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Arab World’s Withering Heights

By Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja

22 May, 2014

“Certain forms of modern life lead directly to degeneration….in the poor as well the rich, leisure engenders degeneration. Cinemas, concerts, radios, automobiles and athletics are no substitute for intelligent work. We are far from having solved this momentous problem of idleness created by prosperity, modern machinery or unemployment. By imposing leisure upon man, scientific civilization has brought him great misfortune. We are incapable of fighting the consequences of indolence and irresponsibility as cancer and mental diseases……after all the purpose of civilization is not the progress of science and machines, but the progress of man.”
(Alexis Carrel. Man the Unknown, 1936)

From perpetuated individual animosity to political insanity rages throughout the contemporary Arab hemisphere. Innocent people are being killed, living ones breathe under barbed wires, and human freedom and dignity is crushed across the Arab world. Morally and intellectually, Arab rulers are weightless on any rational scale used in global affairs. Arab Spring – the focal point of optimism for political change and development is lost in the dust of the Arab military actions. The Arabian Peninsula is fast becoming a ghost landscape of anarchy and a burden on human conscience. As such the Western military and political strategy could easily embark to dismantle the Arab world all together - a return to historic imperialism. The Western political mythologists are happy that Arabs are actively scaling down their vulnerability and relevance by their own animosity and egoistic authoritarianism. Unofficial foreign policy outlets emphasize the need of mutual dialogue to resolve the societal problems, But how do you reason with known dictators and egoistic rulers who want to remain in power for life? Nothing is accidental but outcome of a planned scheme of things to support and maintain the Arabian neo-colonial evolved dynasties and to encourage perversion from the emerging realities of socio-political challenges and to facilitate large scale torture and murder of innocent people by supporting cancerous ego and divided consciousness of the so called Arab leaders. At times, America and Europe were paying lip service to talk of democracy and to inspire change and development of public institutions in the Arab world. After the initial success of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya, the people-generated process of political change has been reversed by the deliberate strategies of the Western leaders to support and strengthen the militarization of the region and to invest in continuing military dictatorships as is the case in Egypt. Many oil exporting Arab rulers are resourceful to devote time and energies in collaborating with the US and West European nations to ensure unthinking of any political change. Consequently, internal strife and conflicts between the people and the dysfunctional rulers are accelerating at a pace that nobody can predict the future of the Arab world as a whole. All Arab authoritarian leaders were groomed by the colonial masters and would be glued to neo-colonialism for their own survival. Be it Syria, Libya, or Egypt, no one cares for human rights, freedom and democracy any more. The continuing daily bloodbaths, chemical warfare and street battles conform to the planned scheme of things set for ultimate destruction of the Arab world. The Arab rulers have no sense of time and history how insane egoism and foreign myths have brought downfall of the so many sadistic rulers in the past. The Arab world appears to undermine its own destiny and future. The real problem of the establishment of an independent State of Palestine and peaceful co-existence with Israel is no longer part of active agenda. All the Arab states are divided and so weak in political status that they operate from a position of disadvantage and not strength in dealing with issues of peace and conflict management. Authoritarian Arab rulers devoid of knowledge and intelligence live in remote palaces, not with the people. The political and intellectual degeneration is overwhelming to move them to some Western castles already prepared for the coming time of uncertainty. The oil-enriched prosperity is not for ever. The conspiracy (“fitna”) of economic advancement is wide spread in many Arabian quarters claiming to be moderate. The Arabs, once pioneer of knowledge-based advanced civilization lasting for eight centuries – the longest period in human history, are the victims of a delusional oil-pumping economic prosperity imported as marriage of convenience forged between the tribal Arab rulers and the Western industrialized world – more so, the USA and Britain.

How the oil-led economic prosperity disconnected the Rulers?

History has its own language that Islam enriched the Arabs with knowledge, divine guidance and global leadership but the oil exporting prosperity shelved them back to the age of ignorance and greed. For over 60 years, the Arab rulers have been beaten on all the major fronts of political and strategic endeavors involving their primary national interests. Foremost, the sudden economic boom derived from the petro-dollars had adverse social, moral and political impacts across wide range of the Arabian lives and traditions. The illusion of economic prosperity undermined the Arab thoughts, culture and Islamic belief and values. In the process of sudden transformation, they lost the essence of Islamic thinking and values and moral and political identities. Once the Arab civilization was the most powerful force contributing to the European Renaissance and Industrial Revolution. John Draper (History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, 1876), describes how the Arab civilization advanced the European and American human progress. The Arab achievements were the direct results of Islam as system of life for 800 years in Al-Andalusia- Spain. Now, the Arab rulers desperately search for new identities, titles and images to keep afloat for the challenges of the 21st century survival kit. Ending the colonialism, many had conveniently adapted to make history as the point of reference for the Arab contributions to the human civilization. History is living but its primary coverage is past acts, not the present and the future.

How to bring Change and make a new Beginning for the Future?

For change and development goal, progressive nations make the future as the focal point of all vital thinking and planning efforts. In liaison with many Western industrialized nations, most Arab dictators have established secret police and intelligence establishments which uphold the egoistic ruler’s dictum to undo change and future-making. People throughout the Arab world live in fear of their survival and are forced not to think and imagine change and new future.

Agreeably, the critical issues call for critical analysis and change and new ideas to phase-out the old and obsolete thinking and obsessed values flourishing across the Arabian Peninsula. But the ruling elite failed to build new institutions to plan change and to view the imperatives of new trends for policy on peace and conflict resolution and human progress in a global community of nations. It is overwhelmingly one sided Western materialism not the human development that explains the material progress. The proponents of the material civilization see the human life just in one track system - just the body without spirituality, and all the time glued to greed and needs of the physical body, and a deliberate instinct not to understand the rationality of a just balanced approach of both the body and soul to human development, happiness and success.

How could the Arab leadership failure be turned into change and reformation of the neo-colonialism and to revive the cultural presence and visionary leadership role in the global political arena? The 21st century is more enlightened and an age of information and knowledge-driven global culture of creativity, effective leadership and human progress. It is not reasonable for the ignorant to inherit kingship or a leadership role to be successful. The emerging and complex political imperatives call for the new generation of proactive educated and intelligent people to be in the leading role of planning of change and reformation of the old and obsolete inherited infrastructures of political governance unto new sustainable system of institutional development and nation-building and to be people-oriented and represent the Islamic interests in a rational manner. The hard facts of life speak for themselves. There is not a single Arab-Muslim country to have produced a credible intelligent leader to address the international community. There was a time in history that Arab people had moral and intellectual credibility to interact with others and be influential. The oil-geared happiness has lost all that was valuable in the context of Arab civilization. The Arab elite are operating from a position of moral and intellectual weakness and deprivation, not of political strength. To change the naïve political governance, Muslims in general and the Arabs in particular, must develop public institutions of the citizenry participation – the concept of “Shura”- consultation an important principle for societal decision making, of law, justice and leadership accountability. Islam underlined the accountability of leaders in dealing with societal affairs. Arab leaders have none and are afraid of losing their wealth and palaces if people were to determine the future-making and ruler’s destiny. Ironically, none of the Arab States have any public educational institutions to study and analyze peace and conflict resolution. This is what assumes the imperatives of societal change and progress.

There are varied cultures and time zones involved in-between the Arabian ruling elite and the people they claim to govern. The laws and public institutions date back to the European imperial time and order. The Arab rulers occupying the political powerhouses for over half of a century would have difficulty to face the mirror. All the mirrors appear dusty covered with the illusion of the oil-based economic prosperity whose strings are within the control of the Sheiks-the Arab rulers for the time being. Paul Craig Roberts (“Muslims are their own Worst Enemies” Information Clearing House: 3/02/2010), offers a penetrating insight to the current problems:

“Muslims are numerous but powerless. Divisions among Muslims, especially between Sunni and Shiites, have consigned the Muslim Middle East to almost a century of Western control….Muslim disunity has made it possible for Israel to dispossess the Palestinians, for the U.S. to invade Iraq, and for the U.S. to rule much of the region through puppets. ….Egypt receives $1.5 billion a year from Washington, which enables President Mubarak to buy off opposition. The opposition had rather have the money than support the Palestinians. Therefore, Egypt cooperates with Israel and the U.S. in the blockade of Gaza….. Another factor is the willingness of some Muslims to betray their own kind for U.S. dollars. ….The U.S. and its NATO puppets have been killing Afghan women, children, and village elders since October 7, 2001, when the U.S. military invasion “Operation Enduring Freedom,” a proper Orwellian title for a self-serving war of aggression, was launched. The U.S. installed puppet president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is bought and paid for with U.S. dollars.”

Could the Arab Masses evolve new political imagination for Change?

Most Arab rulers are a menace to any political imagination for change. The Arab masses long for political change and a new future based on peaceful co-existence with all the neighbors. But the rulers continue to live in a dream world that is no longer relevant or sustainable to the changing perceptions, global challenges and aspirations of the Arab people. The new educated, proactive and informed generation of Arab leadership with an inward eye not merely on the petro-dollars transitory economy but craving for realism and workable solutions for the purpose of building a different and promising future for the people-oriented Islamic governance, transforming the cruelty of authoritarianism into a functional democracy for the best interest of the people - is the real challenge with an opportunity. Change will lead to durable and peaceful future when political governance will ensure respect and recognition of the rights of the people that Islam has assured freedom from neo-colonial exploitation and their active participation in making the political governance a reality. The bewildered rulers rely heavily on borrowed weapons, tanks, guns and bullets to silence the people’s voices of reason for change and peace.

One of the author’s recent articles: “Global Peace and Conflict Resolution:
How the Arab, Israeli and the Western Leaders Duped the Humanity?” 06/2010 makes the following observation:

“The prosperity fantasy bubble is fast approaching to an end with the peak oil forecasts as a visual reality in- waiting. Power, prosperity and poverty are all trials in human affairs and transitory phenomenon. Was the discovery of oil a conspiracy (“fitna”) for the Arabs to change the originality of their thinking, beliefs, values and passion for Islam as successful system of human life?”

(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany-May, 2012)


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