Rabat - There is no doubt that local populations, various elites, intellectuals, military institutions, law enforcement, education systems, religious establishments, and MENA governments all share responsibility for the current political, social, economic and cultural mess that defines their region. In this text, however, I focus on how other parties also share some of these responsibilities. The following is therefore a review of the dominant arguments underpinning the current situation in the region, both by non expert stakeholders and leading policy makers.
Rabat – There is no doubt that local populations, various elites, intellectuals, military institutions, law enforcement, education systems, religious establishments, and MENA governments all share responsibility for the current political, social, economic and cultural mess that defines their region. In this text, however, I focus on how other parties also share some of these responsibilities. The following is therefore a review of the dominant arguments underpinning the current situation in the region, both by non expert stakeholders and leading policy makers.
Untangling the causes of the MENA region’s current situation begins with an analysis of the Napoleonic campaigns and the early 1800s. In fact, this particular period is when the heads of the West’s colonial presence in the region redrew the Middle East’s borders; a decision made entirely independent of the region’s historical, ethnic, national, sociological, religious, cultural, economic, and geographic specificities. Likewise, the analysis must not overlook 1948 and the West’s creation of an alien state on Palestinian lands in a vain effort to settle the consequences of a Western war: relocating Western minorities that had been persecuted savagely during the Second World War. The analysis should also integrate the demographic factor; a factor which the West has re-engineered by promoting the massive displacement of a European population requesting compensation and reparations for the prejudices they were made to suffer by their countrymen; a displacement to a land that is not theirs. While trying to cope with its own guilt, Europe has thus contributed to creating and disseminating new colonial and opportunistic ideologies to justify and support the occupation of Palestine.
The analysis should also take into account the double-standards that the West has maintained in its behavior toward the region; especially seeing as the West has not been able to live up to the moral values nor the political principles it advocates
The complexity of the situation has made it so that the best option the West is left with as a result of its own behaviors is to support regimes it has condemned as tyrannical, anti-democratic, fatal to freedom, heinous, criminal, misogynistic, and genocidal. With only this option available to it, the West is in a tough spot. However, Western intellectuals and observers are currently criticizing the official attitudes that have long reduced the Middle East, its culture, its governments, and its politics to a complex of corruption, incompetence, cowardliness, backwardness, irrelevance, greed, filth, misogyny, lust, blurred intentions and great propensity for violence.
In fact, the Western Establishment is now being challenged on the very views it has cultivated and fed to its populations for decades, if not centuries. More and more, Western intellectuals are coming to the conclusion that the West committed true violence against the populations of the Middle East. They also explain that corruption takes two parties, and should the leaders of the region be corrupt, their Western counterparts are no better. As for misogyny, tyranny, and other political and social vices, the West cannot boast to have attempted to deter its partners in the region from these behaviors. As a matter of fact, in some cases the West was actively instigating these crimes and taking advantage of them.
By siding with such regimes working against their own populations, the West not only contributed to the rise of opposition against the region’s governments, but cultivated resentment against all things Western. Furthermore, by supporting regimes denying freedom and suppressing fundamental rights, the West created the conditions in which contrary ideologies and political ideas originated and thrived. Likewise, by tolerating the regimes’ stifling of culture, the arts and diversity, the West was directly responsible for the rise of fundamentalism and extremist trends that gradually gained ground among the populations, taking them very far from Western political, social, cultural and economic ideals.
When Western democracies failed to understand that the rising threat could not be checked exclusively by adjusting laws, allowing law enforcement and the judiciary to bend the rules and ensuring the impunity of their allies; they further damaged their reputation and the reputation of everything for which they stood. By continuing to hijack the wealth of the region and protecting the established dictatorships, the West doomed itself, its economic interests, and its strategic presence in the region. A case in point the West has largely ignored is that by focusing on the European and Christian victims of the ongoing conflicts in the region (who are much fewer than the locals massacred on a daily basis), the West confirms tacitly, at least to local populations in the region, the double standards of which it is accused, and thus earns the certification of its fundamental bias, opportunism, and racism.
Many of the increasing number of Western converts who join or support Islamist militant groups have explained that they suddenly became aware of the lies, hypocrisy, and fallacy of the history they were taught in their schools and to the deceit and violence of their culture’s attitudes towards others, especially Muslims and Arabs. In fact, drastic decisions to convert and join such groups cannot be accidental or hasty. One would imagine they would take intense thinking and evaluations of the alternative offers available . For that matter, no one decides on impulse or whim to leave healthy relationships with family, friends, and country behind to join an army fighting a society they hold dear. The very existence of these converts point to how deep the shock of realizing the truth of the West’s actions has been and how damaging the effects of deception and disappointment regarding political, cultural, and ideological heritage can be.
These young men and women, both converts and nationals of Western countries, explains one of them, fight against their own countries as a means of assuming responsibility for the distress their governments’ self-serving interventions have caused. Because of the West’s egotistical interests and greed, these governments invaded countries, vandalized natural resources, disbanded armies, killed leaders, drove populations out of their homes, meddled with religious texts and beliefs, dismantled social structures, turned against allies they themselves created, privatized wars, hired mercenaries, violated privacy laws, manipulated the media, and lied to their own populations and to the whole world. In short, they are guilty of the most heinous of crimes for the sake of power, wealth and hegemony.
The extent to which the parties involved adhere to these analyses or not confirms their attitudes towards those proposed in the West and expresses the agreements or the disagreements that contribute either to the mutual understanding or to the mistrust that govern the creation of their perceptions, attitudes and beliefs and which sanction their behaviors towards each other. Furthermore, whether the analyses are sound or not has very little relevance to the situation which is governed more by emotions, passions and impressions than by reason, facts or rational thinking. All parties, however, will but gain in being aware of them and in understanding how they shape the opinion, mindsets and mentalities of their “others”. The issue becomes, therefore, how to appease feelings so that cultural and political autism is overcome, agendas are cleared from hegemonic intentions and colonial attitudes are neutralized.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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