Saturday, January 19, 2013

Algeria--- is this what we can expect to see even more of?


Algeria is an example of what we can expect to possibly come for many nations in the Middle East and beyond. Any attempt on the part of ‘Arab Spring’ nations to implement real democracy will be impinged by fanatical jihadists. These disparate groups don’t want to see peace in the region because it does not equate to their vision of extreme Sharia Law.

The educated middle classes will be targeted, because it is this group that represents the biggest threat to their plans return the ME to some sort of throwback to a feudalistic past. The other losers will be the women and girls of the region; education will be an impossible dream other than that that serves males and a strict adherence to a narrow perception of the role ‘Islamic Women’ play.

There is a shining example (although women do get a better deal in the UAE nations) outside of the Middle East and that is Indonesia (and Malaysia--- but that is not a strictly Islamic nation). Indonesia’s transition to democracy has not been without difficulties and it has had to balance the impetus of an influential fundamentalist minority that has power beyond their numbers and one that works against the wishes of the vast number of Indonesians to achieve a safe and tolerant future.

They have a way to go and the bourgeoning middle classes are making their mark. This vast archipelago is making huge economic gains and it is a nation that is going to make its mark on the world, with increasing influence in the region. Perhaps it really can be the ‘example’ how things could be. However, they must be looking over their shoulders to the events in the Middle East and hope to avoid the terrible social chaos that exists there.

For Algeria, hope is paramount. Their response to the current crisis was harsh, perhaps necessarily so. Most Algerians too want a peace that includes all of its citizens. The minority that uses kidnap and murder as its way of pushing an agenda will be difficult to defeat.