The dark glasses
The dark glasses mentioned in the documentary by philosopher Slavoj Zizek have nothing to with the plot of an Egyptian movie written by Ihsan Abdul Qoddous under the same name. In the Arabic movie, Maggie (the leading star played by Nadia Lotfi) used to wear dark glasses all the time to hide her eyes, which told much about how lost she was and torn between moderate liberalism portrayed by Abdul Qoddous as the mainstream minds of Egyptian and Arab middle classes in the 1960s, and conservative powers.
Reasonable liberalism seems to act as a compromise between old conservative values and modernity. Thus, Maggie gets lost in a conflict between her liberty and traditional values of her community, until a comprise is made when she gives up her right to absolute freedom towards the end and accepts social restrictions.
Zizek’s dark glasses do not hide the owner’s eyes. On the contrary, they reveal the whole truth and discover deceit and forged ideologies impose on some people in the form of beliefs and nominal appearances that deprive a person of his/her liberty. For instance, a colored banner ad on a New York street about the Bahamas shows a beautiful woman in a swimming suit inviting people to visit the island and enjoy the sun and sea. But when the actor puts on the glasses, the real image appears to be an invitation for sex that would boost the island’s fortunes.
There are more similar examples around us through which we can realize that forgery and deceit are used as tools to promote dominating powers’ ideologies. Former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld used to surely and arrogantly talk about WMDs in Iraq under Saddam, and that Iraq had to be invaded to destroy those weapons. I believe that if we had put on Zizek’s glasses, we would have seen Rumsfeld talking about the importance of dividing Iraq and controlling its oil resources instead of hearing lies about WMDs.
Just imagine if one puts on those glasses and reads officials’ statements. How would we read a statement about a deal or a contract between the state and a certain company? Without the glasses, the story would be official talk about the necessity to sign the contract to protect national security, for instance, and to facilitate citizens’ lives. But once we put on the glasses, we would see the whole truth about huge commissions and easy money made through public funds and the state treasury.
How can we read the statements of MPs or former MPs talking about the DNA law, withdrawing citizenships or the state council bill proposed by the former justice minister? Well, with Zizek’s glasses on, we will see this nation barefoot. And we better not use these black glasses so as not to see our nation turn into a barren desert! Let us better keep living the illusions and falsities without Zizek’s revealing glasses!