We’re the en­emy: Who cre­ated us?

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Salah Al-Sayer

How did our Arab so­ci­eties change from the old state of nor­mal so­cial open­ness up un­til a few years ago into ones with so­cial rigid­ity among in­di­vid­u­als; one in which ideas of po­lit­i­cal Is­lam and hat­ing oth­ers pre­vail? What is the se­cret be­hind such sus­pi­cious changes over a rel­a­tively short pe­riod of time, dur­ing which Arab Mus­lims alone be­came the ‘Mus­lim en­emy’ as Sa­muel Hunt­ing­ton, who be­lieves that the val­ues of democ­racy and lib­erty are worth­less in the West with­out hav­ing an en­emy, had warned that they would be­come?

Arabs ex­pe­ri­enced civil life and got in con­tact with other na­tions such as In­di­ans, Per­sians, Chi­nese, Turks and Euro­peans. They got ed­u­cated and val­ued women’s ed­u­ca­tion and work. They re­spected judges and man-made laws. Re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal changes they had been through like col­o­niza­tion, man­dates and in­de­pen­dence, his­tory shows that Arab so­ci­eties are live ones that take ini­tia­tives. They shared as­pects like cul­ture, arts, the­atre, univer­si­ties, fac­to­ries, print­ing, fash­ion, jour­nal­ism, par­lia­ments and co­ex­is­tence with all mankind.

Many com­mu­ni­ties in var­i­ous Arab cities used to lead nor­mal lives like ev­ery­body else un­til they were stricken by ‘yel­low­ish’ waves that sys­tem­at­i­cally worked on ‘fab­ri­cat­ing’ such re­treats and ar­ti­fi­cial changes in school cur­ricu­lums, songs, vis­it­ing graves and TV and ra­dio re­li­gious pro­grams. More of this kept ap­pear­ing later and we started hav­ing more preach­ers, pro­pa­gan­dists, Is­lamic bank­ing, re­li­gious brochures and book­lets, char­ity feasts, Is­lamic com­pa­nies, par­ties, TV chan­nels, re­li­gious posters and slo­gans and ji­hadist or­ga­ni­za­tions wag­ing wars against the en­tire world.

Can such ma­jor and rapid changes hap­pen ar­bi­trar­ily? Can they be de­scribed as nor­mal so­cial and cul­tural ones? Have other Mus­lim or Mid­dle East so­ci­eties changed in the same man­ner? Why us in par­tic­u­lar? I am ask­ing while rem­i­nisc­ing about a quote by the ad­vi­sor of the for­mer Soviet Pres­i­dent Mikhail Gor­bachev, who man­aged to bring an end to the Cold War. He told the West: “We are do­ing a ter­ri­ble thing to you...we will de­prive you of the en­emy”. And the West be­lieved him be­cause they re­al­ized the point of his words. An en­emy is nec­es­sary and if they do not have one, they will have to cre­ate it!

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