Imagine All the People Living in Islamist Hegemony: Why Lennon and Dylan Know All About Islamist Hegemony


If you want to understand Arab and Muslim politics, read Constantine Zurayk’s article published shortly after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Zurayk was a frustrated Arab moderate trying to understand how Middle East politics worked. He realized that as long as Israel was only perceived as a high mountain to Arab ambitions, Israel would always stand in the way of Arab political development. When Zionism or Israel is made to be the focus, this conflict will justify all Arab and Muslim anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-Western, anti-American sentiments.

See here in Zurayk’s account:

“Seven Arab states declare war on Zionism in Palestine, stop impotent before it, and turn on their heels. The representatives of the Arabs deliver fiery speeches in the highest international forums, warning what the Arab state and peoples will do if this or that decision be enacted. Declarations fall like bombs from the mouths of officials at the meetings of the Arab League, but when action becomes necessary, the fire is still and quiet and steel and iron are rusted and twisted, quick to bend and disintegrate”

His message was not Israel as the central problem, but Arabs as the central problem.

In other words, radical nationalists, traditional society, and Islamism fuse to destroy the West; all three fail. But since Islam must be true, then it has to be the right way. Islam cannot be wrong; it is the basic concept building Muslim society. The desperate work of Western society--the enlightenment and antimonarchic-- is futile and unacceptable. The Arab and Muslim worlds are not ready for Thomas Paine, George Washington, or anti-clericalism (like the one that infested the French Revolution).

Arab and Islamic politics would have benefited greatly if the Eastern cultural tradition had been replaced by Bob Dylan’s “Only a Pawn in Their Game" or “Imagine” by John Lennon.