Christian Democratic Party and India the party Bharatiya Janata Party (Hindu nationalism). In USA or most African countries, the concept of “God” remains commonly use in public discourses and institutions.