NajjarWhy are we Arabs and Muslims leading regressive lives? Why do we always enjoy killing each other, then wipe the blood off our swords and claim this was the result of a conspiracy? Maybe because we are dead, defeated people.

Well, we are not the only defeated, broken and excluded people, but other people have recovered from such defeats, by first admitting that they had been defeated, then forgot all about the past that dragged them into such defeats and opened more to others, while we treat others snobbishly and look down on them with extreme racism and contempt. We insist on such arrogance and speak as if we have mounted the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty!

Defeat does not lie only in the military side for the defeated – it also affects them culturally, scientifically, technologically and technically. The gap gets wider and wider leading to more depression and sense of rout that soon turns into a dominant mental state, cultural legacy and predictable behavior.

We are people who only talk about the past and stop history at previous points. We usually evoke the Orient’s past to escape our tragic present. We have been killing each other and claim that we have defeated the enemy. We have been talking about the danger of being divided and fragmented while we actually are already so. Our nation’s heroes are those who shout louder, act more strictly and live in the West. We, Arabs, are becoming more like crows cackling everywhere.

A defeated people is one in distress, sadness and bitterness until further notice or until it becomes convinced of such defeat and that it has to start digging for the reasons leading to it to handle and solve them the way previously defeated people did by breaking away from isolation and imaginative superiority. They focused more on points of strength while we only see strength in the past and fight over who is more ‘ancient’ in such a futile controversy that only results in a big zero.

Defeated people are always in the quest for a national hero who would lead them to victory – someone who is mostly fictional and does not exist in real life. They get so involved in an illusion that it becomes real to them. Today’s heroes are ghosts tossing salt on our wounds. They act strictly to make up for their weakness while leading luxurious lives, while defeated people follow them as they see no future except through them.

Defeated people’s minds make them very passionate about reform and democracy, while at the same time fond of a dictator and his personality. Most reformists and freedom and democracy fighters have a tiny, and sometimes gigantic, dictator deep within, and thus our thinking is usually dominated by many contradictions, regardless of being Sunni, Shiite, Islamist or non-Islamist. We have almost become schizophrenic!

We have to first accept defeat otherwise we will continue going round and round in endless circles, sounding like seals and burning incense to glorify our imagined grandeur and achievements. —Translated by Kuwait Times

By Dr Ghanim Al-Najjar