Che & The Islamists: The Hidden background to Middle East regime change

by Moshe Phillips
che-egyptThe spotlight on Middle East regimes in transition has left Tunisia and Egypt behind for the most part and zeroed in on Libya. I believe that it is worthwhile however to examine one of the early images of the revolt against the rule of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The fact that it was a complex amalgam of forces that joined together in the streets of Tunis was brought home to me in a photo (above) in the January 25, 2011 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The photo showed two presumably exhausted young demonstrators perched on a wall. One had a Tunisian flag over his shoulders and the other had a banner that featured the famous likeness of Che Guevara in a beret.

The image of the Latin American communist revolutionary seemed out of place in starkly Islamic Tunisia. The decidedly post-nationalist Che contrasted with the national flag of a North African country deserves comment. What possible direct influence could Che have had on Tunisia?

But like so much in the Middle East, there is so much more to the story.

The use of Marxist iconography during these demonstrations is at least as important to closely examine as the anti-Zionist images that have been employed. All of this symbolism is used to demonstrate what these protesters hate and those things that they seek to stir the hearts of the masses: the hatred of the Jews and the rejection of the capitalist model (i.e. the U.S.) and the regimes that America supports. What is not reveled is the unseen hand of the Islamist.

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