Sometimes it can be hard for the Progressive Left to keep in sympathy with the Non-Western world. All too often, it seems, Arab, Third World, African, and Latin American elites are eager to blame the West for all world’s problems, without acknowledging their own role in some of the worst of those same problems. This is particularly dangerous because the Right can use it. To demonize the world outside the West, Right wing theorists only have to point at, say, forced labor in the Third World, and then reference those nations’ apparent indifference to it.
Fortunately, there are non-Western intellectuals who are willing to take their share of blame. Consider for example Kamel Daoud’s new piece, Blaming the West is not enough: We too are responsible for this calamity in Middle East Eye. Daoud is well-known Algerian intellectual, writer, and journalist. In “Blaming,” he takes his own country’s elites to task for being uncaring about their national transgressions, while happily using the West as the scapegoat for everything wrong in the world. On just one subject, that of migration, he notes, “In the very same newspaper, you can read an article decrying the aggressive expulsion of Algerian immigrants in France alongside a brief clip noting that 500 sub-Saharan migrants were deported from an Algerian town on the supposed pretext that one of them had committed a crime.”
It is refreshing, and heartening, to see this kind of honest self-reflection. Let’s hope, for their sake and for ours, that the leaders and thinkers of Algeria and the Third World hear his wisdom.