Two Forms of Lethal Polarization

17 Nov

Two Forms of Lethal Polarization: Egypt and Turkey

 

            There is a temptation to suggest that political life in Turkey and Egypt are both being victimized by a similar deepening of polarization between Islamic and secular orientations, and to some extent this is true, but it is also misleading. Turkey continues to be victimized by such a polarization, especially during the eleven years that the Justice & Development Party (AKP) has governed the country, and arguably more so in the last period. In Egypt, so describing the polarization is far less descriptive of the far more lethal form of unfolding that its political cleavage has taken. It has become an overt struggle for the control of the political destiny of the country being waged between the Egyptian armed forces and the Muslim Brotherhood, the two organized political forces capable of projecting their influence throughout the entire country, including rural areas.  This bitter struggle in Egypt engages religious orientations on both sides, and even the military leadership and upper echelons of the armed forces are observant Muslims, and in some cases extremely devout adherents of Salafi belief and practice.  

 

            In effect, at this point, there is not a distinctly secular side that can be associated with post-coup Egyptian leadership under the caretaker aegis of the armed forces, although clearly most of the liberal secular urban elite and many of the left activists sided with the military moves, at least initially. Recent reports suggest more and more defections, although the price for making such a change of heart public can be high. For General el-Sisi the essence of the conflict seems to be between what is irresponsibly alleged to be a ‘terrorist’ opposition on the one side, which has been broadened somewhat to extend beyond the Muslim Brotherhood to whomever dares question the tactics or intentions of the new leadership, and political forces supposedly committed to a democratic future for the country on the other. If the core of the opposition can be effectively portrayed as terrorists in this post-9/11 world, then the criminalization of their activities and organization, and the neglect of their rights will seem prudent to many, and even a necessary ingredient of national security.

 

            The Egyptian state controlled media, along with the mainstream media in the West, has allowed the Egyptian post-coup leadership to so far get away, literally, with murder! This sort of distorted presentation of the conflict has been also indirectly endorsed by governments, and has somewhat surprisingly achieved strong backing throughout the Arab world with a few notable exception. Among the grossest distortions are the unchallenged depiction of the Muslim Brotherhood as purveyors of violence, given that the organization has renounced violence after 1978, and generally maintained such a posture despite decades of suppression and provocation by Mubarak government, and more recently by the forces arrayed against it. It should also be appreciated that Morsi’s clear counsel to his followers from the time of the coup was to insist on the legitimacy of the elected government and to resist the claims of the post-coup leadership, but to do so nonviolently.

 

            It is important to understand that neither the Egyptian or Turkish experiences of polarization are symmetrical processes. In each instance, the side that is fairly beaten by democratic procedures, especially elections, refuses to accept the implications of political defeat. Rather than form a responsible opposition, with an alternative political program, such an embittered opposition has recourse to extra-constitutional means to regain power, and strives to establish a justification for such extremist advocacy and initiatives by demonizing its adversary, especially the person of the leader.

In contrast, the side that enjoys democratic legitimacy relies on its right to govern, and sometimes on its performance, to justify the retention of governing authority. There is no doubt that Morsi was in a radically different position that Erdogan after his narrow electoral victory in 2012—having an economy on a downward slippery slope, a public with high post-Mubarak expectations of a change for the better, and a complete lack of governing experience.

 

            This phenomenon of polarization is becoming more widespread, an expression of growing alienation within societies as a response to disappointments with traditional political parties and their leaders at the national level. As dissatisfaction and frustrations with prevailing forms of governance grows in many countries, the opposition becomes ever more embittered, and tends to blame the elected leader with venomous rhetoric. Often such excessive attacks provoke a response from the government that further discredits the leader in the eyes of the opposition, widening the gap between those governing and those in the opposition. If the angered opposition senses that it is unable to win at the ballot box, it will be tempted to mobilize a populist politics in the street, and sometimes manages to enlist those parts of government bureaucracy (often the judiciary and security forces) that are aligned openly or secretly with efforts to create crises of legitimacy and governance.

 

            From such a combustible mix, explosive possibilities are possible on both sides, ranging from coups to various authoritarian abandonment of democratic procedures. Each side produces a self-serving narrative of national survival that shifts the blame entirely to its political enemy. There is no effort at dialogue, which is essential for the political health of a democratic society beset by serious challenges and policy disagreements. This does not mean that the two sides are equally persuasive, but it does suggest there are few informed and judicious voices that can be heard above the noise of the fray.

 

            Outsiders also complicate the scene, whether they favor the government or the opposition. The originality of each national situation needs to be taken into account. There are many variables, including history, culture, geography, stage of development, economic performance, levels of unemployment and poverty, quality of governance, role of violence, respect for human rights and the rule of law, degrees of corruption. And yet at the same time, there are patterns and transnational similarities that make certain regional generalizations illuminating.

 

            The comparison of Turkey and Egypt is suggestive of this broader regional, and indeed global, pattern of polarization that is undermining political discourse in more and more countries. The Turkish political scene is still very much shaped by the lingering socially constructed and politically maintained legacy of Kemal Ataturk, and his radical modernization project that sought a total eclipse of Turkey’s Ottoman past. This endeavor, although highly influential, never completely succeeded in creating a post-Islamic normative order in the country, although it did manage to produce a highly secularized and Europeanized upper middle class in the main cities in western Turkey that fiercely, with its own unacknowledged religious intensity, clings rather sadly to the outmoded Kemalist legacy as the only usable past.

 

            In Ataturk’s defense as a historical figure, it should be remembered that the challenges facing Turkey after World War I were primarily to create a strong unified state out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire while withstanding European imperial ambitions that were rampant elsewhere in the region. The Turkish defeat of colonial ambitions was spectacular, but it led to a dysfunctional form of hyper-nationalism that had three prominent features: the attempted erasure of minority identities, a discriminatory insistence on the privatization of religious values and beliefs that particularly victimized Turkish women, and a deferential mimicry of Europe, especially France, in its construction of a secular polity.

 

            Each of these undertakings over time generated strong forms resistance that could never be fully overcome: minority identities were not extinguished, especially for the large and diverse Kurdish minority, Islamic political orientations did not disappear and kept seeking limited acceptance in public space, and the European model never won the allegiance of the Turkish masses. What did occur in Turkey until the end of the twentieth century was political domination by secular elites relying on the mantle of Kemalist legitimacy, with power bases in the main cities, and total control of the bureaucratic structures of Turkish governance, including a crucial alliance between the civilian secular leadership and the armed forces, which included the increasing private sector interests and market activity of the military. As a left challenge of a Marxist character emerged after World War II, secular control was sustained by a series of military coups to make sure that capitalist ideology was not frontally challenged. The Cold War pushed Turkey to adopt an anti-Communist foreign policy of a distinctly Western direction. In the NATO context Turkey was made responsible for the vital Southern flank of NATO, and seemed to follow without dissent the geopolitical line taken in Washington.

 

            What happened next after the Cold War ended was a growing populist rejection of the societal structures of Kemalist Turkey without mounting any direct and explicit challenge to the legacy. It was merely circumvented and adapted to a new set of conditions and social priorities. The ascent of the AKP in the 2002 elections, a result that was reinforced by larger victories in 2007 and 2011, achieved a sea change in the tone and substance of state/society relations in Turkey. It came about in stages, and may yet be reversed when new elections are held in 2015. There was Kemalist resistance from the outset, fears that Turkey was supposedly on its way to becoming ‘a second Iran.’ When that fear failed to materialize or to erode pro-AKP support there occurred a variety of coup plots that never came to fruition, largely because the neoliberal economy was flourishing, the AKP was cautious and pragmatic in its early years of leadership, the secularist ‘deep state’ remaining a brake on governance by the elected leaders, and the West, especially the United States was eager at the time to show the Islamic world that it could have a positive relationship with a government that did not hide the devout Muslim convictions of its principal leaders.

 

            The dynamics of polarization are such that when electoral prospects of the opposition are perceived to diminish, the opposition, especially if it had earlier controlled the state for a long period, grows angry and impatient with the workings of constitutional democracy even if it had earlier based its own legitimacy to govern upon the outcome of elections. Now in an altered political climate such a displaced opposition explores other ways to regain control of the state, itself now opting for populist forms of protest and democratic accountability that it had earlier ruthlessly suppressed.

 

            In the Turkish case, the opposition tactics along these lines were surprisingly unsuccessful in the first decade of the 21st century, although the avoidance of a coup may have been based on a number of unstable contingencies.  Such frustration over a ten year period, even as accompanied by impressive economic growth statistics and diplomatic prominence, did not lead the old Kemalist forces to acquiesce in the new political order, but only made the opposition enraged. Instead, these intensified frustrations, bringing anti-AKP resentment to a fever pitch, directed especially at its charismatic, populist, impulsive, and provocative Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man who evokes the strongest passions of love and hate. Erdogan serves as a cynosure of why democracy is at risk from above and below in Turkey. The government has ample grounds to feel threatened by the tactics, extremism, invective, and hostility of the opposition, which does not even bother to hide its contempt for democratic procedures in its quest for a return to the control of governance. In turn, the leadership, especially the sort of highly unpredictable emotional politics practiced by Erdogan, strays itself from democratic procedures partly as an understandable defensive reflex, has grounds to view the opposition as illegitimate, including its most vituperative media critics, which can easily slide into the embrace of a kind of defensive authoritarianism.

 

            The Egyptian descent into the vortex of hyper-polarization has certain resemblances to the Turkish experience, but also significant differences other than the relationship of contending forces to the poles of religion and secularism. In effect, secularism isn’t really a pole in Egypt, but at most one of the constituencies mobilized in the pre-coup period by anti-Morsi forces, many of whom might not have even realized that by opposing being governed by the Muslim Brotherhood, they were opting for the restoration of a brutal regime of the sort that had governed Egypt for three decades under Mubarak, which had seemed to have alienated virtually the whole of the country during the excitement of the January 25th movement in 2011. At that time, the armed forces were seen as standing aside while the people cast off a cruel and corrupt dictatorship that had reduced the Egyptian masses to a condition of subjugation and collective misery. In retrospect, this was an optical illusion created because the armed forces seemed willing to let Mubarak go to avoid having the next leader being his possibly reformist son, but was not at all ready to transform the governing process of the country despite the overwhelming mandate to do just that. It now seems clear that the Egyptian military would struggle against any political developments that threatened control of their budget, regulation of their business activities, and restriction of their discretion to manage the security policies of the Egyptian state (in collaboration with internal police and intelligence forces).

 

            Against this background, including the structural problems generated by Mubarak’s neoliberal approach to development, the Muslim Brotherhood would have been wise to abide by their initial public pledge to not field a candidate for the presidency and to limit their electoral ambitions in parliament and the constitution-forming process. Possibly, sensing their popularity as a transitory opportunity in a fluid situation, and maybe deceptively encouraged by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the MB leadership thought it was entitled to compete for leadership to the full extent of its popularity. Its years of community organizing and welfare services paid off in parliamentary results far in excess of what had been predicted. There seemed to be a mandate to lead the country, but there also seemed to a series of insurmountable challenges that were unlikely to be met whoever gained controlled of the government.

 

            When it became clear that the MB was stronger than expected, and that it would not limit its goals as earlier announced, much of the liberal anti-Mubarak opposition registered a reaction of panic. Reflections on the prospect of living under a MB government induced many Egyptians to swing back to the Mubarak side, leading Ahmed Shafik, a fulool mainstay, to win almost 50% of the vote in the presidential runoff election in June 2012. It was a defeat, but considering the near zero support for the old established order in the heady days of Tahrir Square, this result suggested a dramatic reversal of political mood at least in the main urban centers of Egypt. That near victory of Shafik should have been interpreted as a signal that counter-revolutionary tremors would soon begin to shake the foundations of political stability in Egypt.  Polarization took multiple forms in the ensuing months, with Morsi faltering as a leader partly for failures of his own making, and the opposition stridently insisting that things were out of control, allegedly worse than in the most unpopular Mubarak times. There was also evidence that to mobilize the populace well orchestrated efforts were made to create fuel shortages and price hikes in food prices, impacting negatively on the image of Morsi as someone who could lead post-Mubarak Egypt into better times. The outcome, perhaps exaggerated in the media, was a huge mobilization of anti-Morsi forces that produced the largest public demonstrations in Egyptian history, and set the stage for the July 3rd takeover, with its blank check given to the armed forces to do whatever it wanted to do, including if necessary the elimination of the MB (at least 30% of the populace) from the political scene. What followed was a series of massacres and abuses of state power on a scale that would have shocked the conscience of humanity if it had been reported to the world in an honest and responsible fashion. Instead, what appear to be a series of thinly disguised Crimes Against Humanity of a severe character were swept under the rug of world public opinion, and the new regime received financial and diplomatic support and many diverse wishes for success.

 

            This then is the final point. When a polarized opposition resorts to unlawful means to regain or seize power, the nature of the regional and global response can be critical to its success or failure. There were strong geopolitical incentives for welcoming the Egyptian coup, and thus not complain too much about its bloody aftermath. There are less clear reasons to favor the defeat of the AKP government in Turkey, especially given its role in NATO and the world economy, as well as the absence of a responsible and credible opposition, and yet there are regional and global actors that would greet the fall of the AKP with a smile of satisfaction.

 

            I am arguing that theses instances of polarization amount to a deadly virus that attacks the body politic in countries with weak constitutional traditions, especially if such societies are beset by economic disappointment and significant regional and global hostility due to ideological and political tensions. So far, Turkey has an immune system strong enough to neutralize the virus, while Egypt having virtually no protection against such a virus has succumbed. If there is hope for a brighter Egyptian future, then it will become evident in the months ahead as the Egyptian body politic seeks belatedly to destroy the virus that is threatening the quality of life in the society. For Turkey the future remains clouded in comparable uncertainty, and it may be, that the polarized alienation combined with the mistakes associated with too long a tenure in office will yet lead to the democratic downfall of Erdogan and the AKP.

 

22 Responses to “Two Forms of Lethal Polarization”

  1. Ceylan November 18, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Dear Richard,

    I wonder what made you change your strong supportive opinion of AKP & RTE so suddenly?
    It is the first time since 2002 victory you are not optimistic about it & its future: interesting!?

    Best,

    • Gene Schulman November 19, 2013 at 2:17 am #

      Perhaps a recent extended visit in Turkey could make anyone see things differently? Recent developments in Egypt are hardly encouraging.

      • Gene Schulman November 19, 2013 at 6:17 am #

        I made the above comment, which contributes nothing to the discussion, merely to be able sign in to receive updates. I am glad I did. Richard’s responses to his detractors are edifying.

      • Richard Falk November 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

        Thanks, Gene, for such encouragement. This was my intention to have
        a more nuanced discussion on these vital issues.

    • Richard Falk November 19, 2013 at 5:50 am #

      Dearest Ceylan:

      I don’t feel that I have changed my views very much, although I do feel that RTE responded in an unfortunate way
      to the Gezi Park events. Mainly I was reacting to the strong critics of AKP governance that from the outset have
      overlooked both the achievements, economic, political, and diplomatic made by Turkey after 2002, and ignored the
      dismal record of the CHP and its irresponsible and embittered reactions to losing democratic elections.

      I do think, and have said often, that Turkey would benefit from a responsible opposition, and a sense of positive
      political alternatives, and that any political party that has been in control for a decade or more is likely to
      become arrogant and abusive. At the same time the approach taken to the Kurdish issues and to Cyprus are for me
      examples of constructive internal and international diplomacy.

      What I continue to oppose is the absence of civil discourse, which I think any viable democracy depends upon, and its
      collapse in Turkey I attribute mainly, although not exclusively, to the anti-Erdogan opposition.

  2. peripamir November 19, 2013 at 5:28 am #

    For a scholar who has forever supported the AKP and excused its autocratic leader’s polarizing and undemocratic policies, it is indeed surprising to see Richard Falk utter such words of caution (“… maybe … that… will lead to democratic downfall of Erdogan and the AKP”) about the AKP’s political future at THIS juncture : Is it because he wishes to get on the “right” side of political foresight before it is too late, or is he simply seeking to distance himself, albeit somewhat late and somewhat begrudgingly, from a regime that has for so long betrayed the values to which I would imagine most people who visit this page uphold ?..

    • Richard Falk November 19, 2013 at 6:07 am #

      Peri: I disagree factually with your characterization of my views. I perceived the AKP and its leadership very differently
      than have the opposition that have been, with the support of the media establishment, intent on discrediting Erdogan
      and the AKP from 2002, and showed an incapacity and lack of generosity in refusing to acknowledge its achievements and
      its aspiration. Although Erdogan’s style is confrontational and populist, I believe that it was the opposition more than
      the AKP that embraced the politics of polarization, and definitely plotted to reverse the electoral outcome by anti-democratic
      and unlawful means (I know this from pro-coup American sources in the 2003-07 period).

      I also disagree that this government “has long betrayed the values” that humane democrats would affirm.
      It should be remembered that when I first start coming to Turkey torture was being widely practiced in Turkish prisons
      and the role of military guardianship was taken for granted. Despite some dreadful failures by the Turkish state (and
      I can point to some equally horrifying abuses here in the US) the apparent elimination of torture as a prison practice
      and the civilianization of government are major steps toward the consolidation of democracy for which the AKP should receive
      some credit. I am always suspicious of state power, but I am also suspicious of those that demonize a leadership that
      has had many positive achievements, and has some individuals of the highest moral and intellectual stature in positions
      of great influence in the inner circles of the Turkish governing process.

      • peripamir November 19, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

        Richard :

        It is indeed surprising for me that you see and continue to criticize the CHP as the only viable platform of opposition to the AKP. In this sense your critique sounds barren, echoes that of the AKP and very much ignores grass roots formations that have been emerging socially and professionally across the country, especially since the Gezi movement started. As for the AKP’s “human rights record”, surely you must be aware of the fact that the excesses they have committed, especially since Gezi, (but also before, eg number of journalists imprisoned, etc) FAR outweigh the positive measures you cite. That’s what surprises me about your critiques and defense most of the time : you always fall back on outdated old arguments which have long since been superseded by new developments….

      • peripamir November 20, 2013 at 12:08 am #

        PS. I mean the CHP played no role whatsoever in the Gezi movement which is the most powerful politico-social response this society has ever experienced, and which continues to make inroads as it is part of a social process.

        Also it is truly puzzling for me that you make NO reference whatsoever to state violence as practiced by the police and the judiciary against ordinary civilians under the AKP, especially since Gezi, and yet you constantly raise the same old points about the past.

      • Kata Fisher November 20, 2013 at 1:07 am #

        @peripamir:
        The fact, and reality is that “The Third Reich” (in spiritual and natural) is still going on “in contemporary package” –or are you referring to any other/recent (any new thing?). We can look and see nothing new? I myself not long ago have just understood that…
        I can also explain that–but I will not, unless I have to.
        Best wishes,
        K.F.

      • peripamir November 21, 2013 at 1:30 am #

        Richard,

        I am sorry to reply in bits and pieces due to my limited and hurried access to the internet from my current location but, again, I seem to have overlooked the following remark in your reply to me :

        “Although Erdogan’s style is confrontational and populist, I believe that it was the opposition more than the AKP that embraced the politics of polarization…”

        This is a truly absurd claim as Erdogan’s principal tactic of governance has, by common acknowledgement, been : to divide and rule ! No impartial or for that matter even partial observer who watches the Turkish political scene would have EVER put the onus of polarization more on the opposition. Certainly NOT since the last elections..

        This is the kind of factually utterly incorrect evaluation that, in my view, places your appraisal of the AKP in serious doubt.

        Once again, how can you possibly still cite AKP’s success in eliminating torture in prisons and yet totally ignore the much more recent and countless human rights violations they themselves have committed since they have come to power and which have been amply documented by numerous international bodies ?!

        Since Gezi alone, the Turkish police have once again become notorious “à la Midnight Express” for abuses that have solicited the strongest of condemnations, both domestically and internationally. The Judiciary, by common acknowledgement, has lost ALL remnants of impartial judgement in cases deemed political and protects the interests of the regime by denying “opponents” across the board fundamental democratic rights and freedoms. How can you still speak IN FAVOUR of a government that has by now betrayed all semblance of democratic discourse and moderation ?

        The AKP is taking Turkey down a perilous path today. I am sorry to say that in your endeavor to draw attention to their positive contributions of the past, you have often sounded not like an impartial scholar, but more like their self-appointed “Minister of Propaganda”, especially in the way you have virulently criticized the political opposition which, in any case, has been a dismal failure in representing the views of the populace as represented by Gezi. It is precisely for this reason that a grassroots social opposition movement emerged to represent interests which did not find expression in the current political arena. I personally invest a great deal of hope in this development for a more embracing and representative vision of Turkey’s political future than has hitherto been the case.

      • Richard Falk November 21, 2013 at 7:17 am #

        Peri:

        I would like this revived interaction to be productive, but if you
        are not willing to acknowledge what seems to me so obvious, it makes communication differently: at the outset of the AKP period of governance there was every effort made to destabilize its authority and to criticize Erdogan in particular, and no willingness to balance criticism with acknowledgement of positive achievements. This was also reflected in conversations at the time with you and many of our friends who had deep Kemalist roots and CHP alignments. At first, it
        was and is my strong impression that the AKP and its leaders tried hard not to be confrontational. They were also almost disqualified in the challenge mounted in the Turkish Constitutional Court on a very partisan basis that came within one vote of a party closure. I don’t recall any complaints then about partisan judicial behavior. Naturally every governing party does its best to appoint judges that reflect its views.

        What I agree about it that over time the AKP to some extent, and Erdogan to a greater extent, have become more confrontational and responsible for needless provocations. And as I have suggested the Gezi Park response was not acceptable, but neither was the behavior of some of the protesters, especially after the first few days. Also, from several people participating I have been told that there were efforts by those with Kemalist orientations to take over the protest from those who represented the new politics that you identify, and I
        agree Turkey needs badly. But I also think that dialogue can only be constructive when account is taken of the so-called package of democracy reforms, the Kurdish initiative, and the general effort to assist the disabled, provide cheaper medicines, etc..

      • Kata Fisher November 21, 2013 at 6:22 am #

        @peripamir
        As you will see that all governments need to be sustained as they are and then fixed @ the point/transition in which they are; meaning–what conditions are the governments in this point in time? There also would be the point of start? You can’t just abolish/annul a government–you have to update it? –That has to be done–so that people are not mis-placed, and abused. How do you sustain a government, and avoid all war-crimes? You will study one, and you fix it. Meaning, they do what they are told to do by valid individuals and set of other applicable experts in the areas of the problems; meaning, — what will fix the problems. What is supported–or not will be irrelevant, as one will do what is best for the people, and also the government @ question. I think this is much simpler approach than figuring out things that are not relevant.
        K.F.

  3. peripamir November 23, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    I made my point Richard. Your arguments are outdated and the perspectives you argue have long been superseded by developments you have refused to acknowledge, and which were finally brought to the fore by the Gezi movement. Indeed, Gezi emerged from the frustration elicited by AKP rule and, granted, for lack of an effective political opposition to channel swelling discontentment.

    It is true we never agreed about the AKP, but not because I “belonged to Kemalist elites” as you so fondly and repeatedly love to assert to characterize all AKP opponents, but because I am strictly against ANY party or government ANYWHERE which uses and abuses religion for political ends. In that sense, yes, I’m a secularist. This factor, combined with Erdogan’s autocratic (indeed, one man UNDEMOCRATIC) leadership style, perchance for corruption, and reactionary social perspectives which became explicit as his rule extended, were for me sufficient reasons to oppose his governments. Yes, I too uphold the positive social measures undertaken by the AKP to address the needs of the poor as you underline, but surely this is what governments come to power for ? To serve their people …

    • Richard Falk November 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      Peri:

      I hate to leave our effort to communicate at such an unfortunate level after so many years of friendship. To regard my views, however misguided, as ‘outdated’ and ‘superseded’ is merely dismissive, and not very polite to someone of my age! It would be comparable to my telling you that I find your hopes for the Gezi Park movement to be ‘an extreme instance of wishful thinking.’ Part of my claim is that when a society becomes as polarized as Turkey has become in the last decade a special effort needs to be made to allow dialogue and conversation to continue despite disagreements about what has been happening that causes such divergent perceptions. I have spent lots of time in Turkey during this decade, and have been in contact with people of divergent views who do try to understand each other without relying on insult and an implied assumption that only you and your friends understand the overall situation. I would
      really like it if we could overcome this impasse!

      • peripamir November 27, 2013 at 9:42 am #

        Richard,

        My intent was not to insult and I don’t believe disagreeing with a viewpoint on grounds that it is outdated is disrespectful. However I apologize if it came across that way.

        But if your concern (as the title of this article suggests) is the problem of “polarization”, it is indeed astonishing to downplay the role Erdogan has played as the prime personality responsible for exploiting popular divisions across the board in order to enhance his popularity amongst his supporters. As Prime Minister, he has been responsible for countless unconstitutional and undemocratic acts including, inciting of the population to hatred, and many hope he will one day be brought to trial to answer for these. I honestly don’t believe the current state of deep polarization can be bridged before ALL those responsible are removed from power. And that was what you were hinting at in your article which is what started this whole dialogue in the first place.

      • Kata Fisher November 27, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

        @ peripamir

        Knock, knock:

        Bringing those who are responsible to the justice-valid can take many of the years, even decades. In the meantime, there are problems with the refugees everywhere. These who love blood-shed could be made to stop to create chaos and poverty for the lands.
        Living at tents and camp sites is neither a long-term objective, nor a solution for Syria’s refugee population–not only for Syria’s population, but also in other places. We can look regionally (perspective) on these issues.
        Governments that are responsible for the conditions of people inside and outside their land would take on an immediate and full responsibility to do that which is right: pay fines; meaning, paying for damages toward the people. One cannot shake and manipulate the lands so that people are abused and miss-placed. Repentance toward peoples means valid service.
        Would building additional urban areas that are acceptable take place, in order to accommodate civilized peoples? It appears that tents and camp sites toward refuges are mockery of the world-community toward the peoples, under circumstances that are: manipulation, resentment, greed and robbery, in particulate.
        Or-would that be unacceptable to build a place for refugees? – For people are required to go back to the native Land, someday? But when, years-after, and after decades that will go by? This is point of concern that these who can’t see do not have.
        Likewise, poor of Africa are in conditions that they are because of unreasonable, and never-ending wars that could be limited if the greed and attention would be redirected in a valid way.
        And we cannot forget cause and effect of Church-invalid slopping around. I believe that some conditions can be improved, and that relieves that would be reasonable would also have to take place, very fast. People are starving, and kids are eating dirt-cakes, and that is not acceptable for Africa that was robbed by many nations.
        Within 48 weeks buildings can start coming up–for Syria, and elsewhere. I believe that wicked governments can pay for they have stashed up on destruction, and on the guilt of blood.
        In summary: Is it possible to understand the refuge problems for this point in time? Refuges would have to have everything available as they would normally have within their land—what populated areas would offer within the land from which they had to move off. Now day’s things are built and populated very fast, and humanity is booming (which is a terror for the wicked); however, no work applied toward refugees will go to waste, as they would be well-off, and educated, and booming.

  4. peripamir November 28, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    @kate Fischer

    I am sorry i didnt respond to your comments due to limited internet access from my current location. The issues you point to are doubtless valid but somewhat too general to the current context. But thanks for your comments which I will ponder….

    • Kata Fisher November 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      @ peripamir
      I am not worried when people do not say anything; it can be overwhelming to read different things – especially if we do not understand. Skipping things is appropriate.

      Also, it can be also in form of specific liturgical order.

      Yes, it is general, and just because the specifics are vast.

      Also, you do not have to thank me…I just write, as I feel moved.

      K.F.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Two Forms of Lethal Polarization | Research Material - November 17, 2013

    […] via Facebook http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/two-forms-of-lethal-polarization/ […]

  2. TRANSCEND MEDIA SERVICE » Two Forms of Lethal Polarization: Egypt and Turkey - November 18, 2013

    […] Go to Original – richardfalk.com […]

  3. Richard Falk: Two Forms of Lethal Polarization - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics - November 18, 2013

    […] By Richard Falk By arrangement with Richard Falk […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 10,039 other followers

%d bloggers like this: