Throughout the Arab world, we have seen governments that love to play the terrorist/Salafist card to justify authoritarianism and squelch reform. The argument goes that liberalization will empower Islamists, who will then use democratic mechanisms to overthrow the democratic system and impose Islamic rule. Although this fear might be legitimate in some cases, it is often overplayed to justify authoritarianism and corruption. Western backers of these states have traditionally been quick to accept this defense.
Back in July, when Jordanian police beat up peaceful pro-reform demonstrators, the government trotted out this classic defense. Some of these liberal, pro-democracy Jordanian reformers got tired of being branded “Salafists,” so they lashed out on Twitter with brilliant sarcasm.
This all happened a while ago, but I saved some of the best tweets so I could share them once I re-opened the blog. Without further ado, here is a crash course in how to identify the Salafists among you:
If you can’t manufacture justifications for police officers using kabab grills as batons on peaceful protesters then #YouMightBeASalafist
If you’re a protester who has been met with “appropriate force” then #YouMightBeASalafist. http://j.mp/okPchn
If you aspire to make Jordan a better place then #YouMightBeASalafist
if u r communist, leftist, atheist, liberal, nationalist, sufi, christian, anarchist, or just normal citizen #YouMightBeASalafist
#YouMightBeASalafist If u don’t believe there is a global conspiracy against Jordan
#YouMightBeASalafist If u don’t think JTV is better than CNN and ALRAI better than the WP [JTV is the state news channel and AlRAI is the state newspaper]
#YouMightBeASalafist If u don’t dance to the tunes of Hashmi Hashmi [Hashmi Hashmi is famous for its cheesy nationalistic music. Check it out. There were other snide comments about liking Jaishna (“Our Army”)]
If you’re a member of an association or union then #YouMightBeASalafist
#YouMightBeASalafist If ur not willing to sell ur pen, ur heart and ur mind
if you’re not keen on human adulation or character assassination then #YouMightBeASalafist
If u think 11yrs is a bit long to not even see 1 solid #ReformJO effort emerge, then #YouMightBeASalafist…or unrealistic. Take ur pick.
If you ever wonder how anyone can live on $300 a month in a country that charges 6JD for a fruit juice #youmightbeasalafist #jo
If you mention the Casino case then #youmightbeasalafist [refers to a high-level corruption issue that has been in the news for months now]
If you don’t think Jordan is utopia #YouMightBeASalafist
If you think journalists should be more than court stenographers #youmightbeasalafist
If your first name starts with a letter and your last name contains a vowel, #YouMightBeASalafist!
#YouMightBeASalafist If u don’t toe the official line..and repeat their rubbish like a parrot
If you believe that corruption can be fought with mentioning the names of the big boys #YouMightBeasalafist
If you think a family name shud not come with special privileges that are not granted to everyone else, then #youmightbeasalafist
#YouMightBeASalafist if you’re ruining the image of Jordan as the safest & most stable country in the universe.
If you’re a foreigner but vocally suggest ways that Jordan might improve #YouMightBeASalafist
If you think wasta and nepotism shud not exist, #youmightbeasalafist
If you’re not a 100% full-blooded “Jordanian”, or one who claims to be so despite the evidence, then #YouMightBeASalafist
If you feel like you belong somewhere but your family name is from somewhere else, #YouMightBeASalafist
If u think a minister who creates a company to bid on a multi-million dollar housing project for the poor shud be tried #YouMightBeASalafist
If you think that kids should not be beaten at school or get 2 9th grade w/out being able 2 read & write then #YouMightBeASalafist
If ur someone who wonders wat happened to the National Dialog Committee, or the National Agenda, or, or, or…then #YouMightBeASalafist
If you use sarcasm as a defense mechanism dealing with disillusionment with your country by means of twitter hashtags, #YouMightBeASalafist