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Compare the writings of Theodore Herzl and Sayyid Qutb.
At the turn of the 19th century, a German journalist witnessed the persecution of millions of people excluded from participation in education, the legal systems and institutions, and the public life of Europe. He witnessed injustice reaching an invidious height in the Dreyfus prosecution. Herzl's response was to create a place where people could thrive and work for a better life without persecution. He became one of the Founding Fathers of modern Zionism.
In 1949, a wealthy Egyptian educational reformer, came to the United States to study and write. He was given a scholarship. He was invited to participate in social, educational, cultural and institutional life. He saw crassness and materialism, and lust for life which disgusted him. He saw women, none of whom met his standards of subservience. He went on to become the intellectual light of the Moslem Brotherhood.
The similarities and differences between the two "founders" are worthy of study.
Qutb was quite devoted to writing, which he regarded as his art and livelihood, although it was not the source of his income, which derived from his family wealth. His two most important works: a commentary of the Qur'an Fi Zilal al-Qur'an (In the Shade of the Qur'an), and a manifesto of political Islam called Ma'alim fi-l-Tariq (Milestones). These works represent the final form of Qutb's thought, encompassing his radically anti-secular and anti-Western claims based on his interpretations of; the Qur'an, Islamic history, and the social and political problems of Egypt.
Qutb focused on issues that occupied Egypt after Great Britain voluntarily turned the control of the political power over to Egyptians. Gamel Abdel Nasser, a secular dictator seized power in 1952, with the aid of the Moslem Brotherhood. After an assassination attempt on Nasser's life, Qutb was imprisoned for 8 months and then executed in 1966 after a "show trial".
Ironically, Herzl had witnessed one such "show trial" himself, although not as a defendant. The defendant was Theodore Dreyfus, a Jew. The trial demonstrated that all Jews in Europe were subject to such "trials".
Working Paper in progress...
- Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable. I am filled with joy. It can't be helped.
Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired. Filled, just filled, with Joy.