Druze Leader Walid Jumblatt Praises (French) Colonialism

Druze Leader Sends Message of Solidarity to Teens’ Families

‘As the leader of the Druze community, I want to give you strength in the face of this violent criminal act of terrorism,’ Sheikh writes. (Druze Leader Sends Message of Solidarity to Teens’ Families,–ARUTZ SHEVA)

No misunderstanding there,  is there….

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Walid Jumblatt, the hereditary Druze leader in Lebanon famous for saying one thing and then its opposite, fro throwing his support to one ruler or group, and then deciding to give it to another, occasionally says something that he believes to be true. He did so in an interview the other day. He notes that “under the French” Lebanon, and Syria, and Iraq, and impliedly elsewhere in the Near East and North Africa, things were better run, and that in general, life was more secure for the local population under “colonial rule” by the French and the British (meaning Iraq from 1922-1932 and in Egypt, under Lord Cromer, from 1882-1922) ). Like everyone else in the Arab and Muslim world, including non-Muslims such as the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, he can’t quite say that it is Islam itself that is the problem, with its natural intolerance, its violence and aggression, that are part of the atmospherics of Islam and that have proven impossible to tame except by some countervailing despotism, with a countervailing plausible narrative, which helps to explain the phenomenon of Ba’athism. For what was Ba’athism but a quasi-fascistic political movement, with an emphasis on “the Arab cause” whatever that might be, and pan-Arabism, to replace the tug of Islam alone, but in Syria became the instrument by which the Alawites could camouflage and maintain their rule, and in Iraq, the instrument The Druze, being a sect unto themselves, and not Muslim, have had to maneuver, as Walid Jumblatt does, by constantly shifting their allegiances. And Walid Jumblatt, in one of his lucid intervals, dares to express — incompletely and imperfectly — his understanding that the only two possibilites offered in the Muslim East so far have been the rule of Islam, and the rule of the despots (Assad family, Saddam Hussein) sufficiently ruthless to suppress Islam as a political and social force. Of course it was better under the French.

And what Walid Jumblatt does not say, nor  do any of those who chose to comment on his article, is that the one quasi-success story in the whole Arab-Spring business is Tunisia, where the cultural and linguistic influence of France was never thrown off, but is understood, by Tunisia’s saving elite, as a lifeline to another, better, non-hysterical, non-Muslim world. It’s French colonialism, or its echoes and its aftermath, that have made Tunisian success, so far as a parliamentary democracy, possible.

If Walid Jumblatt ever managed to be entirely truthful, he would have to admit that the safest place for the Druze, the place where they are most secure in the entire Middle East, is not in Syria, nor in Lebanon, but in Israel. And those Druze who have joined the IDF, reflect that understanding. And as the contrast with what is happening to Druze in Syria and Lebanon becomes ever clearer to the Druze inhabitants of the safe, well-run, now Israeli Golan, isn’t it likely that the numbers of such Druze volunteers will swell?