Saturday, 19 February 2011

Revolutions in Egypt and Romania 2011 and 1989 compared

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'People shouldn't compare us to France. If you compared Romania to Syria we're not doing badly. A Romanian friend's remark led me to visit Syria. The Christian quarters in the old cities in Damascus and Aleppo are reminiscent of the lithographs of Ottoman Bucharest. Egypt an important part of the Ottoman Empire, Romania an obscure outlying province with autonomy, both badly ruled by venal foreigners, Romania is saved because she is part of Europe. In other words principally by her geographical position, although Christianity gives her a big difference and her Latin language makes her European too.

The differences between 1989 and 2011. One is that Ceausescu did not tolerate a strong Iron Guard putting up candidates at elections under other party labels whereas in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood is a very important factor. Another is the Muslim religion which has not been the mother of Parliaments. Lack of parliamentary tradition or tradition of clean government sound pretty similar to Romania who would have to look to the Tsarist General Kissileff for her last honest ruler?

Ion Iliescu and his National Salvation front could have eben Romania's Egon Krenz but instead dominated politics for 14 years and were a disaster for Romania but a local Iliescu would be the least worst possible outcome for Egypt, Libya, Bahrain.

Churchill writing about the Sudan campaign wrote: “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”

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