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The lurking reality of absurd borders and impossible ethno-sectarian configurations — and the fun has just started.
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Permit me, your honor Mr. President, to remind you that joining the Tuareg nation to the government of Mali is unjust and it is not what General Joffre agreed to. It’s the opposite of those who ruled over us before the French government, and the Tuareg will never accept the present position of their country, which is divided between the government of Mali and the government of Niger. The principle, according to the French government when it decided to leave the Tuareg country, is that it should not disperse them between different peoples with whom the Tuareg people do not share the same ethnicity, religion, or language
More than two decades before this, 1936 to be precise, a group of Alawite notables in Syria wrote a letter to the French colonial master, begging him, admittedly in a rather grotesque form, that the Alawites should not be made part of the future Syria:
The Alawites refuse to be annexed to Muslim Syria because, in Syria, the official religion of the state is Islam, and according to Islam, the Alawites are considered infidels….
There is no hope that the situation will ever change. Therefore, the abolition of the Mandate will expose the minorities in Syria to the dangers of death and annihilation, irrespective of the fact that such abolition will annihilate the freedom of thought and belief.…
…The condition of the Jews in Palestine is the strongest and most explicit evidence of the militancy of the Islamic issue vis-à-vis those who do not belong to Islam. These good Jews contributed to the Arabs with civilization and peace, scattered gold, and established prosperity in Palestine without harming anyone or taking anything by force, yet the Muslims declare holy war against them and never hesitated in slaughtering their women and children.
… We assure you that treaties have no value in relation to the Islamic mentality in Syria. We have previously seen this situation in the Anglo‑Iraqi treaty, which did not prevent the Iraqis from slaughtering the Assyrians and the Yezidis.
Ironically, among the signatories of the Alawite letter was nobody else but Sulayman al-Assad, the grandfather of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, currently denounced around the world for his bloody crackdown on a largely Sunni uprising against his rule.
These two letters were the beginning of two very different stories. But with all the difference between the two, the two stories also share two common denominators: namely, they began with letters and they both ended badly.
In Syria the Alawite minority has resigned itself to the French decision but not to its fate of a downtrodden minority. Al Assad’s descendents have eventually taken over the whole country and established one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East hell bent on exporting instability all around. In 1982 this regime has set a new standard of oppression in the Middle East, summarized by Thomas Friedman in the term “Hama Rules,” named after a big Syrian city reduced to a pile of rubble by the regime’s artillery during crackdown on an Islamist led uprising. Come 2012 and the Hama Rules no longer help as violence in Syria is spiraling out of control.
In Africa, two of the poorest nations on Earth — Mali and Niger — were left to struggle with an impossible task of controlling vast expanses of Sahara populated by a hostile desert minority. Two hopeless landlocked basket cases, basically bankrolled by the international community. It’s therefore no wonder that one of them has now collapsed under repeated assaults by rebellious Tuaregs, whose national struggle seems to have started mutating into a hardcore fundamentalist Islamic movement.
2008. Tauregs in Mali. Sitting in the sand, listening to music
On April 8, the president of CMA, a world organization representing all Berber peoples including Tuaregs, wrote an open letter to the candidates for the French presidential election. The letter restated the previous MNLA promise to establish a secular and democratic state and the intention to drive Islamist factions out of all the territories of Azawad. As its two predecessors more than half a century ago, the letter warned the, now former, colonial master about the dangers of arbitrary and unsustainable borders:
The Tuaregs like other oppressed peoples in the world do not want to live forever colonized. The international community has understood this by favoring the access to the independence of many countries in Europe during the last 20 years or even recently in Africa with the independence of the South-Sudan.
When the French Minister declares that “it is not possible to question the sovereignty of Mali,” we remind him that it is not any more allowed for France to continue to draw the map of Africa as one pleases. The time of the colonialism is gone, it is the moment to make speak about the international law concerning the right of the peoples to their self-determination. Furthermore, as the ancient colonial power, France is placed well to know the arbitrary and artificial character of the borders which she drew in Africa, what is at the origin of the conflict of today.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online