By Dr Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD : –
Arab People in Search of Peace and Competent Leaders
The Arab world is fast becoming landscape of extended graveyards, missing sense of humanity and futuristic impulse is nowhere to be seen. Do the oil producing leaders of transitory economic prosperity really care for the catastrophic present and what future will unleash to them? Subsequent to the 9/11, the Arab world in particular and the Muslim people in general are the victims of planned new age of confrontation and exploitation. Many misfortunes more horrifying than the outbursts of the US-led bogus War on Terrorism await to inflict pains, bloodbaths and destruction across the Muslim societies. More crusading armies vigorously bombarding the agriculturally fertile and culturally enriched Arab heartland – Iraq, Syria and soon to other neighboring lands. Like the 1258 Halku Khan’s Mongol ferocity of Baghdad and beyond, Arab leaders are not ashamed of the missing courage and leadership vision for political emancipation but uncertain and overwhelming authoritarianism making no sense to a rational critical mind for political change. They were never decolonized but remained faithful to imperial loyalty. Have the Arab rulers solved any of the important problems confronting the Arab masses over half of a century?
Al-Qaeda and ISIS are distraction from the real issues of Arabian dictatorial regimes. The Western proponent of animosity view it blessing in disguise for opportunities carved-up by collapsed Arab leadership lacking courage and intellectual vision for change and political development to serve the interest of the deprived masses. There is no righteous cause and harmony between the rulers and the ruled. They live in conflicting time zones manned and infested by foreigners to support the secretive police apparatus and continuity of authoritarian governance denying Islam a place for change and human manifestation as was the case in the Arabian history. Out of the no system of cruel governance, Arab leaders are abhorrent to people-oriented change as Islam synthesized the respect for human rights, dignity and collective decision making in its precepts. Egyptian have experienced it first-hand after the people-led revolutionary change, how General Abdur Rahman Al-Sisi was brought-in via military coup to replace an elected President Morsi. Now Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwan), a century old organization dedicated to welfare state framework is labeled as “terrorist.” Disgracefully and inexplicably, all the one-track Arab rulers share the same boat and fate. Timidity lacks self-pity if they could see the mirror. They appear besieged in dormant palaces, unaware when and how the common folks could unseat them. Whereas, the bombing scheme against ISIL and Al-Qaed and so many others continues day and night. The Western news media most often serves as a weapon to expose the official dictum; it fails to count the civilian casualties- large in numbers and unknown by their dresses, facial identities and birthdates. The
fourth and final Crusade is well in its progress. The Western war mythologists perhaps assume that nobody is watching them. Not so, what goes on the planet Earth is known and recorded by the living history.
What Happens on Earth Affects All
The planet Earth is not a dead orbiting object but a living entity providing continuous nourishment to human life and existence and to all other living beings. Its governing laws are defined by its Creator. Dead things do not sustain life in this context but livings do make the difference. When individuals and nations start acting like wild beasts in complete disregard to the accepted norms of human values and ethical principles, surely, it impacts all and everything whether we acknowledge it or not. No humans can become God or act like God – a plain fact of life. American politics is increasingly showing perpetuated ignorance and willful arrogance in its global policies and practices. America as it appears is not heeding to warnings from God. When people and nations challenge the sanctity and limits of the Laws of God and violate all known norms and principles of human behavior, they could well become an object of unthinkable natural calamities and disasters. The Talmud, Bible and Al-Qura’an are full of such revelations and warnings as reminders to those people who are open to listening and learning and care for accountability and future. These are staunch warnings to change the thinking and behaviors or else could face the ultimate consequences of demise as it happened to all self-claiming adventurous and powerful nations of the past. If history is relevant and is seen as a source of learning and warning, undeniably all those superpowers well equipped with weapons and animosity to destroy others or all have met the same fate of self annihilation. It is beyond doubts that when they challenged the sanctity of the Laws of God governing the earth and the living Universe, and invaded small and poor nations in farfetched lands, they ultimately met their own end in-waiting by the natural forces such earthquakes, flooding, tornados, exploding lavas, sound blasts, lightning and lot more. None were able to record their own end in their own words and expressions. Professor John Esposito, (Unholy War and What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, 2nd ed. 2011), a reputable scholar of Western-Islamic culture and history at the Georgetown University, offers a lesson in a rational context:
“An important lesson of history is that rulers and nations do rise and fall. Unforeseen circumstances can bring up unanticipated change. Few expected the breakup of the Soviet Union and the liberation of Eastern Europe to occur when they did ……now is the time for those in all walks of life (political, economic, military, media and academic) who wish to see a new order not to be silenced but to speak out, organize, vote and be willing when necessary to make sacrifices in promoting a new global order.”
Towards Talking and Making Peace
During the WW2, combating nations and war strategists kept communication channels open for dialogue even with most hated enemies to avert man-made disasters and outreach for peaceful ending. Many strive secretly to end futile societal conflict, religious crusades and wars of political hegemony. What wrong with the Arab leaders not to deal with Al-Qaeda and the ISIL? To end wars, they all talk and make peaceful overtures to
conclude sustainable agreements. No wars are fought for ever unless human mind is devoid of rational thinking. Internationally acclaimed journalist Robert Fisk (“Talking to ISIS could lead to Peace. Yet, for some reason we‘re not allowed to do it.” The Independent, UK: 2/15/2015), asks: “Could we save the lives of our people in Isis hands if we talked to the “Islamic State” it claims to represent?” Fisk further shares his insight: “To put it another way, should we talk to the killers of the “Islamic State”? Or al-Qaeda? Or Hamas? Or – let us cross the line – the Provisional IRA? Or should we join in the madness of “listing”, drawing up mammoth charts of those to whom we can and cannot talk: a “good” and “evil” list….. The highly politicised ‘listing’ of armed groups by governments has been found to achieve very little.” Ostensibly, people and nations define “good or evil” in a given social and culturally valued context. In volatile politics, there are no prefixed values which all nations and conflicting interpretation could possibly absorb at a negotiating table. Robert Fisk explains how a forthcoming Feb 24 research Report by the Queen Mary University of London School of Law and the Berghof Foundation in Berlin:
strongly suggests that the “listing” of armed groups by governments – often for clear political reasons – prevents what the writers call “peace building”, hindering the host of NGOs, academics, lawyers and others who are trying to explain the benefits of human rights and political moderation to armed groups whose brutal methods have never been challenged. As Véronique Dudouet of the Berghof Foundation explains, Building Peace in Permanent War – the title of the academic study – illustrates the paradox of “terrorist listing” and “its pernicious impact on contemporary armed conflicts…….. and it’s rather mild to the Western governments who threaten all those who “talk to terrorists” with legal action at home while doing deals with the same rogues behind everyone else’s back.
Challenges are Critical but Arab Scholars are Nowhere?
The compelling realities across the beleaguered Arab world demand new thinking, new proactive visionary leadership, men of new ideas and plans to deal with unwarranted bombing of the civilian population, wholesale foreign deaths and deliberate destruction of the Arab people and culture and millions of displaced refugees-nowhere to go. These are highly urgent and sensitive issues of the 21st century politics, individual absolutism, human freedom and justice involved in cross-cultural conflicts. There are countless issues to be addressed across the socially, economically and political broken, dysfunctional and sometimes badly ruptured Arab societal landscape.
Arabs history is enriched with moral and intellectual values. During the three Crusades, there are ample instances of formal contacts, exchange of gifts and friendly messages and dialogues between King Richard and Sultan Salahudeen Ayoubi. Al-Qaed or ISIL were not born in the eye of the storm but are the outgrowth of the American and British wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both nations had continued secret talks with Al-Qaeda and Talibans for peace deals. At times, Muslim scholars have played their role in bridging the gaps of ignorance and arrogance arising out of unusual societal conflicts. Why not now when there are urgent needs and priorities to do so? Are they obsessed with lack of wisdom and fear of the unknown? Many Western nations hire NGO’s or academic intellectuals to pave ways for meaningful dialogue to end conflicts in situations of exceptional emergencies and unusual developments. Across the Arab and Muslim world,
there are plenty of proactive, intelligent and independent scholars as are the thoughts of Robert Fisk to imagine political change – a peaceful resolution of the current havoc humanitarian crises in the Arab Middle East. Contrary to the US annoyance, Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Hollande, President Putin and the Ukrainian President exhibited leadership initiatives and foresight to meet and conclude the peace accord what was unthinkable. The Minsk agreement between Russia, the activists in Eastern Ukraine, Germany and France for ceasefire and peace-building could well suffice the urgent imperatives for the Arab leaders. But it all comes to taking new initiatives and moving forward with new ideas and men of new ideas to facilitate what could be unthinkable in making peace as thinkable and rational course of action to end the emerging bloodbath. Undoubtedly, more catastrophic upheavals and bloodshed is knocking at the Arabian doors but leaders appear indifferent and untouched by the daily killings of the innocents and large displacements of the civilian population. The contemporary Arab leaders never care to develop public institutions of peace, security and conflict management. They have no RDF to deal with any crisis, be it Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Libya. Of all the worst developments, one is shocked to witness increasing sectarian rivalries and fighting between the Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam. None is fighting for the cause of Muslims or Islam. No wonder, what future lies ahead for sectarian madness?
Emerging crises clearly indicate the Western policies and practices to incapacitate the Arab intellectual hub not to think of the present or the future. To escape the current volatile political crises, as if the Arab leaders had no knowledge of what massive deaths and destruction meant to contemporary rational thinkers. Temptation and compulsion of evil embedded in psychological factors of sectarian rivalries operate in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt to perpetuate in-house fear, deaths and destruction. Palestine witnessed the occupation, massive displacement of indigenous people and continuing atrocities. After the Palestinian refugees, why are there several millions more Arab refugees across the Middle East? Who will deal with the pressing problems of life and deaths facing the Arab masses? Who will deal with restoration of peace, normalcy and conflict management? Do these leaders have any moral and intellectual capacity to extend security and sense of protection to the helpless people? Rationality is replaced by perpetuated insanity. Time and history are not on the side of the besieged rulers doomed to be replaced by the friendly Western powers and new political imagination of the people seeking societal change. As it stands now, Arab leaders have no other thought and priority except to check the depleted oil prices, and count the dead bodies – soon they could be part of abstract statistic debated and defined by the American and Europeans warriors as to how the Arabs lost their national freedom, human dignity and oil pumping economic happiness. To reverse the naïve blunders for accidental change and to strike a rational outlook for the future, this author (“Arab Leaders: Waiting to Count the Dead Bodies.” Information Clearing House: 2/08/2013), offered the following insight and reminder to all concerned in the Arab world:
Once the Arabs were leaders in knowledge, creativity, science and human manifestation, progress and future-making – the Islamic civilization lasting for eight hundred years in Al-Andulsia- Spain. But when they replaced Islam – the power and core value of their advancements with petro-dollars transitory economic prosperity, they failed to THINK intelligently and fell in disgrace and lost what was gained over the centuries. They relied on Western mythologies of change and materialistic development which resulted
in their self- geared anarchy, corruption, military defeats and disconnected authoritarianism. The Western strategists ran planned scams of economic prosperity to destroy the Arab culture with their own oil and their own money turning them redundant for the 21st century world. Today, the Arab leaders are so irrational and cruel that they reject all voices of REASON for Change and Human Development only to bring more deaths and destructions to their societies.
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, May 2012).