Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011: The rise of the Arab Ego

Joseph El-Khoury

A healthy ego is essential for the sound functioning of any individual. Societies and groups also require the healthy equivalent of an ego, which can be defined as a set of guiding principles in how they perceive themselves and their relationship with others.
 
It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the Arab ego had been fairly damaged over the course of the 20th century but even probably beyond that to the era of Turkish domination, from Seljuk to Ottoman.  The last century was particularly harsh as it opened on hope in a dawn of self-determination, prosperity and unity.  What follows is well documented: From the failure to establish an Arab state in the wake of the 1916 revolt to the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, passing through the Sykes-picot agreement and the creation of the state of Israel, Arab history reads as a succession of defeats, retreats, disappointments and foreign domination. For lack of better strategies, the Arabs fell back on an unhealthy introversion; the type that generates resentment, suspiciousness and misunderstanding of the other without providing viable paths for self-validation. The series of civil/sectarian/ethnic/social conflicts that have plagued the Arab hemisphere for decades with frequent overspills onto the global scene can be, in my view, directly linked to this battered and bruised ego in need of rescuing.

Enters the Arab spring… Pushing the Arab masses to the global stage as a force to be reckoned with and lifting in its wake the Arab ego. As the action unravels months later, this exercise in confidence building might actually be the only long-lasting tangible effect of the Uprisings. 

We will soon celebrate the one year of anniversary of the Tunisian spark of what later became the Arab Spring, suitably dubbed by a Western media machine until then hostile and dismissive. We have also started discovering the vulnerability of the process and how easily it could be reversed, compromised or hijacked. Any of these three scenarios are likely to lead to a fragmentation of the Arab ego; an outcome with practical implications for individual countries and for the leading nationalist ideological drives that have dominated the political scenes for in excess of 100 years.  Arab nationalism, in its secular and religious (Pan-Islamist) components is unlikely to resist another humiliating failure. The more so humiliating as it would be self-inflicted through internal divisions, the lack of direction and a naïve dichotomous outlook on the modern world. The unfortunate scenes in Maspero, Cairo a few days ago should not have come as a surprise to anyone not blinded by the myths of a united Arab society liberating itself from foreign shackles in one deep breath of freedom. 
 
The Arab uprisings are a necessary evil, akin to a painful corrective surgical procedure; and an equally painful convalescence is to be expected. It would still be wrong to delude ourselves with an inflated sense of our self importance and our achievements. But if the Arab twittersphere is anything to go by, grandiosity and stubbornness is on the agenda uniting Islamic revivalists, pro-western liberals and traditional Nationalists from Egypt to Syria. At the time of writing, a summary report would include a change of guards in Egypt, an unsettled democratic process in Tunisia, a tribal struggle in Yemen, a religious rift in Bahrain, a revolution backed by NATO in Libya and a bloodbath with sectarian undertones in Syria.  The umbrella term of ‘Arab spring’, which is essentially another Orientalist myth fails to capture the essence of these events or to predict their outcomes. Our own misguided contribution has been to dismiss the internal contradictions plaguing the Arab land and the Arab identity from long before the first Zionist settler and the first oil pipeline.

A new Arab ego based on self delusion is still an unhealthy one. Honest blunt introspection is required, but no progressive political force or intellectual circle has so far been willing to provide it while remaining effectively connected with the wave of popular anger. This is leaving the fray open for the hordes of populists and opportunists with less than shiny credentials.

Hope remains that in the coming months someone somewhere will rise to this challenge.

18 comments:

Abu Kareem said...

Joseph,
An important cautionary note, if a little pessimistic. I think we are in a post old-style Arab nationalism and post Al Qaeda style Islamist extremism world. The secular nationalists and Islamists now come in a spectrum of flavors with much more overlap between the two groups than in the past. Also, the emphasis now is on nation building first which is a good thing for the long term stability of the region. Getting to that point will, I fully agree, be messy and, at times, bloody. This is the legacy of the dictators who left no stable civil institutions to full the void when they are shown the door.

Anonymous said...

Joseph,
The issue of "ego" is very interesting, indeed. Might I call self-respect?

You have rightly identified three scenarios that are likely to lead to a fragmentation of the Arab ego.

I would like to add three obstacles to democracy and prosperity in the Arab world; namely, certain interpretations of Islam, the palace ulama, and the military generals.

Rebelling against poverty, corruption, and injustice is one thing; to democratize and prosper is a different matter.

For democracy and prosperity to evolve, Islam must be separated from the state. Arabs need a combination of a Martin Luther and a Kemal Ataturk. Democracy is not only free elections. Democracy is also equality for all citizens--equality of women with Muslim men and equality of Christian citizens and other minorities with Muslims. Islam discriminates against women and non-Muslims.

How likely is it that Islam be separated from the Arab state? This too is unlikely, due to the affinity of the great majority of Arabs towards Islam. Popular uprisings thus would not separate Islam from the Arab state. They might lead to free elections, but not to equality among all citizens. Uprisings might also end the state of emergency, but would not lead to the replacement of seventh century Shari'a courts and family law with a modern legal system and family code. Uprisings could institute presidential term limits, but would not substitute the Islamic school curriculum with the teaching of comparative religions or ethics. Uprisings might also lead to transparency in state affairs, but not the belief in free will and science to replace the belief in predestination.

The palace ulama will maintain their dogmatic teaching in schools, mosques, and the media. They will persist in cementing those calibrated interpretations of the creed that suit the political agendas of the governments they serve. They will also continue persecuting those with ideas and interpretations that differ from the sanctioned discourse.

In addition, Arab military generals will remain the kingmakers. They will not take orders from civilian politicians.

Elie Elhadj

American Back To The Indian said...

A truly healthy ego comes from a peoples accomplishments not from looking at it's defeats. A need for revenge consumes all other things and a people do not flourish.

While much is said about the original peaople of the US we are still here. Govern lands reserved for us alone and are full citizens free to go where we choose and worship as we please. My ancestors the Iroquois had a democracy long before Euros arrived. We did not learn it from them, but they from us. We are a people that never had a war over religion, there is only one Great Spirit how you worship was never a government issue. Make no mistake we were and still are a warrior people. So much so we nearly wiped ourselves out before finding peace and devising our democracy. We are not ashamed of losing to a stronger enemy.

I am very concerned for the middle east that the Islamists will squash the desire for freedom of choice that is the basis of democracy. I do not see them bringing peace and accomplishment to nuture the Arab ego, only dominance of their own.

Israel is so hated, yet in Israel non-Jews are not restricted in worship. There are no laws saying how many floors a religious building can be. No riots,burnings of religious buildings or bombings. The Israelis do not run down Christians and Muslims demonstrating with tanks. Palestinians can even file suit in Israel and have won in their favor. In what ME country can a Jew or Christian do this? Is there prejudice, yes as there is in every country, but no worse than most. No of us are free of that human weakness.

Look in, do not look out to find the way forward. Read your history and learn from it more than just hate of past conquerors.

Anonymous said...

So good topic really i like any post talking about Ancient Egyptian Gods but i want to say thing to u Ancient Egypt not that only ... you can see in Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt Map and more , you shall search in Google and Wikipedia about that .... thanks a gain ,,,

Anonymous said...

i really enjoyed reading this post. Keep up the good work.
raksha bandhan messages
independence day messages
2 line shayari in hindi
bigg boss winners

Anonymous said...

box office collection
cricket news
gk news
infinite gk
gk
live streaming
wishes messages
bollywood news
news 24 hour
upcoming movies

Anonymous said...

awesome post i really enjoyed reading this article which explained everything in very easy manner. i will visit this blog once again to get such an important information which i keep on regularly looking for
download psl 2018 schedule pdf
bbl teams and players
total box office
box office report
download isl schedule pdf

Mohammed Ahmed said...

JEE Main Result 2018
JEE Main Result 2018 CBSE
IIT JEE Main Result 2018
JEE Main Rank Card 2018 Download
CBSE JEE Main 2018 Result
GATE 2018 Result Date
GATE 2018 Results
GATE 2018 Score Card Download
GATE 2018 Results
GATE Result 2018
TN HSC Result 2018
TN Plus Two Result 2018
TN Board 12th Result 2018
Tamilnadu HSC Result 2018
TN HSC 12th Class Result 2018
TN SSLC Result 2018
TN 10th Result 2018
Tamilnadu Board Result 2018
Tamil Nadu SSLC 10th Result 2018
TN SSLC Result 2018
AP SSC Results 2018
AP 10th Results 2018
Manabadi SSC Results 2018
Schools9 SSC Results 2018
SSC Results 2018 Andhra Pradesh

Mohammed Ahmed said...

ISC Result 2018
ISC 12th Result 2018
CISCE 12th Result 2018
ISC Board Result 2018
ISC Result 2018 Class 12
GSEB SSC Result 2018
GSEB 10th Result 2018
Gujarat SSC Result 2018
Gujarat Board 10th Result 2018
GSEB SSC 10th Class Result 2018
JAC 10th Result 2018
JAC Matric Result 2018
Jharkhand 10th Result 2018
JAC Result 2018 Class 10
JAC Board Result 2018
GSEB HSC Result 2018
GSEB 12th Result 2018
Gujarat HSC Result 2018
Gujarat 12th Class Result 2018
GSEB Result 2018 Class 12
HBSE 10th Result 2018
HBSE Matric Result 2018
HBSE Result 2018 Class 10
Haryana Board 10th Result 2018
Haryana HBSE Result 2018

Mohammed Ahmed said...

RBSE Result 2018 Class 10
RBSE 10th Result 2018
Rajasthan 10th Result 2018
Raj Board 10th Result 2018
Rajasthan Board 10th Result 2018
BSEB 12th Result 2018
BSEB Intermediate Result 2018
Bihar Board 12th Result 2018
Bihar Intermediate Result 2018
BSEB 12th Class Result 2018
WBCHSE HS Result 2018
WB HS Result 2018
WBCHSE 12th Result 2018
West Bengal Higher Secondary Result 2018
WBCHSE Result 2018 HS
ICSE 10th Result 2018
ICSE Result 2018 Class 10
CISCE ICSE Result 2018
ICSE Board Result 2018
ICSE Results 2018
PSEB 10th Result 2018
PSEB Result 2018 Class 10
Punjab 10th Result 2018
Punjab Board Matric Result 2018
PSEB Board Result 2018

Mohammed Ahmed said...

RBSE Result 2018 Class 10
RBSE 10th Result 2018
Rajasthan 10th Result 2018
Raj Board 10th Result 2018
Rajasthan Board 10th Result 2018
BSEB 12th Result 2018
BSEB Intermediate Result 2018
Bihar Board 12th Result 2018
Bihar Intermediate Result 2018
BSEB 12th Class Result 2018
WBCHSE HS Result 2018
WB HS Result 2018
WBCHSE 12th Result 2018
West Bengal Higher Secondary Result 2018
WBCHSE Result 2018 HS
ICSE 10th Result 2018
ICSE Result 2018 Class 10
CISCE ICSE Result 2018
ICSE Board Result 2018
ICSE Results 2018
PSEB 10th Result 2018
PSEB Result 2018 Class 10
Punjab 10th Result 2018
Punjab Board Matric Result 2018
PSEB Board Result 2018

Mohammed Ahmed said...

HBSE 12th Result 2018
HBSE Plus Two Result 2018
Haryana Board 12th Result 2018
HBSE Result 2018 Class 12
Haryana Board Result 2018
CGBSE 10th Result 2018
CGBSE Matric Result 2018
CG Board 10th Result 2018
CG 10th Result 2018
Chhattisgarh 10th Result 2018
AP EAMCET Results 2018
AP EAMCET Results 2018 Manabadi
AP EAMCET 2018 Results
AP EAMCET Rank Card 2018 Download
Manabadi EAMCET Results 2018
CBSE 12th Result 2018
CBSE Result 2018 Class 12
CBSE Plus Two Result 2018
CBSE Board Result 2018
CBSE 12th Result 2018
CGBSE 12th Result 2018
CGBSE Result 2018 Class 12
CG Board 12th Result 2018
CG 12th Class Result 2018
Chhattisgarh Board 12th 2018

Mohammed Ahmed said...

Odisha 10th Result 2018
Odisha HSC Result 2018
BSE Odisha Result 2018
Odisha Matric Result 2018
Odisha HSC 10th Result 2018
Kerala HSE Result 2018
Kerala +2 Result 2018
DHSE Kerala Result 2018
Kerala Plus Two Result 2018
Kerala 12th Result 2018
MP Board 12th Result 2018
MP Board HSSC Result 2018
MPBSE 12th Class Result 2018
MP Board Result 2018 12th Class
Madhya Pradesh Board 12th Result 2018
Kerala SSLC Result 2018
Kerala 10th Result 2018
SSLC Result 2018 Kerala Board
Kerala SSLC 10th Result 2018
Kerala Board Matric Result 2018
HPBOSE 12th Result 2018
HPBOSE Plus Two Result 2018
HP Board 12th Result 2018
HPBOSE Result 2018 Class 12
HP Board +2 Result 2018

Mohammed Ahmed said...

MP Board 10th Result 2018
MP Board HSC Result 2018
MPBSE 10th Result 2018
MPBSE Result 2018 10th HSC
Madhya Pradesh Board 10th Result 2018
UP Board 10th Result 2018
UP Board Highschool Result 2018
UP Highschool Result 2018
UP Board Matric Result 2018
UP Board Result 2018 10th Class
WB Madhyamik Result 2018
WB 10th Result 2018
Madhyamik Result 2018 West Bengal
WB Madhyamik Result 2018
WB Board 10th Class Result 2018
UP Board 12th Result 2018
UP Board Intermediate Result 2018
UP Intermediate Result 2018
UP Board Result 2018 12th Class
Uttar Pradesh Board 12th Result 2018
CBSE 10th Result 2018
CBSE Result 2018 Class 10
CBSE Results 2018
CBSE 10th Result 2018 Region Wise
CBSE 10th Result 2018 School Wise

Mohammed Ahmed said...

PUC Result 2018 Karnataka
Karnataka 2nd PUC Result 2018
2nd PUC Result 2018
Karnataka PUC Result 2018 Exam
Karnataka PUC 2nd Year Result 2018
SSC Result 2018 Maharashtra
Maharashtra 10th Result 2018
Maharashtra Board Result 2018
Maharashtra 10th Class Board Result 2018
SSC 10th Result 2018 Maharashtra Board
Maharashtra Board HSC Result 2018
Maharashtra 12th Result
Maharashtra Board Result 2018
Maharashtra HSC 12th Result 2018
HSC 12th Result 2018 Maharashtra Board
Bihar Board 10th Result 2018
Bihar Board Matric Result 2018
BSEB 10th Result 2018
BSEB Matric Result 2018
Bihar Board Result 2018 10th Class
Karnataka SSLC Result 2018
Karnataka 10th Result 2018
Karnataka SSLC 10th Result 2018
SSLC Result 2018 Karnataka
SSLC 10th Result 2018 Karnataka Board

Mohammed Ahmed said...

AP Inter Results 2018
AP Intermediate Results 2018
AP Inter 2nd Year Results 2018
AP Inter 1st Year Results 2018
AP Inter Results 2018 Manabadi
TS Intermediate Results 2018
TS Inter Results 2018
TS Inter 1st Year Results 2018
TS Inter 2nd Year Results 2018
TS Inter Results 2018 Manabadi
Telangana 10th Results 2018
TS 10th Results 2018
Telangana SSC Results 2018
Manabadi SSC Results 2018
TS SSC Results 2018
NEET Result 2018
NEET PG Result 2018
NEET UG Result 2018
NEET 2018 Results
NEET 2018 Exam Result
TS EAMCET Results 2018
Telangana EAMCET Results 2018
TS EAMCET Rank Card 2018
TS EAMCET Results 2018 Manabadi
Schools9 TS EAMCET Result 2018

Mohammed Ahmed said...

Eid Mubarak Images 2018
Eid Mubarak 2018
Eid Mubarak Quotes 2018
Eid Mubarak Wallpapers 2018
Eid Mubarak Wishes 2018
Assam HSLC Result 2018
Assam 10th Result 2018
Assam Board Result 2018
SEBA HSLC Result 2018
SEBA 10th HSLC Result 2018
Meghalaya Election Results 2018
Meghalaya Election 2018 Date
Meghalaya Election 2018 Opinion Poll
Meghalaya Election Exit Polls 2018
Meghalaya Election 2018 Live Updates
Karnataka Election Results 2018
Karnataka Election 2018 Date
Karnataka Election 2018 Opinion Poll
Karnataka Election Exit Poll 2018
Karnataka Election 2018 Live Updates

Pengobatan Untuk Menormalkan Tekanan Darah Tinggi Dan Gula Darah said...

Thanks For Sharing Information ;)

Cara Mengatasi Kaku Jari Tangan
Pengobatan Untuk Sembuhkan Fatty Liver Sampai Tuntas
Tips Mengobati Tulang Keropos
Cara Menghilangkan Perih Di Ulu Hati
Pengobatan Untuk Mengatasi Leher Bengkak
Tips Mengatasi Masalah Kulit