There is a well-known joke in Egypt that is being reproduced these days. This joke goes: An Egyptian state TV presenter went to a remote village to conduct an interview with an old man. She asks him “what do you want from the president?” He answers, “Which president?” She replies “President Mohamed Mursi; the first elected president in the history of Egypt.”
Viewing the visible shock and disbelief on the old man’s face, the presenter asks him “don’t you remember the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that preceded Mursi?” The old man appears even more shocked, and asks “what supreme council?” She replies “the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak?”
The man, appearing even more shocked, asks “who is this Mubarak?” and she answers “Hosni Mubarak, the president who succeeded Anwar Sadat.” The man then asked “who is this Anwar Sadat?” The presenter replies “Sadat is the president who succeeded Gamal Abdul Nasser, who led the military junta that dethroned King Farouk.” At this point the man cried out in shock and asked “has our dear King Farouk died? May he rest in peace!”
This is the end of the joke, but the meaning behind it remains, namely some people live as if they are frozen in time. This is something that results in a lack of perception and a refusal to accept reality.
If you think I am over-exaggerating, you need only read was put forward in the media and on social networking sites regarding the results of discussions between the Libyan military and the tribal fighters in Bani Walid, particularly as these fighters still believe that Gaddafi has not been killed but is still alive, and are calling for his return. These fighters refuse to believe that the Gaddafi regime is over and that its figures have either fled, been killed or are awaiting trial. Whilst some Iraqi Baathist cadres still believe in the ideology of their leader Saddam Hussein, calling for Iraq to return to Baathism.
In addition to this, the last picture of Bashar al-Assad was taken in one of Damascus’s mosques during Eid al-Adha prayers. The official Syrian state media caption underneath this picture claimed that the Syrian president was “smiling” at the successful ceasefire, which in reality did not hold. Therefore President Bashar al-Assad seems to believe there is something to smile about regarding the situation in Syria, whereas everybody else on earth thinks the complete opposite!
If you create and live in your own world and prefer this to what is really happening, refusing to accept reality as it is – even if this is the reality of death – then you are suffering from a mental illness known as “lack of perception.”
We are living in a virtual world where the decision-makers believe that they, and nobody else, possess the exclusive right to the truth. Their destiny is certain doom.