Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Why do Arabs Migrate to the West? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Rationally, logically, and lawfully speaking, westerners are supposed to migrate to the land of the Arabs, because it is the land of Muhammad’s message, the place where revelation descended [onto the prophet], the convergence point of civilizations, the land of archaeological sites and tourism, the centre of the universe and the podium of various cultures. However, the inverse happened, with many Arabs migrating to the West. In every town in Europe and America we find an Arab community filling universities, schools, factories, and mosques. Some of them have fled from repression, whipping, torture, gagging, confiscation of freedom, with the traces of torture still on their backs and chests. Others have gone to look for a source of living after being stricken by poverty, stung by hunger, and destroyed by unemployment and idleness. Others have gone to seek knowledge, leaving behind their countries where universities are ranked last in the list of the universities of the world.

Many of these Arabs who were driven out of their countries were poor, or illiterate or mentally disturbed as a result of frustration. Some of them arrived safely, feeling as if they had been in hell, while others drowned at sea, fleeing from a burning hell. Some of them turned themselves into the police or a security station in the West, applying the words of the poet, who said: kill me and kill Malik with me [after me the deluge!].

These Arabs who have reached the West have become engineers, doctors, professors, writers, and intellectuals because the doors to knowledge, work, production, innovation, discovery, and invention have been opened to them. In contrast, some of their colleagues who have stayed behind in the Arab world have retired and were beset by diabetes, high blood pressure, hallucination, senility, and became bald and helplessly crippled. Other colleagues of theirs took private jobs as shepherds and woodcutters, participating in folkloric dances, glorifying their tribe, and threatening other tribes. Others just stayed at home, waiting to die, having written their will while thinking about the Koranic verse that says: “The Death from which ye flee will truly overtake you” [Part of Koranic verse; Al-Jumuah, 62:8]

We have been to the city of Fort Collins, in the State of Colorado, in America. A Libyan invited us. He has political refugee status after fleeing from Libya where he was made homeless, and was hunted, tortured, deported, and frustrated. He worked in the state in question, then bought a farm to which he invited us. The farm has a variety of trees and fruit. He has cows and livestock, and has built a nice villa on the farm that also has clear water and flourishing gardens. He was very generous to us, and he described to us his situation in his country of origin and his current situation. We were amazed. Amazingly enough, here is a man who fled his homeland after being terribly harassed, tortured, and maltreated there and came to a state that we are insulting day and night, and that some of us call the “Great Satan,” a country that our preachers are cursing and wishing it bad. Then, this poor Muslim man who was driven out of his country, tortured in his homeland, becomes rich, having a home, a farm and a job, and enjoying a good life full happiness in an American state!

Why don’t we, Arabs, think about our tragedies and disasters, and admit that many of our states have abolished the Islamic Shariaa, discarded justice, confiscated liberties, taken over rights, erased the freedom of expression and turned the country into a large jail? This is at a time when, in the West, they discuss their affairs calmly, solve their crises with dialogue and govern their subjects with justice. And, not content with this, many of us sing the praise of illusory achievements and verbal projects, dream-walking in cloud cuckoo land. In fact, they are deceiving and laughing at themselves, deriding their history, and mocking their nation. We have traveled thousands of miles in European and American trains and seen regulations, order, cleanliness, environmental protection, good taste, and respect for others.

While admitting that western materialism has killed souls and turned man into a machine, and that this western materialistic civilization has many bad aspects, I must say that when we look at them in this world and then look at the Arab land, we perceive a wide chasm, with the exception of very few Arab places and towns.

In our Islamic Shariaa we read about order, justice, good character, calls for peace and human rights, respect for others, avoiding hurting other peoples’ feelings, showing interest in the environment, seeking knowledge, encouraging work and production, and fighting poverty, ignorance, disease, and injustice. We notice that they are observing all this in the West whereas we find that many Arabs are only paying lip service to it, in their bitter reality.

Please, let us stop cursing and insulting them [in the West], and wishing them bad, and let us preoccupy ourselves with reforming ourselves, improving our level, promoting our universities, cleaning our environment, building our land, and rectifying our mistakes. The Arabs will then return to their land, and perhaps the westerners will migrate to the Arab land.