Saturday, May 14, 2011

N.Y.T. - Anthony Shadid - May 10th

Note the date here. May 10th is not after May 13th, but before. Read the other one, which is out of sequence, as the most recent of the two and you will see that there is a question at the bottom which the later post is in answer of. Or, just REVERSE the order and read in opposite chronologic style (which actually makes sense).
His name is Makhlouf, and the N. Y. Times uses the word "tycoon," in referring to the man. Here's the entirety of a copied-by-me section of the article, written rather oddly, particularly in the way the word "suggested" is used to illustrate the writer's opinion rather than Mr. Makhlouf's. It is from a recent edition of the Times.
Troubled by the greatest threat to its four decades of rule, the ruling family, he suggested, has conflated its survival with the existence of the minority sect that views the protests not as legitimate demands for change but rather as the seeds of civil war.

“If there is no stability here, there’s no way there will be stability in Israel,” he said in an interview Monday that lasted more than three hours. “No way, and nobody can guarantee what will happen after, God forbid, anything happens to this regime.”

Asked if it was a warning or a threat, Mr. Makhlouf demurred. “I didn’t say war,” he said. “What I’m saying is don’t let us suffer, don’t put a lot of pressure on the president, don’t push Syria to do anything it is not happy to do.”

His words cast into the starkest terms a sentiment the government has sought to cultivate — us or chaos — and it underlined the tactics of a ruling elite that has manipulated the ups and downs of a tumultuous region to sustain an overriding goal: its own survival.

I would also like to point to two more pieces of the article. The article mentions:

"a vast conglomerate with a portfolio of $2 billion", and, how an

"old alliance of Sunni Muslim merchants and officers from Mr. Makhlouf’s Alawite clan" has given way to:

"descendants of those officers benefiting from lucrative deals made possible by reforms that have dismantled the public sector."

The two quotations give some idea of what "capitalism" means under circumstances where it is not a home-grown system but a transplant.

As for the main bit I wanted to discuss with my readers, it brings to mind the most basic cliches of absolutism resting as if in some primordial niche of the mind. But the idea is always there. There is always this idea, resting in the background of the liberal system of tolerance of differences, and of the liberal mind, that conveys the very (and very necessary, at least in concept) opposite type of system, a system where a ruling group has absolute power.
So what to do? What do you do?
I'll sleep on it and, if I can find a computer to use I'll get back at it in the morning (or even if I cannot , but in that case, you won't hear about it).

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