Welcome, reader! According to Antony Hegarty in this second decade of the new century our future is determined. What will it be? Stays all the same and do we sink away in the mud or is something new coming up? In this blog I try to follow new cultural developments.

Welkom, lezer! Volgens Antony Hegarty leven we in bijzondere tijden. In dit tweede decennium van de eenentwintigste eeuw worden de lijnen uitgezet naar de toekomst. Wat wordt het? Blijft alles zoals het is en zakken we langzaam weg in het moeras van zelfgenoegzaamheid of gloort er ergens iets nieuws aan de horizon? In dit blog volg ik de ontwikkelingen op de voet. Als u op de hoogte wilt blijven, kunt u zich ook aanmelden als volger. Schrijven is een avontuur en bloggen is dat zeker. Met vriendelijke groet, Rein Swart.

Laat ik zeggen dat literaire kritiek voor mij geen kritiek is, zolang zij geen kritiek is op het leven zelf. Rudy Cornets de Groot.

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas.

Het is juist de roman die laat zien dat het leven geen roman is. Bas Heijne.

In het begin was het Woord, het Woord was bij God en het Woord was God. Johannes.

donderdag 5 mei 2011

The Arab spring and Europe, documentary Tegenlicht, 2th of May 2011

Foreign policy as a wasp’s nest.    

In this last broadcast of the season the Dutch documentary maker Chris Kijne from Tegenlicht asks some Europeans what Europe can do to help the Arab revolts to stabilize. 

Europe supported the dictators because of fear of the radical islam - as the Dutch prime-minister, the leader of the party for freedom and democracy (!) demonstrated in his first reaction on the revolt in Egypt. Before European intellectuals show the views, Farida Makar, an Egyptian activist who felt like a tourist on Tahrir square in February with all the tents, says that Egyptians don’t like the radical islam, people want to represent themselves and that the revolt was not about religion but about democracy. Another insider, the Tunesian cultural critic Mohamed Salah Omri, who was in Tunesia shortly before the revolt, was taken by surpise. He had no idea that the change would come so soon. He went back after the revolt and found out that the debate, that was earlier only in the universities, now was on the streets and in the papers. He says there is a lot of mistrust between various groups, but they all want general elections.

The British historian Timothy Garton Ash says that Europe’s reaction was faible: late, weak and divided, while it is important to strenghten civil society and therefore stimulate education in the Arab world. We know little of their culture, we cannot force their development and only hope that radical islam will not come to power. What we can do is show our enthousiam and support (and that was what the Dutch prime minister neglected to do!). He suggests a European foundation for democracy to help countries in their democratic development.

Chris Kijne speaks with a sigh about such an initiative. I think he fears that it doesn’t change anyhing in the near future.  

The Tunesian Omri thinks a lot can be achieved not by state, but by civilian itiatives.
The Turkish economist Sinan Ulgen says that Turkey can be an example for the Arab states because of their secular democratic state model since 1950. He invites students to study in Europe.

Makar says that people are reluctant to ask Europe for help, because of its historic ties with the dictators. The American historian Eugene Rogan says that people are very sensitive about being controlled.

The Belgian policy analist Rosa Balfour says contacts should be made from parliaments and ngo’s etc., to get more understanding. Eleven thousand refugees in Lampedusa was not much.
The Dutch prime minister said that it was the problem of Italy. Every country has to deal with their geografical situation.   

Kijne suggests that opening our markets would help a lot. Balfour agrees but Ulgen says that the French are niet willing to stop financing their farmers, because Sarkozy fears the Front National in the coming elections. So external reasons play an important role in the attitude of Europe. During the last week it was terrible to hear Western politicians say that they cannot help the Syrian protesters because of reasons of foreign policies. At the moment while Holland celebrates its liberation from the nazi’s, men in Syria are taken out of their houses and sent away to places we don’t know.    

Makar thinks that the new found pride will stop people from leaving Egypt and living abroad. She studied in Oxford an she says she is an example. If Europe had reacted earlier, she says, not so many people would have had a reason to leave the country. She is full of hope about the future.

Garton Ash is not positive. The Arab world is far away and there is not a neccesstiy for Europe to help, altough their economies are small enough to support them. He thinks that the Arab countries should unify. He expects a mess, because the majority of young people in Egypt has high expectations and will be disappointed in the end.

It was not an optimist conclusion, at the end of this televison season, but the tone was not so different from that during the symposium about the arab revolts in the beginning of April: see this blog on the 2th of April. All Arab countries are different and have their own (im)possibilities. In Holland we have a saying that a warned person, counts for two: maybe that is, next to a plea for more support in all kinds of ways, the best lesson from this broadcast.

7 opmerkingen:

  1. zvj (sta ik om bekend ;-): the Arab Spring and US (niet WE). Waarom dit in 't Engels?

  2. Bedankt voor je commentaar, heldinne, al heb je me niet overtuigd. Zou je wel kunnen zeggen 'We and the Arab spring'? Misschien moet ik het zelfs springtime noemen. Ik had eerst The Arab revolution and Europe staan, maar koos toch voor een directe vertaling van 'De Arabische lente en wij'. Overigens is het in het Engels omdat men in de uitzending Engels sprak en niet-Nederlands taligen hiervan kennis te laten nemen.

  3. Tja. Ik heb na 15 jaar Engelstalige landen een feilloos gevoel voor fout NL Engels. "just did not do" is another case in point.

  4. thank you for improving my English, Heldinne!

  5. Syrian human rights group has accused the government of carrying out "10 days of massacres" against protesters in the southern city of Deraa.


    5 May 2011 Last updated at 17:19 GMT

  6. Kijk anders even bij het lemma US in Van Dale Eng-NL: "us and our friends" en bij JUIST in NL-Eng "that's precisely/exactly what he did not do"
    en geloof me: ik bedoel het goed. Hoe beter je Engels, hoe geloofwaardiger je stuk.

  7. Ik geloof je Heldinne, maar ik heb het anders opgelost. Volgende keer kom ik toe aan dat precisely.