By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, Nov 1, 2012
Human endeavors have often manifold underlying motivations ranging from the necessity to quench biological needs to the longing for self-fulfillment. The urge to belong to a community and to feel appreciated is pivotal to mental balance.
At a larger scale, countries need to be integrated in a network of diplomatic relations and strategic alliances to pursue common geopolitical goals or to enhance economic profits.
Geopolitical Alliances can be based on regional proximity, ideological adjacency or economic partnering. As decision makers make steps towards rapprochement with their allies, the masses often display vivid reactions to the patterns of these conjunctions.
In the Arab and the Muslim world, foreign policy decisions are often put under close scrutiny especially when they are likely to violate the allegiance either to another Muslim country or to an Arab nation.
Nevertheless, the resurgence of Islamism or political Islamism sowed confusion in the mind of many Arabs and especially among the vast Muslim majority. The lines between religious solidarity among Muslims and the feelings of Pan-Arabism are often blurred.
The idea that Arabs constitute a single nation has been engraved in the subliminal cultural consciousness of many Arabs for decades.
Pan-Arabism golden age dates back to the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was heralded by Arab Nationalists like Gamal Abde Nasser who tried to substitute nationalism with Arab nationalism. The latter became a state strategy commanding both domestic and foreign policy.
With the Arab defeat by Israel in 1967, the relevance of pan-Arabism was disparaged by many and its acclaim undermined among Egyptians and in the Arab nation at large. Many perceived that the obsession to build one harmonious Arab nation has eroded national identities in many countries, especially in Egypt.
Bu the resurgence of Islamism or political Islam gave the final blow to Pan-Arabism. The zeal for Sharia enforcement emboldened by the ambition of an Islamic state under the rule of a Caliphate reminiscent of the Prophet’s era terminated Pan-Arabism glorious days.
Pan-Islamism ostracizes the affiliation to the Arab ethnicity or the Moroccan culture as primary factors for unification. The vision of a larger nation that includes all Muslims is gaining momentum as Pan-Arabism is incrementally eclipsed by a new reality brought about by the Arab Spring.
Another more moderate stance defends the affiliation to both the Arab nation and the Muslim world setting an order of priorities. The interests of the Islamic Umma are propelled to the forefront while the affiliation to the Arab nation is relegated to the second position.
That said, despite the decline of Nasser’s ideology, the bonds amid Arabs cannot be easily severed. These historical and cultural connections continue to nurture feelings of empathy and proximity among Arabs all over the world.