TRIPOLI. With leader of the Libyan Revolution ...

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You probably remember the uproar that was caused by the publication of Danish cartoons that some Muslims found offensive.  Demonstrations around the world were massive.  According to Wikipedia there were over 100 deaths. Now let’s leave aside the controversy over how offensive those cartoons were.  To me the point is that when Muslims want to organize and protest over something that is dear to them, they do.

Presently there are 16 million Muslims in the European Union who are watching their brothers getting massacred in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain and now Libya.  Demonstrators who die for the liberation of their country from cleptodictators who have been violating human rights and stealing for themselves and their own families for decades.  So why not massively demonstrate against them?  Muslims are a political force in Europe.  If Muslims organzed and obtained the support of the rest of society they could very well influence foreign policy in Europe towards democratization of North Africa and the Middle East.  Myself for example, I am a secular Jew, and I gladly would join a demonstration against Muammar Gaddafi.  A demonstration for democracy in Libya.  A demonstration for the end of violence and free elections throughout the region.  But so far demonstrations are very timid.  In London for example yesterday, as their people were getting murdered only 200 went to a demonstration for Libyan liberation.

As the Danish cartoons show it is not lack of organization that is preventing Muslims for demonstrating because that time they were very well organized and even extremely violent.  A violence that goes on even 5 years after the publication.  So what explains this lack of support for Muslim brotherhood?  Could it be that Imams themselves are concerned that these demonstrations in the Arab world are mostly political, secular and in favor of democracy and modernization which they oppose?  I know Muslim friends of mine in Europe are glued to Aljazzera and Twitter as I am on the issue of the Arab revolts.  Why don’t they organize and influence EU foreign policy?

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Sergio on February 21, 2011  · 

But why muslims only? Why you dont talk to the chinese community in the EU, or to Cubans in the US? In those countries more people is murdered or under arrest than in Libya, Morocco, or Egypt (all together). And have less freedom !

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Alex Rayon on February 21, 2011  · 

Hi Martin,

nice point. I have wondered the same so many times, and I remember to read one time that it’s explained with a sociology theory (sorry, but I am not an expert in sociology issues, so I have forgotten the name) that states migrants that improve their life out of his/her country of birth (specially in those that are at the bottom in quality of life), refuse later to go back since they fear to loose privileges, welfare, etc.

Of course, it’s a very reduccionist theory, but I have checked with many migrants (especially some friends I have from Egypt and Pakistan) here in Spain when I ask them about current status quo in their country.

Simply, they feel somehow more European (of course, there are maaaaaaany exceptions) as time passed by.


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Pensamientos Neoliberales on February 21, 2011  · 

Excellent post!!

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Daniel on February 21, 2011  · 

Absolutely true! Besides the cartoon example; they also rally pretty well whenever it’s about Israel. It seems as though there is a difference when Israel does the killings than when their own repressive governments do…

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Antoin on February 21, 2011  · 

Protest by libyans in Dublin. Not massive, but a lot bigger than there was for the Danish cartoon.

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perell on February 22, 2011  · 

For your interest,
I think you should consider visiting:

(Buy This Satellite: Bringing Internet access to the people who need it most [..] and move it where it could serve millions…[..])

Why don’t start a poll asking in your opinion which countries should follow Tunisia/Egypt example? I know you could say all of the dictatorial regimes, but I mean the ones that can cope with those political changes in short period of time.


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Peter Hodgson on February 22, 2011  · 

Dear Martin,
I am sure you know that you are not talking about the same thing. Though states use religion (to some extent it is also true the other way round), they are certainly different and relate to popular feeling in very different ways.

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