Monday, April 04, 2005

Amarji the Heretic

Ammarji is the site of Ammar Abdulhamid, a well known Syria dissident currently living in Syrian. Ammar has an unusual biography of moving from fundamentalism to atheism to now agnostism. His blog is sometime political sometime just emotional - Ammar is afterall a novelist. But even his political writting carry poetic quality like this one:

Or has our fate been sealed from the cradle?

American warships are said to be coming our way. But I don’t know what to
expect really: catastrophe or salvation?

But then we are all born soaked in blood.

Other times Ammar writting is full insight, this one taken from "The Thin Heretical Line"

American policies are not set in stone. There have been thousands of document like Clean Break that never amounted to anything but wishful thinking. They were
either shelved in favor of other policy options or were simply overtaken by events. Those in the Middle East who fear the “ominous” content of Clean Break should realize that the implementation of it, no matter how influential its authors seem to be at this stage, could, nonetheless, be seriously undermined through the adoption of a more pragmatic and proactive attitude by the regimes and parties concerned.

Dealing with US policy with a sense of fatalism will only justify the basic claims and arguments of the Clean Break advocates, namely that most ME societies, especially traditional Arab societies, along with the ruling regimes they have spewed and regurgitated over the years, are simply irreformable, irredeemable, unsalvageable, and, in short, incapable of working out their own salvation. As such, external interference is a must even if, on the short to intermediate run, it means chaos. For a chaotic dynamism is much better, from their view, than static nihilism.

The Ammar proceed to lay the blame squarely where it belong.

For instance, all Arab nationalists are willing to condemn American imperialism but none is willing to condemn the Arab imperialist experiment that took placeunder the banner of Islam. We can all understand the special circumstance and context of the imperialist ventures of our forefathers, but we are completely unwilling to fathom the logic behind the imperialist ventures perpetrated against us at any given moment, so long as we remain the victims thereof. This is only natural of course. No one likes to be a victim.

The problem here, however, is that victimary mentality leaves no room for creative solutions, where such solutions are most sorely needed. Complaining about the cold is not going to make me any warmer. While fighting off the cold with my bare skin is not the smart thing to do. This region is going to witness a lot of pressures from the US in the days, months and years to come. Complaining about the perceived double standards and the injustice of it all will not help. While
butting head with the US is simply an exercise in futility, especially when theregimes involved continue to wallow under the dark shadows of illegitimacy and the people are so alienated and powerless.

So, and while America may not be the solution, it is definitely not the real problem, but a mere symptom or a manifestation thereof. Indeed, America would not have had any reason to come here had we been able to fathom and accept the nature of the world around us and its continuingly changing realities, and had we been able and willing to accommodate ourselves to that.

Then to the insightful dianogsis of the root of the decease:

This region has been in a serious crisis mode ever since it was pulled into the modern world from the medievalistic temporal enclave in which it long buried itself, and yet no one has yet attempted to manage this crisis in view of minimizing losses and maximizing potential advantages.

Rather, the political, economic and intellectual elites have, for the most part, busied themselves simultaneously denying and exploiting this crisis to their immediate advantage. Still, let’s not waste any time blaming them here, for in reality they could not have behaved differently. Elites, after all, are but products of their own societies and often suffer from the selfsame problems and handicaps they tend to diagnose and attempt to treat.

One of these problems is that of our self-image which continues to be shaped by medievalistic realities, realities that are no longer relevant today, realities that could never again be relevant, no matter how long we wait or how hard we pray.


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