By Barry Rubin
Over and over again I hear them: Egyptians who have lost hope that their country can be saved from Islamist dictatorship (this is what the people want, one says); the Lebanese who can no longer stand up to the threats of the Hizballah-dominated government; Turks disgusted as the Western media ignore the arrests and persecutions of respected people who have devoted their lives to the country or contemporary dissidents; and so on.
In a recent letter to me, a Middle Eastern democracy advocate who fled revolutionary Islamism to the West–there will be thousands more in the years to come–reflected on his experiences in light of my articles. These are the people the West is betraying, to its own detriment. The so-called liberals (leftists pretending to be liberal) who apologize for, lie about, and even help anti-Western Islamist dictatorships should take note of such individuals who are the hope of their homelands but have themselves lost hope:
“At the very beginning of the Iranian revolution (before the revolution was highjacked by the Islamists), many youth including myself considered ourselves as leftists. To us, people on the left were progressive, social justice oriented and were struggling to establish freedom and equality.
“But once the Islamists took power and consolidated their dictatorship, these young moderates were “killed, [went into] hiding or forced to leave Iran.
“When I came to the West, I connected myself to the leftist movement right away, but distanced myself more and more from them when I realized that I could not convince them of the dangers involved with the Islamist ideology. They did not believe my own personal stories of horrific life in Iran under a reactionary-repressive Islamic regime. I still challenge them whenever I can regarding the crimes committed by Hamas and other Islamists in the Middle East or elsewhere. However, unfortunately, we have no voice among the so-called progressive leftists.”
“I am disgusted by seeing how narrow minded they are and how ignorant they are toward crimes done by Hamas and the Islamic regime in Iran. These so-called leftists are nothing by a bunch of hypocrites who have nothing to offer to the oppressed people of the Middle East. Now, I consider myself as a liberal, a true liberal who cannot ignore nor forget the oppressive life in Iran and who stands for freedom, and social justice.”
And the smug, ignorant, over-paid academics, journalists, government officials, and various self-declared “experts” are willing to throw these people under the Islamist bus, to ignore their pleas and warnings.”
Many years ago, for my book, Istanbul Intrigues, I interviewed courageous people who had fought against Nazism in the underground of various countries, especially Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The Czech intelligence officers recounted how they had tried to warn the West, and Stalin, too, about Hitler’s aggressive plans, all to no avail. They cried as their country was overrun and fled from one place to another, keeping just ahead of the advancing German armies. This is what I think of now.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.