Friday, 11 March 2011

On Arabs, Revolutions, and Conspiracy Theories

There's been a lot of talk about hidden hands behind the Tsunami-style revolutions across the Arab World; and although it's a fair assumption if we take the long history of Conspiracy Theories' relationship with the collective Arab psyche, it is also humiliating to the human spirit, which is the same all over the world, for no human spirit is more refined or capable of change than any other.

We have to admit; in the beginning, that Arab Will has been deficient since the beginning of the 20th century; the 400 odd years of Ottoman rule contributed to the dormancy of the free spirit of the Arab, partly because the Ottoman empire was seen as the House of Khilafah, the most divine rule in Islam, and revolting against it would be considered one of the greatest acts of heresy imaginable, and partly because the economic and social state under which Arabs were, made it increasingly impossible for them to think about anything more than earning their daily bread.

As of late 1880s, Arab intellects who've been exposed to the diversity of the world, through their travels to the West and East, such as Muhammad Abdo and Jamal Al-Deen Al Afghani to name a couple, began advocating Change as an element of Reform -Rather than Reform as an Element of Change- they taught and preached about the virtue of changing the Islamic self view, which roughly translates to looking into a mirror and changing one's own self before seeking to change the surrounding circumstances, a clear understanding of the Qur'anic verse:

إِنَّ اللهَ لا يُغَيِّـرُ مَا بِقَومٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّـرُوا مَا بِـِأنفُسِهم

"Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts"

This revolutionary vision, gave the responsibility of achieving Freedom to humans, rather than the centuries old silent acceptance of tyranny -in all its forms- and labeling it as a God-willed Destiny. The fresh breath of air the Islamic mind got during that period, made it possible for the Arab mind to recover the long lost identity of being an Arab, from Egypt to Syria to Palestine and Lebanon, Arabs began identifying themselves as such, regardless of their religious background, a revert to the thought of supremacy of humanity over taboos.

I'm not going to bore you with a long lesson in history for you all are more educated on the matter than I am, so to make a long story short, I would argue that the past five generations of Arabs have lived through one setback after the other, from the Great Arab Revolt's Utopian promise of a unified Arab state's ending with Sykes-Picot, to the creation of Israel and the loss of Jerusalem, to Saddam's lost dream of Arab potential, to the endless pointless peace process. Arabs got used to the thought of self degradation and finger pointing, blame became our favourite pass-time, and docking responsibility became our greatest sport, we've learned to enjoy defeat in a masochistic way affecting all aspects of our lives and driving us to revert to the belief that misery, tyranny, corruption and decadence is Fate only breakable by God, for which we have to wait as if it were a table of bounties delivered from heaven as we lay on our sides and watch.

Some would argue that the US has a role in the Arab revolutions, others would blame Aljazeera's Israeli agenda, other others would give the credit to the Muslim brotherhood. All of these hypotheses are deliberately or indeliberately underestimating the power of the human spirit, even if that human spirit belongs to people who have been misrepresented, ignored, deceived and oppressed for centuries. The fact remains, that these revolutions are of the people, by the people and for the people; they're the natural evolution of any human experience similar to the one the Arab world lived through in the past 100 years; it happened in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, in Latin America in the 1990s and in South East Asia in the past 10 years. And if one could borrow a line from the US declaration of Independence -without suggesting anything to anyone other than asserting the universal equality of man's aspirations- I would say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" in their search for a better life, not only in the economic gain and loss meaning of the word, but rather through the embodiment of the supremacy of Freedom over Life itself, even if we've been written off as a domesticated breed.

Let Freedom Ring.

No comments:

Post a Comment