Egyptian-American writer analyzes failure of Arab revolutions, defends Israel


Revolutions in the Arab world have always been a failure and Arabs should first contemplate why they are ruled by dictators before staging a revolution, Egyptian-American pro-Israeli writer Nonie Darwish said.

“My new book, entitled ‘The Devil We Don’t Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East,’ tackles this issue,” she told Al Arabiya’s weekly show of Noqtat Nezam (Point of Order) on Friday.

Darwish, born Nahed Mustafa Hafez Darwish, explained that by the “dark side” she meant the reasons that led to the failure of all revolutions in the Arab world since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1923.

“To answer this question, I pose other questions like why the Arab world is ruled by dictators in the first place and whether it is the dictators’ problem or that of the system of governance itself. Do we dare to ask ourselves these questions?”

Darwish explained that the “failure” of Arab Spring revolutions is similar to that of the July 1952 revolution in Egypt which overthrew the monarchy and established the Arab Republic of Egypt.

“The officers who staged the 1952 revolutions were from the Muslim Brotherhood, but members of the Brotherhood turned against them when they did not apply Islamic laws so they tried to kill Gamal Abdel Nasser and then killed Anwar Sadat.”

For Darwish, the same scenario is possible now since Egyptians might try to overthrow any elected president who does not apply Islamic laws.

“Egyptians have to respect the result of the elections no matter what kind of president it will bring, but will this happen?”

Darwish said that she was disappointed not to see banners in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the Egyptian revolution, calling for the separation of state and religion.

“Nobody called for the removal of Article Two of the Constitution which states that Islamic laws are the main source of legislation.”

For Darwish, the Egyptian people have the right to vote in a referendum about this article, but they have to be careful that if they choose to it keep they should no longer complain of dictatorship and lack of freedom of expression.

“If religion is identified with the state, you will never be able to criticize the state and no laws will be above religious laws.”

Darwish argued that Islamists are held accountable for the wave of Islamophobia sweeping Europe and the United States.

“Several Islamist groups in the West call for applying Islamic laws in the countries they live in and this makes people fear Islam.”

Darwish pointed out that the United States is home to a variety of ethnic and religious groups and none of them call for applying their own laws or religious teachings.

“Why should Muslims in particular be an exception and demand that their laws be applied?”

Darwish noted that even though she is against acts that aim at deriding Islam like calls by Florida pastor John Terry to burn the Quran, she still finds them a reaction to actions seen as “provocative” by Islamists.

“The Quran burning initiative came after several Muslims stepped on the American flag in New York and called for implementing Islamic laws.”

Nonie Darwish is known for her pro-Israeli stances even though her father, Colonel Mustafa Hafez, was killed in 1956 by the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza where he launched military attacks against the Jewish state.

In her book “Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror” (2006), Darwish writes that she is the daughter of a Muslim martyr killed by Israeli forces, yet she forgives Israel and calls for coexistence and tolerance.

Darwish is also the founder of Arabs for Israel, a group of Arabs and Muslims who support Israel’s right to exist, condemn armed struggle, and call for a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The group also calls upon Arabs and Muslim to engage in objective self-criticism to be able to see how they played a major role in making Westerners hate them and fear their impact.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)