By lara keller (last updated 14th March 2017)
Progressive Betrayal of the MENA: The foul abscess (1).
Looking at what the West calls the Middle East (whose?) and North Africa (MENA) region, it is difficult not be crushed by the flow of reports of destruction, hopelessness and cruelty. The last two decades in particular. In this endless march through the debris of ordinary people’s lives I cannot help but see the misrule of regional and global elites. The “progressives” of the West have in the main the suspicion or for a radical minority the certainty, that this is exclusively the fault of “Western Imperialism”; together with a supporting role from the ubiquitous enemies of culture and religion. Therefore the “progressive” response is the active rejection of any Western action. Its substitute being a useless selective muted outrage.
All outrages and acts of oppression by dictators (monarchies or secular authoritarian regimes) supported by Western elites are loudly denounced by pious Western “progressives”. Other dictators supported by Russia and China are ignored, or mentioned in the margins for the sake of appearances. These denunciations are wasted as they are easily dismissed as sectarian. Even if they were successful, these selected dictatorships would not just dissolve without Western support. There is a fundamental misconception that the conflict between camps of MENA dictators and their superpower supporters have any real substance, beyond one of many means of securing power.
There is something obviously wrong with this lack of “progressive” Western response. It matters because this allows Western elites (“The Establishment”) to get away with an excess of bad intervention and a famine of good intervention in the MENA region. It matters because it is a symptom of something deep seated. It matters because this is a “foul abscess” that demands relief, even if the self-righteous patient is habituated to prescribing the dentist for other mouths.
It is a tragic mystery as to why the majority of “progressives” choose to make themselves the naïve accomplices of oppression. There is a valuable minority who do not, but this dissent within dissent struggles to be heard, above the smears of the hard-left (and in many cases simultaneously hard-right) dictator-philes. These contradictions would I think, have frustrated even George Orwell’s patience. He strongly denounced the hypocrisy of pseudo “progressive” politics in the Europe of the 1930s and 40s. Surely there is a modern Orwell?