By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD
Logic means truth – the principles and strategy of correct THINKING. If the contemporary Arab leaders had the faculties of mind and vision and leadership intellect, they would have established people’s-based system of governance, public institutions to deal with issues of peace and conflict management, be open to listening and learning for effective characteristics and adaptability to the making of a future defined as intelligent leadership. Are they leading anyone to anywhere except tragic events, bloodsheds of the innocents and destruction of the habitats?
People in the blood scarred streets of Syria and feared corridors of the Arab authoritarianism asks when would these blood thirsty draculas stop the vengeful killing and perpetuated insanity so that common sense and rationality could return to the ground. But the tanks and ruthless armies are governed and controlled by mindless monsters who have defied the moral and intellectual currents of time, culture and record of history. The wounded and hurriedly abandoned dying voices wonder where are the Arab leaders – where are the Arab armies to protect them from the on-going killing spree and inhuman atrocities? The Arab leaders living in secluded palaces away from the mainstream lifelines have no perception what people are asking and deserve; they are immune from thinking of the interest of the masses that Islam taught as the foundation of just governance. Islamic governance articulated UNITY of the people and the governance to a welfare state serving the interest of the people. Across the Arabian Peninsula there is no Islamic thinking, no Islamic leaders and no unity of purpose and meaning. All tragedies cause pain and inflict short-long terms sufferings to the unintended victims – the people- the common humanity – the ripple effects lasting ages, indescribable by thinkers and non-captioned by modern information technologies- the gut feeling that nobody cares for the living mankind and its painful sufferings. The Arab Middle East is the likely belligerent spot that strikes the contemporary informed observer. For almost a year, people in Syria are gunned own in cold blooded military operations being carried out by the Bashar al-Assad regime.- the inherited clan based brutal regime of his father makes more than forty years in governance. There are no Arab leaders- no dynamic leaders except home-grown mindless puppies scratching each other back – what to do at fatty dinner tables and how to deal with any unusual situations warranting moral and intellectual leadership role; no Arab armies and no Arab collective will to change the anti-human equation perpetuated by the mutual marriage of convenience by all the authoritarian regimes across the Arabian Peninsula. You wonder what I am talking about.
All the oil producing Arab States have a common culture of governance based on few individual tribes formerly stooges of the European colonial power and now incorporated by the new US Empire for its military-industrial dominated political economy managed by the few in Washington. The illusion of economic prosperity runs all over the oil enriched Arab nations. Is it a conspiracy (“fitna”) against the very cultural foundation of the Arab people to dehumanize them with foreign values or is it a remedy for the poverty stricken ills of the prolonged but natural dry desert life? The Western led economic development plans were the substance for the perpetual enhancement of militarization and much encouraged brutal authoritarian regimes across the Arab landscape. There is no Arab State that has escaped this entrapment for its own survival and to imagine business as usual with the Western Masters. The US and Britain, France, Russia and others would have hard time in identifying with the new people’s movement for freedom as they were all an integral part in institutionalizing the secretive police apparatus across the Arab States and extending security protections to safeguard the tribal run dynasties of the few egomaniac and dumb and dull kings, presidents and insane dictators, including the one you are currently seeing active in bombarding and killing the people across Syria. But if over half of a century of independence, the Arab ruling elite could not develop any public institutions nor essential knowledge-based governance and capacity to deal with unusual situations, emergencies and social and political crises management situations, whose fault is this? Strangely, the Arab rulers continue to live in a dream world that does not exist except within the manufactured fantasies of the palaces. The Arab League and OIC are paper based organizations lacking vision, capacity, leadership and meaningful role play in crisis management and political management. Who would THINK of any workable solutions or crisis management for the overwhelming incapacitated Arab world?
Given the will and proper sense of understanding of time and history, there are problems which are solvable without resorting to violence and bloodsheds. The UNO was responsible for the global security, peace and protection of human rights and relations between the states based on the will of the international system of governance. But the UNO is nothing except a structure – a physical body in existence without soul unless the member states provide advice and collaborative action to safeguard its written charter and global principles. That is not happening. There are talks, discussions, resolution or no paper agreements, enlisting of accusations against the Assad regime and threats of crimes against humanity for mass murders of the entrenched and helpless civilian population. Do dictators ever care for any rational approach? Do insane authoritarian rulers give any importance to words of wisdom? Do sadistic egoistic rulers ever listen to vices of REASON and to global conscience? Do they ever exercise any genuine desire to a dialogue unless they are hit over their head? So what are the so called intelligent hubs of the global community doing to stop the bloody atrocities? Millions perished in Rwanda under the ethnic cleansing. Was there any lesson learnt? Is it a new experience for the UNO or the global community? Almost a replica of what happened more than a decade earlier in Bosnia Herzegovina. The UNO witnessed the cold blooded massacres of the Bosnia people in thousands and thousands of them by the Serbs and did nothing except a spectator overseeing the genocide of a race. Coming to Syria, it is being repeated again. The issue is how to stop this daily carnage of precious human lives. Insanity continues to flourish, rationality is absent. The crying and dying voices in Homs, Derra, Damascus and Huma are asking if there is a concerned humanity willing and ready to help in a humanitarian crisis? But the global community is waiting, watching and talking, not doing anything.
The Western political leaders and public institutions indulge in rhetoric of peace making but lack the vision, capacity, and courage to take challenging steps to make it happen. It is all politics of peacemaking – an illusion on the screen and not the real peacemaking. To gather people’s attention, they will invent abstract issues and reshape the facts of human history to manipulate the voters and gain cheap favors. Politics is a game of pretension and apprehension, not doing the good for the people with purpose, honesty and clarity of intentions. To console human mind, the Western leaders and political lobbyists are at least talking in public, but what about the Arab rulers – are they talking? Are they doing anything at all? Do they have the moral, intellectual and visionary leadership capacity to do anything useful for the entrenched people of Syria? One would imagine, the Arab rulers being at the helms of oil pumping power, abundance of dollars and influence – they must be capable and equipped to play a significant role in global political affairs. Not so, time and history tell the story otherwise. They are the wrong people, with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things. The Arab rulers do not look at the mirror for reflection on accountability and leadership role and their sense of rationality is bogged down within the self, not outside the palace.
Long time ago, it was the Arab culture and flourishing civilization that spoke the language of the people and enlightened the Europe with new ideas, knowledge, inventions, science and visions for change and human emancipation. Not any more as Arab societies are caught in the delusional oil-generated economic prosperity and overburdened by modern ignorance and stupidity of the uneducated ruling elite, they are unable to see the light out of the box. Arab authoritarianism needs a strong jolt – a powerful political, intellectual and military challenge to avert the on-going military assaults against the very people on whose lifeline the nation state was created. . There are no Arab armies and no Arab leaders to challenge anybody on any fronts. Under Islam, the Arabs used to claim and enjoin moral and intellectual superiority in dealing with enemies and in situations of conflict. Now the oil pumped prosperity conspiracy (fitna) has transformed the Arab rulers into mindless and redundant to the challenging demands of the 21st century political affairs.
The superficial oil-based prosperity has bewildered the Arab rulers to the extent that some have become intolerable to any rational concerns. They THINK of the self, not of the people or of the Muslim Ummah. Would another jolt as was inflicted to Saddam Hussein change the Arab thinking of the politics of the palaces? Have they learned anything from the ousted Ben Ali of Tunisia, killed Ghaddafi and Abdullah Saleh of Yemen? They were not a victim of anything except of their own egoistic wrong thinking and dictatorships kept in office by the Western governments. There is a culture of pretension across the Western political governance about human rights and liberty.
The Arab rulers have no sense of time, history or strategic direction – often they live in modern prison cells- called palaces built with petrodollars- stolen money from the public treasury. Their so called friends in the US and Europe called them camel jockeys – rug head rulers without brain. Ron Suskind (the One Percent Doctrine- deep inside America’s pursuit of its enemies since 9/11, 2007) recalls how George Tenet, former CIA Chief used to give enthusiastic hugs to the Arab monarchs as if he was their friend and buddy and they would readily do anything – fair or foul to please the Americans. The Western think-tanks view the Arab people’s movements as armies of radical Islam and extremism, the vocabulary that does not exist in Arabic language or its implication to the Islamic culture. Islam organizes people in moral, physical and spiritual relation to a UNITY of thought and purpose in peace for the best of human culture and values, not geared against anybody. The myth of Islamic “terrorism’ goes on unabated over the Western news media as food for public consumption and the political institutions doing their best to undermine the besieged mankind. Arabs have no institutions to enlist public support for any political cause. They are allergic to listening and learning from the Muslim thinkers, scholars and experts in global affairs. There is no rational place for meeting of minds or opportunity that one could try to make the Arab authoritarian rulers understand that they have crossed over the limit of reason and absurdity and now is the time for change and reformation to make a navigational change. They appear to be so indifferent, cruel and unmindful of the facts of life – their palaces and reign comes first, people have no entry point in their agenda. With people’s revolutionary movements and many authoritarian Arab rulers on the run, Arabs collectively are in a very weak position to assert any influence over the events and coming developments to shape the future.
You would not to take a pill to recall the facts of human life. Some twenty five years earlier, this author while teaching in the Arab world, offered a strategic plan and new futuristic proposal widely defined and circulated in the Arab world (“Towards Muslim Unity”, “Why Muslims are a Divided People?” “Approaches to Comparative Strategic Policy Planning: Muslim World and the West”), how an Ummah Council (Muslim Parliament of educated representatives) should be set up, organized and function to deal with affairs of economic, social and political interests and policies, and issues of peace, security and conflict resolution, and have open trade, common currency and free movements of goods and services and lot more. Imagine, if such an assembly was discussing the issue of the freedom of Palestine or the crises in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria and echoing its voice and support to the besieged people, don’t you think, the world would have listened to them carefully and appraised its value in real terms for actions. Indeed, it would have. The unity of Muslim Ummah and educated and intelligent leadership would have changed the shape and forms of contemporary hopeless affairs. Should the authoritarian Arab leaders not be questioned and held accountable for their incompetence, treachery and failure to protect the interests of the Arab people? Embittered and sadistic ruler cannot escape the wrath of the masses now or in future, the Arab political landscape has drastically changed since the Tunisian and Egyptian led people’s movement for freedom. Seeing the people’s revolt and political challenge to their cruelty, many authoritarian rulers are hurriedly transferring the stolen wealth and possessions to Western institutions and friends. But it appears certain that nothing can save them from the consequences of their viciousness, treachery to the people and dishonesty to Islam.
The oil export enhanced economic prosperity has not changed the psychology and physical functionality of the common man across the Arab world. Ignorance, cruelty and deprivation are the hallmarks of the synoptic view. People live in fear of being annihilated by the ruthless forces of the authoritarian rulers. But the men – the rulers who are universally hated and feared claim to have achieved major milestones by their secretive police gangs, ruthlessness and success leading to degeneration and savagery of vicious acts against the very people they claim to serve and govern. Given the moral, intellectual and political will of the global community, the question is how can rationality of words and lips alone will stop the daily massacres of the innocent people unless there is a concerted plan and a tangible force to dismantle the institutionalized insanity and to free the people of Syria.
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global affairs (global security, peace and conflict resolution) and comparative Western-Islamic cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest one: Arabia at Crossroads: Arab People Strive for Freedom, Peace and New Leadership. VDM Publishers, Germany, September 2011. Comments are welcome at: firstname.lastname@example.org)