Racism, politics, and the Arab Spring

Has the Arab Spring diverted our attention from endemic racism in the Middle East?


© S a l e e m - H o m s i


Writing in The Independent, Robert Fisk says that the Arab Spring has for the moment glossed over the huge problem with racism in Middle East and Arab countries, even as the West looks ever inward at its problems with the Far-Right and Islamiphobia:

How many tracts, books, documentaries, speeches and doctoral theses have been written and produced about Islamophobia? How many denunciations have been made against the Sarkozys and the Le Pens and the Wilders…

According to Fisk the problem is many Middle Eastern countries is not down to those on the fringes, but is something embedded in society, and enabled by politicians and state institutions:

Everyone who lives in Lebanon or Jordan or Egypt or Syria…is well aware of this outrage, albeit cloaked in a pious silence by the politicians and prelates and businessmen of these societies.

In Cairo, I once remarked to the Egyptian hosts at a dinner on the awful scars on the face of the young woman serving food to us. I was ostracised for the rest of the meal and – thankfully – never invited again.

And the problem doesn’t just stop at mistreatment and abuse, as living in these ‘pious’ and fabulously wealthy countries can literally cost migrants their lives:

Saudi Arabia long ago fell into the habit of chopping off the heads of migrant workers who were accused of assault or murder or drug-running, after trials that bore no relation to international justice. In 1993, for example, a Christian Filipino woman accused of killing her employer and his family was dragged into a public square in Dammam and forced to kneel on the ground where her executioner pulled her scarf from her head before decapitating her with a sword.


Read more at The Independent