by Mordechai Kedar
The Arab world is sinking in a swamp of blood, tears and fire before our very eyes, as their Middle Eastern culture pulls three hundred million Arabs, and many more Muslims who are not Arabs, into the depths of Hell
Arab intellectuals were exposed to the nationalist winds blowing across Europe since the middle of the nineteenth century. They studied them, embraced them and tried to apply them in the Middle Eastern countries. This is how the pan-Arab movements arose, which supported the establishment of one nation state from Morocco in the West to Iraq in the East, from Syria in the North to Yemen in the South. In parallel, British, French and Italian colonialism established local states that attempted to base their existence on the creation of a local consciousness in Syria, Iraq and Jordan, etc., at the expense of an inclusive Arab consciousness, which remained for the Arab League to implement.
The positive image that the Soviet Union had in the middle of the twentieth century gave rise to the flowering of movements that were derived from it such as Gamal Abd al-Nassar’s Arab Socialism and the Baath parties that ruled in Syria and Iraq. Others were attracted by western liberalism and tried to imitate it, and there were still others, who, in contrast, adopted a monarchist model that was based on a local tradition and combined with a pseudo-western constitution.
The common thread connecting all of these ideologies was the fact that all of them represented an attempt to find new substance and modern meaning for the Arab collective that would replace its traditional substance, which was a combination between tribalism and Islam, the two principle components of collective consciousness of the Middle East. The basis for all of the new ideologies was the fact that they now related to a single Arab nation with unique characteristics that necessitated the adaption of western ideologies to the conditions of the Arab East.
Arab nationalism expressed by the Arab League and its institutions, including at the Arab Summit, turned out to be nothing more than a fig leaf to cover the naked factionalism that encumbered every collective action of the Arab countries
But over the years the actual result was a house of cards, hollow slogans and blighted ideas that never actually succeeded in creating a shared consciousness with a solid and generally accepted conceptual substance, which was expected to have settled in the hearts of the masses to replace the strong, basic loyalty to tribal and religious tradition. We see the proof of this – in vivid red colors – over the course of the three last years, which brought about the collapse of the many empty ideas that had permeated the public sphere in recent decades.
The Arab nationalism expressed by the Arab League and its institutions, including at the Arab Summit, turned out to be nothing more than a fig leaf to cover the naked factionalism, scheming, vengeance seeking, hatred, jealousy and competitiveness that encumbered every collective action of the Arab countries. Arab solidarity turned out to be no more than a clichéd and meaningless slogan as Arab countries not only did not support each other when attacked by foreigners but also fought against one another, in extreme contrast to the Arab League’s founding charter. During the past three years we have witnessed the overt military involvement of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other states in Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. In some cases the foreign support was intended to strengthen the ruler and in some cases the support was intended for the rulers’ opponents. In addition, there is the constant plotting of al-Jazeera, the Muslim Brotherhood’s channel, which broadcasts from Qatar, and the media jihad that it has been waging against Arab rulers since it began operating in late 1996.
The man in the Arab street is sure beyond any doubt that the government of his country is corrupt and tainted and operates solely for the benefit of those on the state’s payroll
The rulers, or more accurately: the dictators – from Gamal Abd al-Nassar to Saddam Hussein, from Qadhaffi to Asad the father as well as the son – have been slaughtering hundred of thousands of their own citizens, not those of other countries, during the past generation, in the name of nationalism and patriotic concern, of course, and no one even blinks. They have been acceptable guests in conventions, in conferences, in receptions and the corridors of power, and every politician wants to get into the picture with them. There were even some politicians among the Arab citizens of Israel who ran to Libya a few years ago to be photographed together with the mass murderer that ruled there for 42 years. Their behavior gives a bad name to the nationalism and patriotism that is trumpeted by their propaganda machines, and citizens in the street tired of them and the message that they were trying to convey.
The Arab citizen has an amazingly low level of confidence in his state compared with citizens of other countries in the world. The man in the Arab street is sure beyond any doubt that the government of his country is corrupt and tainted and operates solely for the benefit of those on the state’s payroll, who exploit the office and authority for personal profit through graft and bribery. There is a general sense of despair in the Arab street because of the Arabs’ inability to conduct an orderly, modern state with transparency of governance and economic fairness. The violence that the regimes in Arab states have been employing for decades alienates them from the majority of the population and creates deep-seated hostility between the regime and the citizens. Nevertheless, in parallel, there is also a sense that if the government did not employ violence, the Arab world would not be able to maintain an orderly and efficient system for any length of time.
Governmental use of violence exists at the national, state level as well as the municipal level. Organizations that are affiliated with the state – the military, police, ministries – suffer from similar ills. Rates of family violence are higher in the Middle East than in other areas of the world, and the Arab woman is more oppressed than any other in the world.
It seems that the particular interests of these countries prevailed over flimsy slogans of solidarity with the Palestinians.
Arab loyalty to the Palestinians has turned out to be nothing more than a meaningless slogan as well. What did the Arab countries do to lessen the suffering of the refugees of 1948 who were confined to “refugee camps”? The Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza keep their brothers in the refugee camps!! What have the Arab authorities done with the billions that they have received from the world for the refugees during 65 years? Where have all of the donations disappeared to, that the world has contributed to the refugees over the years? Didn’t Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan make peace with Israel without the Palestinian problem having been resolved? It seems that the particular interests of these countries prevailed over flimsy slogans of solidarity with the Palestinians. The events that have occurred in recent days in the Yarmouk Camp in Syria prove just how dear to the hearts of other Arabs the Palestinians actually are.
Even the Iranian threat, which has become increasingly significant lately as a result of the Geneva agreement, has not managed to unify the Arabs. Therefore, out of desperation they are developing relations with Israel behind the scenes, in the hope that perhaps Israel will rescue them from the Iranians. Hassan Nasrallah calls these Arabs “fake men”, and the Arab lexicon has no more denigrating label than this.
More than a hundred million Arabs live far beneath the line of poverty and their lives are characterized by illness, ignorance and neglect. On the other hand a very narrow segment of Arabs live the luxurious lives of billionaires in the oil countries as well as in other places. Economic solidarity within the “Arab nation” approaches zero, and real concern for the poor, the orphan and the widow is almost non-existent. The absence of economic solidarity is the result of the weakening of social solidarity. Consideration for human values in the Arab world is extremely low; therefore the concern for quality of life is fairly limited.
Man has abandoned the station of leadership and Allah has entered with a Kalashnikov in his hand
During the past three years, as a result of the deterioration of modern ideologies and the weakening of the Arab regimes, the al-Qaeda vultures have begun to peck at the weak and diseased body of the Arab nation. Man has abandoned the station of leadership and Allah has entered with a Kalashnikov in his hand. Every place that a state ceases to function, terrorists arrive from all over the world to establish an “Islamic state” there. It is so in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya, in Yemen and in Sinai, in addition to Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The primary target for these agents of death is the Arab nation, and the number of Muslims that they have killed is much greater than the number of “infidels” that have been killed in the fire that they incite every place they can. Al-Qaeda has turned Allah into a battlefield warrior, and he fights against his Muslim believers.
The Arab world is sinking in a swamp of blood, tears and fire before our very eyes, as their Middle Eastern culture pulls three hundred million Arabs, and many more Muslims who are not Arabs, into the depths of Hell. If Israel announced today that she would open her gates wide to unlimited immigration of Arabs and Muslims, how many Arabs would rush to Israel, the Jewish, Zionist state, to find a new life?
A few years ago, one of the Egyptian newspapers said that the Arab nation is a dead, frozen body in the morgue that no one has the courage to fill out a death certificate for. I leave it to my dear readers to decide how correct that journalist was.