Pada tahun 2008, Robin Wright, seorang penulis dan jurnalis veteran yang telah menghasilkan berbagai karya

tentang Timur Tengah, dalam bukunya yang berjudul Dreams and Shadows mewawancarai beberapa individu yang melakukan berbagai eksperimen untuk pemberdayaan dan perubahan di Timur Tengah yang disebutnya sebagai sebagai „kawasan paling bermasalah di dunia‟. Analisa Wright dalam buku tersebut mengenai budaya perubahan dan pemberdayaan yang mulai tumbuh dan berkembang di Timur Tengah ditanggapi oleh berbagai pengamat sebagai pandangan yang terlalu optimis. Tiga tahun kemudian pada 2011, ketika gelombang pergolakan muncul di Tunisia, Mesir, dan terus menyebar di kawasan Timur Tengah dan Afrika Utara, analisa Wright yang dikemukakannya pada tahun 2008 mendapatkan sebuah nilai tersendiri. Dalam buku selanjutnya yang ia tulis berjudul Rock the Casbah (diambil dari judul lagu punk rock yang dinyanyikan oleh The Clash), Wright mengembangkan analisis dari buku sebelumnya mengenai pemberdayaan dan perubahan yang berlangsung di kawasan Timur Tengah dan Afrika Utara. Dalam bukunya, Wright menyatakan bahwa pergolakan di Timur Tengah tidak hanya terjadi dalam penentangan masyarakat terhadap sistem autokrasi, akan tetapi juga terhadap konsep jihad ekstrimisme, hal ini tercermin dalam salah satu pernyataannya di buku tersebut, “For most Muslims today, the real jihad is simply rescuing the moral struggle at the heart of the faith from extremists”. Rock the Casbah membahas tidak hanya mengenai penyebab dan asal mula dari Arab Spring yang sedang terjadi, akan tetapi juga tren yang lebih luas yang terjadi di Dunia Islam. Pergolakan yang terjadi di Tunisia, Mesir, Libya dan Yaman bukanlah akhir, melainkan sebuah awal dari perubahan dan pergerakan yang lebih besar. Wright berargumen bahwa Dunia Islam secara luas semakin menolak ekstrimisme dan berbagai bentuk militansi yang mengatasnamakan Islam yang terbukti „memakan biaya yang terlalu mahal‟. Dalam analisanya, Wright menentang tesis dari Samuel Huntington dalam The Clash of Civilization dan memperlihatkan bahwa bahkan di tengah-tengah upaya berbagai pihak untuk mensegregasikan Islam, terutama setelah persitiwa 11 September, sebagian besar muslim mulai terintegrasi dengan dunia modern dan globalisasi. Perubahan di Dunia Islam dan Timur Tengah ini didorong oleh kemajuan Teknologi Informasi seperti Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TV satelit, dan oleh perkembangan demografi di mana para pemuda menjadi mayoritas di negara-negara muslim. Di beberapa negara muslim, jumlah pemuda bahkan mendekati 70% dari total populasi.

berbagai wawancara dan observasi yang dilakukan dikombinasikan dengan analisa penulis untuk melihat konteks besar dari pergerakan budaya yang terjadi di Timur Tengah. . literatur. Pada bagian kedua ini. Dalam bagian mengenai pergolakan di Timur Tengah. The main weakness of the book has to do with methodology: Ms. Secara umum. Wright memaparkan mengenai berbagai kejadian yang menjadi topik utama pemberitaan di berbagai media mengenai Timur Tengah Pergolakan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Bagian kedua dari buku Wright menyajikan berbagai aliran musik. Rock the Casbah terbagi menjadi tiga bagian di mana bagian pertama menyajikan sejarah dari pergolakan di Timur Tengah. Dalam “Satellite Sheiks and YouTube Imams”. drawing on her decades of experience reporting for publications like The Washington Post.Ms. dan bagian akhir berisi analisis mengenai masa depan dari kawasan Timur Tengah. Wright writes with authority. dan berbagai bentuk produk kebudayaan subversif di berbagai penjuru Timur Tengah yang tidak dikenal secara luas. Wright membahas mengenai para penceramah yang menggunakan media modern seperti internet dan televisi untuk menyebarkan pesan-pesan alternatif yang berbeda dengan para penceramah ekstrimis. or what its prospects for taking root in the near future might be. Bagian mengenai “Hip-Hop Islam” menjelajahi tempat-tempat di Palestina dan Maroko dimana terdapat para pemuda yang mengembangkan kebudayaan Hip Hop a la Bronx. and to situate them within a larger historical and political context. women‟s rights activists and daring. Berbagai jenis produk kebudayaan ini disebut oleh Wright sebagai counter jihad atau bagian dari perang ideologi melawan ekstrimisme dan sistem diktatorial. and in these pages she uses her intimate knowledge of the region to look at how much-covered recent events (like the role an obscure Tunisian street vendor played in inciting the Arab Spring and the popular revolt that led to the fall of Egypt‟s longtime president Hosni Mubarak) are related. social-minded artists results in profiles of some remarkable individuals. The Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker. komedi. Wright‟s tendency to focus on portraits of reform-minded protesters. but it can also lead to a heavily anecdotal narrative in which it can be difficult for the reader to tell just how widespread a given trend is. bagian kedua memaparkan mengenai perkembangan kebudayaan dan kesenian di kawasan.

its inability to provide constructive solutions for everyday issues like health care and jobs. a Saudi woman named Hissa Hilal became a finalist on a Persian Gulf reality show called “The Million‟s Poet” (“a local version of „American Idol. Like Mr. notes that several factors are proving detrimental to Al Qaeda‟s long-term future. its killing of Muslim civilians. disaffected men in the Muslim world will continue to embrace bin Laden‟s doctrine of violent anti-Westernism. Ms.” Ms. Wright argues that Osama bin Laden miscalculated the consequences of the 9/11 attacks. the central issue is not a war with the West. too. she points to the emergence of powerful new critics of Al Qaeda. she reports. In 2010. asserting that a decade after 9/11.‟ only in verse”). preaching a code of nonviolence and pluralism. And members of a new generation of Muslim playwrights and filmmakers are turning their art forms into forums for the counterjihad.Like Peter L. but “a struggle within the faith itself to rescue Islam‟s central values from a small but virulent minority. Bergen worries that “many thousands of underemployed. and recited an angry. She. But while Mr.” “For the majority of Muslims today. found that far more people in a sampling of Muslim countries “identified with modernizers — by two to six times — than with fundamentalists.” Ms. Wright contends. about Muslim values rather than Islamic ideology. “the Islamic world is now in the throes of a counterjihad” aimed at routing “extremism in its many forms” and that this “counterjihad will define the next decade as thoroughly as the extremists dominated the last one. most notably Sheik Salman al-Awdah . whom she describes as “one of bin Laden‟s earliest role models” and who in 2007 issued an open letter to that Qaeda leader.” She argues that for a growing number of Muslims. can be measured by the flowering of new art forms in the Islamic world that challenge the political. who had jihadi credentials themselves.” A 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey. she writes. helping to bridge East and .” she says. Bergen. Bergen in his recent book. condemning him for spilling the blood of innocent people. groundbreaking poem that assailed extremist groups and established clerics.” The depth of changing attitudes. “Islam is often more about identity than piety. most notably its failure to offer any positive vision for building a society. and its ultrafundamentalist worldview. religious and social establishments. “The Longest War. Wright is considerably more positive. A popular comic-book series about a group called the 99 — created by a Kuwaiti psychologist named Naif al Mutawa — features superheroes who are anti-jihadis.

it “lost the first round to the theocracy‟s thugs. “may prove the toughest to change. By Wendy Smith .” she concludes.” Optimistic as Ms. Egyptians. Lasting political and social transformation will be further complicated in many countries by high levels of unemployment. in the end. Wright goes on. Ms. Ms.West even as they provide an expression. where political Islam first seized power.” and “its songs have become the anthems of protests across the Arab world. are “among the most potent new messengers of political change”: hip-hop has emboldened the young — in places like Tunisia. “The drive. Saudi Arabia and Palestinian villages in Israel — “to lash back at both extremists and autocrats. Libyans.” Book Review: 'Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World' Robin Wright uses her four decades of journalism experience in the region to go beyond the usual sources in seeking a clearer understanding of the social and political upheaval underway. they confront delicate transitions in which “conflicting demands for both social justice and economic growth” will have to be balanced.” and that country. Wright believes that “Tunisians. a pervasive lack of education and sectarian and ethnic divisions. Wright‟s words. Bahrainis.” Rappers. of “what it is like to be an ordinary Muslim in an era of Islamic extremism. Wright says. Morocco. Jordanians. Ms. she writes. and political predators — including members of old ruling parties and Islamist extremists — will try to take advantage of public frustration with the pace of change. Moroccans and many others” are part of a broader historical pattern that includes the collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Yemenis. Though the Green Movement challenged the Iranian regime in 2009. in Ms.” As for nations that have experienced the sudden collapse of authoritarian rule. “to be part of the 21st century — rather than get stuck in the status quo of the 20th century or revert to the ways of the 7th century — now consumes the Islamic world. Wright is. Yet. too. she acknowledges that Islamic change agents face a host of obstacles and uncertainties in the years to come. and the end of military dictatorships in Central and Latin America.

2011 Rock the Casbah Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World Robin Wright Simon & Schuster: 320 pp." says Muslim punk rocker Michael Muhammad Knight. we're giving the finger to both sides." They want to lead modern lives. $26. and they want democratic accountability from their governments. In "Rock the Casbah. do not believe their religion requires them to live by rules that have more to do with the practices of a patriarchal 7th-century society than the teachings of the Koran. Wright focuses sections of her book on Islamic youth culture as an instrument of change. but the Clash's understanding that culture and politics are inextricably intertwined is precisely Robin Wright's point.. Young Muslims." she provides invaluable context for what she rightly terms "the epic convulsion across the Islamic world" by listening to voices we don't usually hear. But many of them are also "strikingly religious and observant.99 It might seem odd to appropriate the title of a song from an English punk band for a book of indepth reporting about the evolving political situation in largely Muslim nations. The comment clearly illustrates Wright's central contention. she finds. . but that doesn't mean they think the secular West has all the answers. "In this so-called war of civilizations.Special to the Los Angeles Times July 17.

which is unfolding in the wider Islamic bloc of fiftyseven countries as well as among Muslim minorities worldwide. and resolute about their rights. they are also rejecting the violent extremism of Al Qaeda and the Taliban and the fundamentalist Islamic ideology that fuels terrorism and guides theocracies such as Iran. firm about their femininity. But her central contention is unassailable: it's not for outsiders to determine the shape of change in Islamic societies." Even the first section. she believes. "satellite sheikhs" who preach a more tolerant form of Islam. Part 2 of the book. which chronicles the overthrow of Tunisia's and Egypt's rulers. a criticism that could also be made of her implicit suggestion that cultural ferment facilitates political progress. As Wright notes. They may find themselves cynical about the assertion that "hejab is now about liberation. "committed to their faith." Wright is perhaps overly optimistic about female empowerment via Muslim modesty. playwrights comic-book artists and stand-up comics who challenge stereotypes and restrictive theology while affirming their faith. as well as the sustained though ultimately fruitless protests against Iran's rigged 2009 election.Anyone seeking deeper understanding of the Arab Spring needs to read Wright's formidably wellinformed book. "A Different Tune. furthers our comprehension of those well-known events by expanding to cover developments less ." goes far beyond the usual platitudes about Facebook and YouTube (though it happens to be true that they empowered the Arab Spring revolts) to explore Islamic rap." Muslim citizens are not only overthrowing autocratic regimes. Wright's in-depth knowledge of those societies' cultures and histories informs every page of "Rock the Casbah. Her depiction of young Muslim women. their balancing act between religion and modernity can make Western observers uncomfortable." will spark some qualms in non-Muslim feminists. Wright has covered much of the Muslim worldthatfor four decades. A former correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Young Muslims — more than half of the Islamic world is under 30 — are at the forefront of this change. I agree that I will wear hejab in order to have more space and freedom in return. "pink hejab" {the Islamic head scarf} feminism. not confinement" and troubled by one activist's admission that "it's a deal between a Muslim girl and society. not just on the barricades in Egypt and Tunisia but on the concert stage in Marrakesh and on television in Saudi Arabia. and Muslim poets. She sees the political revolts in the Middle East and North Africa as part of a broader trend: "the counter-jihad.

Los Angeles Times . She cites a 2007 letter to Osama bin Laden from Saudi Sheikh Salman al Oudah as evidence that even conservative Wahhabist clerics such as Sheikh Salman have come to see Al Qaeda's murderous tactics as crimes that disgrace Islam. has yet to craft a coherent new policy to encourage democratic movements or sustain fragile emerging democracies. but "radicalism doesn't have a policy for education or health or the economy. it's not up to us. She chronicles homegrown revolts against Al Qaeda (in Iraq's Anwar province in 2006-07) and the Taliban (in Pakistan's Swat Valley in 2009) to back up her contention that support for extremism had plummeted among Muslims even before there was a political alternative other than U. after decades of unquestioningly supporting authoritarian Arab regimes. In addition. the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. "There is still a wild ride ahead. "No new government will be able to accommodate expectations of either jobs or social justice anytime soon — and probably for years to come. but in the end." comments Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. she does not attempt to forecast their final outcomes. Nobody wants another Taliban state. as he has pointed out. the ongoing rebellions battling brutal repression in Libya and Syria. and President Obama appears to be trying." The United States." We must do better." she warns.S.familiar to Western readers. and various forms of protest achieving various levels of success across the Islamic world. Wright bluntly comments.-supported autocracies. "People are angry at America. Her final chapters briefly scan post-revolutionary turbulence in Egypt and Tunisia. Smith is a contributing editor for the American Scholar and reviews books for The Times. Wright's richly textured portrait of ancient cultures in the throes of wrenching but liberating transformation makes it quite clear that Muslims themselves will decide their future. Copyright © 2011." Wright does not minimize the challenges facing those seeking an authentically Muslim form of democracy. it has "consistently misread public sentiment in the Islamic world.

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