Our Utilitarian Ethics and the ‘Arab Spring’

A new article by my friend Martin Accad on the ‘Arab Spring’. Really worth reading.
Here is, as a teaser, an important question and the way he tries to answr it:
‘Can I, as a Christian, support a dictatorial regime, simply because I fear the negative consequences that might derive from an Islamist government on my Christian community? I would assert that the Church’s stance at such an important juncture should not derive from fear of a future that we cannot possibly know for sure. Conversely, our hope, as Christians, is in no way sustained by the winds of political change. Besides the fact that there is no cause to believe that the Church would be better off, say, in Syria, following an eventual fall of the current Syrian regime, we are not called, in any case, to be foretellers of the future. The Church does far better when it stays away from taking political sides and concerns itself instead with the humanitarian needs that emerge from political crises, regardless of the religious or political affiliation of those in need. We are called to do what’s right today, and leave the aftermath scenarios to God.’

The Institute of Middle East Studies

by Martin Accad

The phenomenon that has been labeled the ‘Arab Spring’ is known today through its diverse incarnations in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. It looks different in each country and is in each place at a different stage. But in each of these places the phenomenon should be viewed as ongoing, whether the emerging parties are at the stage of constitutional rewriting, elections or involved in ongoing warfare. The label ‘Arab Spring’ emerged early, clearly reflecting an optimistic interpretation of the movement as the beginning of something new. After more than 18 months, however, things don’t look as bright as it was initially thought they might be. In Syria, things look particularly bleak at this point, with both parties in the conflict now heavily armed, and with heavy casualties resulting from intense battles in Aleppo and Damascus as I write. Furthermore, the western media seem finally…

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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