The dark glasses

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Has­san Al-Essa

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!

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