My Fellow Arab Man

By Adnan Mouhiddin

My fellow Arab man is pretty unhappy about everything and anything. For instance, he is unhappy whether the Americans and/or the West intervene in the conflict and crisis in his homeland or they don’t. In the former scenario they are imperialists; in the latter they are heartless. Speaking of which, my fellow Arab man had a very unique stance during the Arab Spring. He would protest against the tyrant in his country while flying the posters of Saddam Hussein. According to the majority of Al-Jazeera readers, my dear fellow Arab men, Kim Jong Un is a hero for standing to the Americans. But this is not the whole story though; my fellow Arab man would curse the West, and mainly America, and his rage will call for a fine Marlboro cigarette lightened by Zippo lighter. He then complains about the long queues and visa waiting times at the American, British, French, German…etc embassies. You know, his son is trying to obtain a student visa to one of those countries.

My fellow Arab man is knowledgeable and is enlightened about pretty everything. Try any subject, and he will surprise you; he knows it better than anyone else. He is familiar with art, science, history, politics, philosophy, the atomic science, military, sociology, geography, math, chemistry, physics, theology, astronomy, law, economy, literature, sport and medicine. The mind set of my fellow Arab man doesn’t recognise the expression “I don’t know.”

My fellow Arab man is tolerant. His tolerance extends to every imaginable topic you want to discuss. However, his tolerance stops short before God, the State, the Kingdom, the President of the Republic and his family, His highness the Prince and his family, His Majesty the King and his family, Prophet Muhammad and his family, Jesus, the Mosque, the Church, the Quran, the Bible, the Pope, the prophets, sex, inequality, discrimination, torture, security prisons, the national unity, the national harmony, sectarianism, racism, corruption, the national security, the leaders wisdom, the tens of military coups taking place in the last few decades, the Axis of Resistance, the martyrs of Hizbullah and/or Hamas, the companions of Muhammad, the civil war, the Imam, the “trustworthy” historical resources, the army and its Generals, the prices of the strategic crops (wheat, potato…etc), the Patriarch, the Prime Minister, the Parliament affairs and its members, the Palestinian camps in Lebanon, traditions, abusing women and exploiting children and finally but most importantly; the virginity of his sister and/or daughter.

But in his efforts to progress within the realms of globalisation and modernisation, my fellow Arab man realised recently that advocating the women’s rights is his ticket to advance into these realms, regardless of how he might be treating his wife, daughter or sister. His concept of the women rights changes ironically when the attendees are men. In such environment, the proof and level of both his manhood virility and the control which he imposes on his wife, daughter or sister are synonymous.  Relatedly, I am concerned that my fellow Arab man has recently developed the complex and syndrome of the “White Man”. He realised that crying for and praising the latter is his ticket to modernity and acceptance.  He changes his Facebook photo in remembrance of the victims of Paris attacks. However, Beirut, Mali, Ankara and Damascus are the least of his concern.

My fellow Arab man is a legend like none. He is madly in love with the past tense. We did, we were, we have been, we had…etc. are among his top expressions. He digs in history to bring worth and value to his miserable present. Speak to an Egyptian about his presence and he would automatically refer to the Pyramids. The same applies to the Syrian and the Iraqi who would refer to their countries as the “Cradle of Civilisation”. Our present which is full of wars, illiteracy (38% of Egyptians are illiterate), dire poverty, famines and social injustice are all nothing but irrelevant subjects. What really matters is that we had and we were. We hate both the present and future tenses. We are incapable of referring to our present; we are unable to dream of our future; hence we are left with nothing but the past. When one is left without present and his future is unknown, he becomes the prisoner of his past, and his present misery becomes his tradition, legacy and ritual which he would passionately carry with him to the future. Under these circumstances and on his route to the future, my fellow Arab man has dropped his identity. He lost it. I wonder if he will ever pause a moment and ask himself this vital question; who am I?

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