Terry Glavin: An important alternate POV

I have met Mr. Glavin on a number of occasions. I do not have to agree with every word to know that I am dealing with an intellectual force too powerful to ignore. Here is a piece he did for the National Post on Libya and the various revolutions across the Arab world where he sees things from the view of a more 1960s leftist. The kind we now call, ‘Neocons perhaps. He also raises some facts that I was unaware of, which agree or disagree with him, do change the complexion of these events. Facts such as the demonstration in Tunisia by thousands of people condemning the mobbing of the Jewish house of prayer and the murder of the Catholic priest.

Eeyore for Vlad.

Terry Glavin: Middle East myths drop like dominos

February 28, 2011 – 9:47 am

REUTERS/Peter Andrews (

I recall the lifeless cadences of their sentences for, with nothing positive to say about their people, they simply regurgitate the tired American formulas: we lack democracy; we haven’t challenged Islam enough, we need to drive away the spectre of Arab nationalism.
– Edward Said, on Egypt’s revolutionary democrats, 2003.

“You can search Said’s articles in vain for the words now on the lips of young people across the region: democracy, freedom, women’s rights. Instead, like earlier colonialist bromides they are souvenirs of pure social and political reaction. What seems obvious about the young Libyans in the streets of Tobruk, Benghazi and Tripoli – like young Iranians and Egyptians, and quite possibly many Syrians and Saudis too – is that they no longer want any truck with those miserable self-serving fantasies of Arab victimhood and Zionist sorcery. Instead, they merely want to live – as Said was lucky enough to do – in a ‘normal’ country, where their persons will be treated with dignity and their views with respect.” – David Burchell, Libyans Failed by Left Orientalism.

Along with the now lifeless Edward Said there are also the undead. Consider Robert Spencer, whose biography reads a little like Edward Said’s, in its way. Like Said was, Spencer is a scholar, a widely published author, and an American of Middle Eastern Christian extraction with legions of fans. Like Said, Spencer is widely regarded in his circles, as was Edward Said in his own, as an authority on the imaginary frontiers that cleave the world between “west” and “east.” The Czar Gaddafi insists that the Libyan protests are the result of Al Qaida putting hallucinogens in everybody’s Nescafe. Not to be outdone:

They may be pro-democracy insofar as they want the will of the people to be heard, but given their worldview, their frame of reference, and their core assumptions about the world, if that popular will is heard, it will likely result in huge victories for the Muslim Brotherhood and similar pro-Sharia groups.
– Robert Spencer, on Libya’s revolutionary democrats, 2011.

In light of everything we are witnessing from Casablanca to Isfahan, the miserable and allegedly “progressive” viewpoint taken by Edward Said’s followers is matched by and coupled with Spencer’s lurid “conservative” cynicism in a symbiotic death grip, each parasitic upon the other, both offering nothing but the ravings of demented Americans. Everything is being swept away – it is 1989, it is 1917, it is 1848, as you like. As it is with Edward Said’s followers, Spencer’s fan base now betrays itself as an assortment of specimens from the Upper Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era. They are yesterday’s men. They are zombies.

It is not just to the price of oil that the rebellions are proving so terribly inconvenient. All the evidence, from Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt and Iran, shows that democracy, freedom, work, wages and a “normal” life are exactly what the people are demanding. The people are not clamouring for the immolation of the Jews anymore than they are hollering for the appointment of Norman Finkelstein as the defence minister.

In Egypt, the April 6 Movement that started it all is root and branch a movement of trade unionists, secularists, and young intellectuals, all committed democrats. The Muslim Brotherhood was completely marginalized by it. The Ikhwan failed utterly in its attempts to hijack the uprising and now the aging Brethren sit in their solitary chairs with the rest of the Egyptian establishment, studying ways to mollify the revolt.

In Libya, the February 17 movement has been consistent in its intentions for a secular democracy. The Libyans who have been pleading for our help have heard only cynical incoherence and self-gratifying expressions of outrage, but even so, even the Libyan imams have pleaded for the February 17 demands and continue to assert their faithfulness to the same secular cause.

In Tunisia last week, 15,000 demonstrators gathered to condemn the Islamists who mobbed a synagogue and murdered a Polish Catholic priest in an obscene attempt to hijack the Tunisian uprising. The pro-democracy banners in Tunis read: “Nous sommes tous Musalmans, nous sommes tous Chretiens, nous sommes tous Juifs.” On it goes like this, in Morocco, across Iran, and in little Bahrain.

For the rest of this important article please click over to the National Post here:

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

12 Replies to “Terry Glavin: An important alternate POV”

  1. I hope he’s right, but I sure heard a lot of people chanting Alahu Akbar and I sure saw a lot of Mubarak posters with a Star of David drawn through his face. I saw at least one video of an Egyptian mob chanting something about Jews and Khaibar, which is very bad. Like I said, I hope he’s right. It would be great if the Muslims actually started focusing on improving their own lives instead of wrecking everybody else’s – that would be a fine thing indeed!

  2. The problem is there is so much data supporting multiple sides. The video with them chanting about the martyrs going to Jerusalem was faked. I had that looked into a lot by many people. Someone took chants from other occasions and spliced them over a video of celebrations of Mubarak stepping down. Thats why you didnt see that video on this site although at least 5 people sent it to me.


    One can’t help but notice as the American reporter was gang raped that the people doing it all called her Jew. So, yeah. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for a liberal Egypt.

    But as far as the alternate side of any debate on Islam and the middle east goes, Terry Glavin is the man to whom I willingly hand the microphone. He has spent real time in Afghanistan embedded with the Canadian military and understands the situation there, and with Iran, much much better than lots of recognized experts.

  3. What about the 2 million Egyptians chanting something about “on to Jerusalem to kill the Jews” last week.

    You guys posted that.

    How does that square with this article.

    I’d love to believe the guy, but …

  4. Pastorius that video was a fraud. I looked into it very closely and had the text translated from beneath. Someone put the chants from another thing on top of celebrating crowds from Mubarak’s resignation.

  5. This is not about the forces of Robert Spencer fighting the forces of Eduard Said. God, that’s annoying! Spencer is just another guy who read the Quran and went, “Holy crap, have you seen what’s in this thing?” That’s all. Same as me.
    If the young people in the streets of Cairo actually have come to their senses and are about to demand more “normal” governments, excellent, but does it occur to Mr. Glavin that people like Robert Spencer might be partially responsible for their enlightened attitudes? Robert has opened many eyes. Many Muslims are actually shocked and surprised by what’s in their book; Spencer doesn’t just educate Infidels. We all hope that the recent events in North Africa lead to a democratic and peaceful outcome – it would certainly be the smart option for them as well as a blessed relief for the World – but I don’t want to hear this guy turn that into, “There. I was right all along. There is no Muslim threat. They’re just like the rest of us. All those Robert Spencer zombies are nothing but wrong, wrong haters.” That would bug me.

  6. Eeyore,

    As much as Terry is one of the few rational Liberals out there, he continually fails to address Islam as a core issue in the continuing failure that Afghanistan has been and continues to be. I’ve given him several opportunities to address the matter, yet he and is other supporters of CASC continue to skirt the issue.

    And then there’s the matter of him resorting to name calling in this essay. I never thought I’d read such an oft used base tactic by him as it has been employed by others on the Left when they get desperate and have nothing left to offer in the debate.

    Regardless, his POV is full of holes and he is cherry picking a few choice events while disregarding the whole issue.

    And has for his stint here in Afghanistan, the rosy reality he presents is much grimmer. Read my follow through on “Why am I here” parts 1 through 3.

    And as for his zombie label, let ‘im eat my brains in the forth-coming Dispatch 45.

  7. Like I said, I hope he’s right. Is he also making the point that the whole Islamic Jihad thing was a figment of our right-wing, Robert Spencer-worshipping imaginations from the beginning? Why does he have to compare Spencer to Gaddafi in his little “who’s the craziest nut-bar” contest?

    So, if they start to come to their senses, that means there was never any threat? C’mon! If the Muslims decide to stop attacking us, I don’t want to hear about how in-our-imaginations the threat was. There. I said “was”. This thing isn’t really beginning to end, is it?

  8. Kaffir: thanks for your response. Why not write a detailed rebuttal to Terry’s article here and Ill put it up as a post? Please use names dates and so on. Terry is indeed rational, and he has a lot of experience in Afghanistan. I also do not agree with all of what he says, but I do enjoy finding someone from the other side of a debate who is intelligent, rational and seeks the same outcomes all decent people do, namely a working, kind, secular democracy with a rational system of law and distribution of wealth, but perhaps seeks to achieve it by other means or even the same strategy, in this case war in Afghanistan as he is very for it, but different tactics perhaps.

  9. Terry’s article is well-written, but ignores the fundamental problem of bringing democracy to those who don’t know what it is: how they perceive it is probably vastly different than how we do. And this: most countries that have never had democracies will never really succeed in getting them established unless their core values are the same as those of countries where democracies have succeeded.

    Russia never had democracy before the czars or during the Soviet era and still are grappling with state-wide corruption and subtle forms of tyranny that we in the west haven’t known.

    China has never had free elections in all of its thousands of years of history and most likely never will in our lifetimes.

    And the countries that are now attempting to bring democracy, however the define it for themselves, have never had democracies as we know them in western Europe or North America.

    One other thing he neglects to mention. Within Islam there can be and is no separation of church and state. Once the colonial powers left North Africa and the Middle East, tribal elders, princes and other potentates were put in place to rule, most of whom took the koran as a basis for their legislation.

    How can people who have lived under such regimes get out from under that mindset without warping what democracy is in the process? Praying five times a day that “Islam is the way” is not the way toward democracy, no matter what the pundits may say to the contrary, since Islam is not fundamentally democratic.

  10. Terry Glavin is high on cool-aid.
    It will take around 8-10 weeks for him and others living in la-la land to come down to earth and view things the way Robert Spencer and many of us are able to see it.

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