# POLITICS /// Tunisia, Egypt: When an Eastern wind sweeps up Western arrogance by Alain Badiou


After the revolutions in Tunisia and in Egypt, the abject Western reactions to them were shared between an extreme condescension (some E.U. representatives proposing their “expertise in democracy” to the people of Egypt, some American journalists (on Fox from all channels…) declaring that the notion of freedom in the Middle East has been brought by Bush and Blair…) and an extreme hypocrisy (yes, the will of people is respectable but really we would prefer to keep the Western backed dictatorship and a more or less regular price of gas for our cars).
Today, now that the revolts are occurring against Gaddafi, Ahmadinejad and the other authoritarian regimes of the Arabic world (maybe the people of Iraq could have had their own revolution against Saddam Hussein if the Western World would have let them doing so), Alain Badiou releases an excellent -as usual- article in Le Monde (unfortunately only in French) entitled Tunisie, Egypte: quand un vent d’est balaie l’arrogance occidentale (Tunisia, Egypt: When an Eastern wind sweeps up Western arrogance).
This short essay calls for the Western World, not to consider themselves as the professor of the people who created their revolutions but rather as their students.

As I wrote this article is not translated in English but I would like to do so for one paragraph as much as my bad translator skills allow me (sorry about them):

We see young doctor women coming from the province in order to heal wounded people, sleeping in the center of a circle of savage young men, and they are more peaceful than ever, they know that nobody would ever touch them. We also see an organization of engineers who beg suburban kids to hold the square, to protect the movement by their fighting energy. We see a row of Christians being on watch for the Muslims bowing on their prayers. We see shopkeepers feeding unemployed and poor people. We see everybody talking to their unknown neighbors. We read a thousand of signs on which each life is mixed without hiatus to the great History of all. The sum of those situations, of those inventions, constitute the communism of movement. It has been two centuries that the unique political issue is the following: how to establish in a sustainable way the communism of movement’s inventions? And the unique reactionary statement remains: “this is impossible, or even harmful. Let’s give ourselves to the State.” Glory to the Tunisian and Egyptian people that recall for us the true and unique political duty: facing the State, the organized loyalty to the communism of movement.

original version in French:

Des milliers de possibilités neuves, concernant ces contradictions, surgissent à tout instant, auxquelles l’Etat – tout Etat – est entièrement aveugle. On voit des jeune femmes médecin venues de province soigner les blessés dormir au milieu d’un cercle de farouches jeunes hommes, et elles sont plus tranquilles qu’elles ne le furent jamais, elles savent que nul ne touchera un bout de leurs cheveux. On voit aussi bien une organisation d’ingénieurs s’adresser aux jeunes banlieusards pour les supplier de tenir la place, de protéger le mouvement par leur énergie au combat. On voit encore un rang de chrétiens faire le guet, debouts, pour veiller sur les musulmans courbés dans leur prière. On voit les commerçants nourrir les chômeurs et les pauvres. On voit chacun parler à ses voisins inconnus. On lit mille pancartes où la vie de chacun se mêle sans hiatus à la grande Histoire de tous. L’ensemble de ces situations, de ces inventions, constituent le communisme de mouvement. Voici deux siècles que le problème politique unique est celui-ci : comment établir dans la durée les inventions du communisme de mouvement ? Et l’unique énoncé réactionnaire demeure : “cela est impossible, voire nuisible. Confions-nous à l’Etat”. Gloire aux peuples tunisiens et égyptiens qui nous rappellent au vrai et unique devoir politique : face à l’Etat, la fidélité organisée au communisme de mouvement.

Alain Badiou. February 2011