Monday, December 19, 2005

Arab Anger and Blame Game

Lebebanese Profile Presciently Self Reflects on the Arab World - (read the whole thing)

Ms. Saadi expresses the mixed anger Arabs often feel: mad about the destruction of something that was never beneficial. She's filled with anger and blame, which is her right, but it's an anger and blame that is too often expressed and rarely fully contemplated. The anger is there, but the thoughts are lacking.

Only now is this beginning to change.

In Lebanon, like Iraq, we are transfixed with anger.

Many like to argue that our anger is recent. In Lebanon, we have been suffering constant terror attacks and assassinations. In Iraq, the people suffer from an imminent threat of death that far surpasses anything we experience in Lebanon.

However, Arab anger was there before. Under Saddam, under Syrian rule, we were angry.

Arab anger goes back quite a ways -

  1. We were angry at the Ottomans and Young Turks
  2. at the British and French
  3. at our monarchies
  4. at our governments
  5. with Israel
  6. with each other
  7. at members of other sects
  8. at members of other clans (I'm sure Iraq has its own version of the Zeitar-Jaafar disputes - Lebanon's Hatfields and McCoys)

In Lebanon, brothers get so angry at each other they stop speaking for years, bring lawsuits against each other, and start businesses for the sole purpose of harming the other's business (Roadster vs. Crepaway, Michel Murr vs. Gabriel Murr, the whole Zahlawy Baghdadi family).

We're angry folk. Our happiness is often described as coming about with the destruction of someone else.

We're not unique in this, but we still feel like we're perpetually getting short-changed.

We're always ready to blame: the Zionists, the Wahhabis, the Syrians, the Americans, colonialism, empire. No doubt, these have been sources of strife, but we too often use these as excuses for inaction: "It's their fault, and they must fix it. We've got a right to be mad, do what we want, and say anything we want, regardless of logic, truth, and what's actually going on in the world."

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