Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The most important lesson! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Perhaps the most pleasant result of the Arab Spring carnival that continues to take place in the Middle East is the new linguistic diversity that this has created; particularly with regards to the expressions people are using to describe the Arab Spring itself. This situation is somewhat reminiscent of the previous “heresies” that were publicized by the media of the tyrannical regimes in our Arab world. Who can forget the expression “Naksa” [setback], which was used to describe the worst defeat the Arabs experienced in modern history [1967 Six Day war]? Indeed, this expression was repeated and reiterated day and night in order to completely sedate the Arab public and allow the authorities to avoid being held accountable this catastrophic defeat.

Along the lines of Nasser and his army of journalists, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who encountered a crushing defeat forcing his withdrawal from Kuwait, persisted in using his media mouthpieces to promote the expression “mother of all battles”, perversely claiming to have been victorious, not defeated! This expression was repeated by some affiliate writers and journalists. It was not long until this concept was developed and modified and all those who sought to end the rule of Saddam Hussein were described as “infidels”. At this time, of course, this expression aroused much curiosity and even mockery and ridicule, until we eventually reached a stage where there is now a striking glossary of such terms and expressions.

Every regime that has been toppled – as well as those who are still in the process of this – has either created new expressions, or new expressions have been created to describe it; in order to explain certain conditions or circumstances one way or another. We have seen how some people have described criminal and tyrannical regimes as “representatives” of the people, whilst, more accurately, they should in fact be described as regimes that “feign” representation of the people. What is even worse than this is those regimes that have lied to the people and promoted the lie that they are regimes of “resistance” whilst in reality they have voluntarily relinquished their own soil [to Israel] in distinctly dubious and vague circumstances. This, however, has allowed the world to uncover these monstrous lies and their consequences. In addition to this, the security and police apparatus have been openly transformed into armed gangs that kill and torture their own people without mercy or leniency. Such movements are called “thugs” or “Shabiha”, something which, undoubtedly, functioned as a clear example of injustice, despotism and savagery.

The real problem is that we cannot assess or view Arab politics solely with a political or linguistic viewpoint; we must also assess this utilizing a psychological viewpoint. This is because the suppressive and duplicitous mind-set still exists within each of us, and this is why many of us continue to champion tyrants like Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Nasser, al-Assad and others on the pretext that they are defenders of Arabism and confronted Israel. People tend to forget that those figures were nothing more than criminals par excellence who suppressed their own people, producing nothing but more backwardness, defeat and humiliation. If such duplicity persists, we will continue to produce horrible examples and create tyrants out of them, and then view these tyrants as symbols of nationalism who are closer to gods than men, offering religious sacrifices in their honour.

What is most important in the Arab Spring is not regime change and getting rid of the tyrants in our region, but rather changing our political mentality, attitude and mind-set, and the culture of accepting and indeed championing tyrants. We must review this culture as our greatest and most dangerous enemy, otherwise the Arab Spring will ultimately be nothing more than a temporary situation without any permanent benefit.