Dead Man Talking

From a friend of a friend in the mysterious East comes a pair of links to some videos featuring a Bahraini Shi’ite by the name of Dhiyaa al-Musawi. In the first clip he is being interviewed, in Arabic, and he is saying some extraordinary things.

“We, I’m sad to say, are against creativity and civilization. … We must have the courage to get rid of the backward cholesterol of ideology accumulating in the arteries of Arab awareness and the Arab mind. We suffer from backwardness. This is not masochism — the kind the psychologists talk about — or self-flagellation. This is the truth. We have not developed even to the point of admitting defeat. We have to admit our cultural defeat. … We need to reshape and reform religious thinking … this is the language and culture of death.”

It is a brave man who would make such remarks on Arabic TV (I assume the fidelity of the translation in the subtitles), though I have no doubt that there are a great many people in the region who know these things to be true, and who yearn to hear them spoken aloud. Bless him, he even tells the interviewer that he listens to music, and loves Beethoven. Perhaps there is a sliver of hope after all.

In the second clip we see our man, whose life must already be in genuine peril, participating in a panel discussion at a television studio. Dominating the conversation is a vehement jihadist, braying the usual vapid religious justifications for barbaric brutality (“We do not determine the goals, Allah does”). But toward the end of the clip, al-Musawi enters the fray, and once again he is a welcome messenger of sanity:

“Today, Jihad does not mean carrying out attacks with airplanes. Jihad means economic power, development, strengthening human rights, and establishing a civil, rather than theocratic, state.”

We must all be grateful for this man’s courage. May Allah shelter him and give strength to his voice. See the interview here, and the panel discussion here.

PS: In preparing this post I noticed that Dhiyaa al-Musawi had been mentioned, back in January, in this post over at The Gates of Vienna. Go have a peek there too.

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One Comment

  1. Jesse Kaplan says

    Thank you for reassembling. Some of the poetry gets lost in the discrete subtitles. It would be interesting to know how this comes across in Arabic. Where are the Sufis? Literalist fundamentalism is always the exoteric side of religion. There is a reason psychologists administer proverbs in a mental status exam. Some people, when asked what “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” means answer, “because the glass will break.” Such thinking indicates pathology.

    Posted March 16, 2008 at 1:41 am | Permalink