Monday, December 28, 2009

Initial Gut Reactions

I agree with him too, to a certain extent. I think the controversy stems from the fact that he is generalysing so much. I still believe these are a few Arabs who want change and are capable leaders. The problem is that they are silenced. I also disagree that the leaders reflect the will of the people. In my opinion Arabs have given up on non-violent means of effecting change. They have either fallen into total apathy and stopped caring or they have embraced the violent path. Neither one will work if they want true and positive change. Not sure if the guy ever offered a solution out of this situation. I think the key is education: teaching future generations about civic duties & responsibilities and getting them out of their funk. Our big problem is that our leaders are not accountable and they keep abusing their power and using force to keep what they have.

From RK:
I mostly agree with you, but I think he did a good thing by "provoking" the people. As you said, they have total apathy for the most part. This becomes a very dangerous method of thinking. For instance:

- oh well, these are our leaders. what can we do about it? Pass the falafel.
- if only Israel would cease to exist, all our problems will be solved. Death to the zionists. Pass the hookah
- if only America would stop being involved, I would become a rich man. Time for a nap

What I mean is that issues, real or perceived, have become the excuse for the people to live in the state they live in. Education (in the form of university degrees) does not solve their apathy. It just allows them to work abroad (Dubai, Europe, the US) for more money in a system that allows better prosperity. The Lebanese - that's us - have very high education rates, but their level of apathy is incredibly high. Go figure.

He is right in saying that the "leaders" came out of the people. It is the fact that since the leaders know that the people are apathetic, they have no incentive to do something about their lives. So, it is the people's fault as much as it is the leaders' faults.

Thoughts? Challenges? Pass the Hummus!

From KY:
To be honest, the main contributions of this part of the world to the world civilization (mainly the modern western world) happen to be non-Arab: Sumerian civilization, Babylone, Pharaonic Egypt, Phoenicia of course, Byzantium. I think Lebanon did exceptionally well during the Roman times. Ottoman times was basically about taxing people to death to finance the Sultan's lifestyle and keep the harem filled in the Saray. There was something going on around the 'nahda' times, but then it all went nowhere. It's frustrating for me, I was ranked number one student in Adab 3arabi in Lycee at one time (believe it or not). So, it's a waste.

From RK:
The Arabs? Well, yes they borrowed and leveraged a lot from external civilizations. But they did preserve and grow the cultures. The Arabs preserverd and promoted Greek and Roman literature and sciences, whereas the recently Christinaized Roman Empire was burning all that pagan work during their "fanatic" phases. If it weren't for the Arabs, all that work would have been lost and never would have been progressed. Of course that is back then. Ever since the Mongols destroyed the Abbasid dynasty, the Arabs have accomplished NOTHING! And that is a damn long time of doing that. BTW, this applies to the wonderful Lebanon too. Outside of a brief flirtation with westernization and prosperity (1950's mainly), Lebanon has been just another typical Arab nation, just more violent.

From KY:
Unfortunately, I can not debate what you said. I see limited future for Lebanon as people carrying the same passport live in two completely different realities, even if they reside 20km away from each other (approximate distance between Beit Mery and Da7ye). The outlook is too different. Maybe in the 50's people felt closer to each other. The two things they could possibly agree/ collaborate on is 1)Lebanese food and 2)making money -which truly you can always start to build on...

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