Lawrence Auster has already reported on the takeover of the town of Derna in Libya by a group linked to Al Qaeda. This group has declared the establishment of an Islamic Emirate of Barqa. It may not last long, but the armed takeover of the town does reinforce the differences between Western and Middle Eastern politics.
Included in Auster's post was an interesting Wall Street Journal editorial on the issue. The editorial does recognise that there are significant differences between Western and Middle Eastern civilisations. But it still pushes for America to intervene to bring Western style government and secular liberal values to the region.
However, the WSJ position is a lot better than that coming from some on the American left. We learn from the editorial that:
Others question whether a fully Islamist Middle East is even a bad thing. PBS host Tavis Smiley argued Friday on "Real Time with Bill Maher" that Americans have no basis for criticizing the culture of the Middle East because "when we have these conversations about how they treat women, as if somehow we treat women better in this country, it demonizes Muslims."
So according to the left-liberal Tavis Smiley, we have to consider the treatment of women in the Middle East and the West equivalent, otherwise we are guilty of demonising Muslims. Nor is he alone in this view. Carol Muske-Dukes is a professor at USC and the Poet Laureate of California. She has first hand experience of how women can be treated in Middle Eastern countries:
Years ago, because of a flight delay, I spent a long and terrifying night alone in a hotel in Morocco -- male (Muslim) hotel employees repeatedly tried to break into my room.
But she still wrote a column in support of Tavis Smiley. Her argument was that although there are differences in degree, the misogyny of the Middle East is also the misogyny of the US:
It's the misogyny, stupid. And it cuts across all cultures: far worse in some, somewhat tolerable in others. And the "F" word is fundamentalism -- whether it is Islamic or Christian -- the symbol of battle for control becomes the female body.
I do not want to live in a country that forces me to smother myself in veils, a country that threatens me with violence for an inch of visible wrist, a country that does not allow me to vote or drive.
For the record, I also do not feel safe in a country with a House of Representatives that is capable of canceling all funding for Planned Parenthood...
The state legislature of Georgia would like to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking and domestic violence to "accuser" -- in effect, denying victims their right to accurate representation by description...
Programs for low-income women and children are being slashed left and right and MoveOn reports that there is a move to eliminate all funding for the only extant federal family planning program...
Misogyny keeps this country's brutality to women -- rape, murder and domestic violence -- at staggering levels, along with the pitched battle against a woman's right to control her own body, her right to choose.
I was terrified when I was nearly assaulted in that hotel room in North Africa long ago, but I have also been attacked by "Right to Life" crowds when entering an abortion clinic in my own country.
I know which country most women would feel safer in. Ms Poet Laureate is kidding herself. She thinks that there is no difference in kind between a lack of public funding for abortion and the sexual molestation of unaccompanied women - because both are violations of absolute female bodily autonomy.
Her desire to find an equivalence is so strong that she doesn't react to her terrifying experience in Morocco as a less ideologically driven woman might - by appreciating the relative security created for women within Western countries.