I belong to a Minority in the Middle East. A Religious minority by birth and an Ideological minority by choice. Having been tempted by Arab nationalism in my youth as an alternative to narrow sectarian-minded enterprises with no horizon, I soon came to realize that in practice, far from being a liberating project, it carried in itself the seeds of discord and exclusion.
By its nature Nationalism is defined as much by the in-group as by those who are left out. Despite the best intentions, in the name of this elusive in-group, a number of injustices were committed by Arab countries against the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, the Iranians in Iraq, the Southern Tribes in the Sudan, the Berbers in Algeria and so on. Clearly injustices have been committed in the name of other Nationalisms against Arabs. Zionism being one version of Jewish Nationalism and no one can accuse the Persians of being unpatriotic when many fought alongside a regime they hated in order to defeat the 'Arab invaders' in 1980.The lesson has been learned the hard way. From the Skyscrapers of Dubai to the back alleys of Gaza economical dependence on foreign funds is endemic. Political cretinism on the part of our leaders renders the influence of all Arab states in the wider international community equivalent to that of Fiji. More worryingly their contribution to the advent of war or peace on their own doorstep is negligible.
Still the flag of Arab Nationalism is waved in our faces whenever a repression is underway or an undemocratic process is undertaken. One cannot but feel a sense of guilt even at the thought of questioning the sacred concept. It seems that only by 'murdering' Arab Nationalism will we be able to formulate a better vision for the Middle East, with an Arab dimension at its heart. Not one of defeat and submission but one of inclusion and mutual benefit for all the people of the region.
Who will be brave enough to fire the first shot?!