Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, May 2012
How the Oil-Exporting Arab Leaders Betrayed the People and Lost the Future
By Mahboob A Khawaja
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, May 15, 2012
“It is highly probable that but for the Arabs modern European civilization would never have arisen at all; it is absolutely certain that but for them, it would not have assumed that character which has enabled it to transcend all previous phases of evolution. For although there is not a single aspect of European growth in which the decisive influence of Islamic culture is not traceable, nowhere is it so clear and momentous as in the genesis of that power which constitutes the paramount distinctive force of the modern world and the supreme source of its victory-natural science and the scientific spirit.”
Robert Briffault (The Making of Humanity, Cambridge University, UK).
Future is not something that happens out of the nowhere but visionary and proactive thinkers, intellectuals and those responsible and equipped with leadership assets create it to serve the interests of the people. For eight hundred years, the longest period in any known civilizations, the Arab civilization flourished in Al-Andalusia - Spain and enriched the dark-aged European world with knowledge, Renaissance and Industrial Revolution. The Divine knowledge of Islam spirited the desert born simple Arabs to pursue Islam as a movement of life and to influence the world for the evolution of an Islamic civilization while the Europeans lived in barbarianism, Muslims were the most creative, progressive and successful people on earth. Numerous Christian authors describe the 8th – 16th century Muslims in Al-Andulus (Spain), as most tolerant, knowledgeable and pioneer of scientifically advanced civilization that facilitated European Renaissance and Industrial Revolution. One factor among the many, distinctively noted by reputable Christian authors is that when they describe the excellence of Muslim civilization and its achievements, it is referred to as “people of the Quranic Generation.” Today, most of the Arab leaders avoid using the concept of the “Quranic Generation” - Muslim Ummah, and prefer to call themselves - an “Arab Ummah” – negating the intellectual magnificence and glorious contributions of the Islamic civilization.
What went wrong with the Arab pioneers of the Islamic civilization across the European continent? Among many of the reasons, one may cite few important ones:
1. Change in Islamic Thinking: absence of a proactive vision for the humanity as chosen people for the good of humanity.
2. Conscious neglect of the universal mission of Islam and resulting discard of Islamic movement across the globe.
3. Non-conformance to the principles of Islamic movement for change, development and human success.
4. Systematic decadence in intellectual, moral and political leadership.
5. Dismantling of Islamic institutions for the development of One Ummah, and to avoid the role of reasoning and accountability.
6. Increasing adaptability to western thinking, behaviors, educational system and social norms that drained out the Islamic THINKING for unity, creativity and movement.
7. Conspiracy “Fitna” of the transitory economic prosperity – discovery of the oil and aftermath of the oil export revenues being used to propagate “modernity”.
8. Incurable illusions of the neo-colonialist elite that oil revenues are forever their exclusive property.
9. Overwhelming materialism and consumerism negating spiritualism: training of body desperately needed training of Faith (Iman) and a committed mind.
Leadership in Muslim societies is occupied by those who have no educational upbringing or interest in living Islam and lead nobody, mostly seen as being ignorant, corrupt, and subservient to the neo-colonialism and committed to secularism as a system of life.
The Western strategic elite justify wars against the Muslim world as dating back to the Crusades. They know through patronage that Muslims have no leader like Sultan Salahuddin Ayoubi to challenge the Christian Crusaders and defeat them. European imperialism viewed Islamic civilization as an unacceptable entity to their goal of global domination and feared Islamic movement as a force with considerable challenge. In scientific discoveries, technology development, educational advancement and political emancipation, European colonial masters drifted the Muslim masses to a subhuman level below the pets. A former Arab and presently Canadian educated journalist contend that Arabs love dog and entitles his recent article “Arabs and dog”. One wonders is it an accumulated disgust or considered failure of the contemporary Arab leadership? Generation after generation, Muslims have been defeated and submerged into other entities or punished by the Western masters. So-called liberal democracy had no listing of Muslim as suitable creatures for progressive role-play in international community. Humanity in the West shrinked from intelligence to stupidity, whereas, Charles Darwin (Origin of the Species), was uplifted and honored, man (“Insaan”- human being) was degraded from all the entries of making a human civilization. Whereas, Islam focused on man (“insaan”) as the primary aim of comprehensive development.
Pioneers of scientifically progressive civilization, those Arabs and other Muslims became prisoners of foreign ideas – from freedom to human exploitation, all affixed on paper – phenomenon of exalted humanity – Al-Hambra palace to Taj Mahal, all transformed into digits and numbers to become an abstract reference in tourist guide, interpretive history full of material civilization and nothing else. The folly of deliberate aim of the pedagogy to conceal and distort the entire moral and spiritual progressive evolution of the mankind; left to be interpreted in questionable terminology. While arrogance and stupidity rules, true knowledge and divine wisdom live in denials.
Most Western mythologist would prefer silence when their interests and hegemonic goals come into intellectual and political conflicts with the oil producing Arab world. Islam and its followers believe in change as a precept of the faith. Since “Islamic terrorism” phenomenon has emerged as a new data in American dictated global propaganda vocabulary and pre-conceived graphics of the Muslim images, little tangible and constrictive change can be imagined except resulting in clear failure of the Muslim leadership, from intellectual sphere to practically all value oriented domains. The political language of progress is distortion of reality, supremacy of American technology-based culture, capitalism and ultimate integration of Muslim countries into the fold of American – Zionist dominated economic block. The World Bank and IMF are the true rulers of the global politics. America controls all.
Arab leaders dream normalcy that Saddam Hussein is no longer around them and was hanged by the Americans on video. American first colonial occupation of Iraq pleases the Zionist strategists in short and long terms success: availability of cheap Arab oil, fresh water, access to lands, immediate trade links and political recognition, open body culture of the west, and diminishing role of the Islamic values across the board. American and specially hired Brits – former PM and currently a candidate for war crimes against humanity, Tony Blair’s war protagonists do believe that it was a real war fought against Saddam Hussein (their former faithful client), and it ended up in American victory and success even though the WMD hoax was a staged drama nothing other than a planned deception and treachery to the collective conscience of humanity that demonstrated strong opposition against the American planned war.
The Western strategic planners have programmed the Arab elite to play a robotic role in real world human affairs. Incomparable to the Western higher standard of living as are the newly erected sky-hi towers, putting-up splendid fantasy towns on earth-filled sea resorts, shopping malls, race tracks and night clubs are the attractions of modern Arabian life, the expos of oil rich economies. For decades, the Arabs leaders have been doing this to please the Masters. Arab leaders curtail political activism in the citizenry and forged national positions in-between when principles of Islamic justice, honor and valor warranted a bold stand. They love Anglo-Saxon beauty and salute the blond soul and body in totality. Western masters did not train the Arab armies to fight for any public cause. The mission of Arab armies is not the defense of Islam, they are solely meant to guard the palaces, lock up the intellectuals arguing for change and reformation of political governance, and open fire on the agitating masses. The Western materialistic development formula flourishes throughout the Arab oil-exporting culture whereas “Man” (“Insaan”) has been excluded in the planning and development scheme of priorities. The Arab masses painfully strive for intellectual leadership sense of security and futuristic safety and human growth.
What is next in the conflict making and conflicts keeping domain? Nobody can predict in an unpredictable and fearful American dominated militarism era. The Arab culture and civilization is in decay and fast being replaced by the illusion of a modernity, borrowed prosperity of “big thinking” without moral and intellectual substance to live or flourish in the Arab traditional culture. Secularist Arabs rulers love Machiavellian image than being conformists to Islamic values. They live in a self-perpetuated conflict situation only to support America, no matter what happens. American leaders have declared a war against Islam, but not against Muslims. American Intelligence Networks claim all Muslim leaders are friends whereas; they view Islam as an enemy. They believe that Islam belongs to history; only American culture is living force for prosperity. To humiliate the already victimized half living bodies of Palestinians, American neo-cons have offered a “roadmap” for peace in Palestine. It is a map that has no road, and illusion of a road that goes nowhere. Arabs leaders have missed many opportunities to show courage and conviction in history and appear fearful to face the mirror, but subscribe to the bandmaster’s tune being played again to appease the American-Israeli interest lobby in Washington. What futuristic culture would the young Arab generations inherit from the contemporary authoritarian leadership? Nobody wants to care about it while the America run wars are raging across the Muslim world and important celebrities are too busy to THINK! The deprived Arab masses are kept happy with the illusion of fake petro-dollars prosperity and that business is as usual. Not so, realistically if you see the real world, Arab rulers are operating from a position of extreme weakness, not of strength to influence the outcome of political conflicts and particularly the Palestine problem. They NEED UNITY in their ranks and it does not seem to be forthcoming as nobody is aspiring to think of it. They desperately NEED educated, intelligent and proactive policy makers in global security, peace and conflict management, whereas, they have none and mostly rely on obsolete foreign opinions and experts. The influential Arab rulers are not listening to the VOICES of REASON and educated and innovative proactive visions of intellectual Muslim scholars. For sixty years, they have been a complete failure and not willing to change their thinking outlook. If the future is to be visualized as promising, the current Arabian leaders MUST listen and learn from the educated Muslims. But the Arab leaders continue to live in PALACES, not with PEOPLE.
The West exploits the oil producing Arab nations under varied perceptions and political images. They view Arabs as backward people entangled in tribalism and not up to the value indicators of their standard of modernity. The Arabs got the economic prosperity without working for it. The West knows well that Arabs are often emotional and disunited lacking intellectual foresights and persuasive political activism in global affairs. The contemporary Arab leaders operate from a position of weakness and not of strength in global political arena. Yes, Arabs lack proactive leadership but they are rich in human values, culture and civilization. What is needed is to straighten out the Western policy makers with moral and intellectual challenge, not to take the Arabs for granted as John Perkins (Confession of an Economic Hitman) describes ‘to milk the cows until sunset.’ If the contemporary Arab leaders wanted to change the direction of their outlook and were good listeners and learners to educated Muslims and intellectuals, they could articulate moral and political challenges to America and Israel, and the political games and outcomes will be different and favorable to the Arabs. American and Israeli politicians do respond to challenges. It is the leadership art to challenge that Arabs failed to perceive in creative politics.
Some of the Arabs leaders celebrate the American military success in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the Middle East but prey at their own people under the disguise of terrorism to dispel any sign of public resentment against the American-British intransigence and aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far an estimated 3 millions civilians have been killed in Iraq war and millions of habitats have been destroyed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Even the paper-based abstract Arab League and OIC could not dare to name America and Britain as the aggressors in Iraq and Afghanistan; as they describe them “men in uniforms.” They pretend to be moderate. Deception and treachery knows no bound.
Most of the oil producing Arab states are governed by authoritarian rulers who are allied to the Western oil importing nations and in return support these tribal chiefs with arms, ammunition and secret police networks to keep the young Arab new thinking and aspirations for change under strict check of the brutality of the military and secret police operatives. But people are determined to break the solid barriers of “fear” and cruelty and make ways for change as it is happening in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and other parts of the Middle East. The Western policy planners never imagined that the Arab world and its people could rise against their installed military dictators and ruthless rulers and create a new world of change and people-oriented governance based on the rights and dignity of common citizens. Western politician used to fill the blanks and claim to advance human rights and democracy in the Arab world but they were all lies and political deceptions for convenient business deals and oil trading. When there was no oil, the Arab people were the most enlightened and peaceful and advanced in knowledge and global co-existence. It is probable that most of the Arab dictators will fall from authoritarian rule and run away taking their stolen wealth to the Western world. The prosperity bubble is fast becoming to an end but the end appears dreadful and disastrous and has ruin all the sectors of the Arab societies. The armed forces who were supposed to protect and defend the people are actively engaged to destroy their lives, bomb the habitats under false accusations of terrorism against the state, and to keep the military dictators in power. The Western world is watching and waiting to see when would the Arab saga will come to a close chapter so that they could move-in to take over the oil filed and other natural resources much needed for continued industrialization and its operations. The Arab leaders lacking education and moral and intellectual foresights are interdependent on the European-American political masters and will do, what they are dictated for their own survival. The Arab rulers have not evolved any public institutions, intellectual think-tanks or Islamic system of governance to enhance Islam as a way of life. They view Islam as their enemy. This is what is commonly shared between the Arab rulers and the Western dominated policies carried out in the Arab Middle East. But if the Arabs wanted to reclaim honor and success, the formula is well defined by the Holy Quran: “You are the best people raised for the good of mankind, to invite to the righteousness and forbid evil and you believe in Allah.” If they had practiced it, whether they pumped the God-given oil out of the earth or no oil, they would have been honorable and successful. Imagine, with all the wealth and splendid palaces and borrowed time and space, not one is a leader, not one has the moral and intellectual capacity to play any rational character or can do anything for the good of the Muslims or the Arab culture. The Arab people once again are being morally and intellectually coming under planned subjugation of the Western ways of thinking, knowledge and system of exploitation and governance. There are too many Western secular educational institutions bombarding the minds and souls of the Arab people day and night. The Arab leaders are happy, people are busy in doing something and there is no herd moving around to disturb their palaces or to question them. The Arab rulers and armies are killing their own people and destroying the traditional ways of life under false pretexts of modernization, linked to oil pumping and nothing else. Syria, Iraq and Yemen appear to be the reckoning models in this context. The Arabs killing the Arabs, their own life and diminishing human dignity for what purpose - nobody can rationally tell the end purpose, nobody can THINK out of the imposed box of triviality and viciousness. They appear to have lost the power of rational thinking that Islam furnished them for ages and helped to facilitate a new world of honor and success. Was the discovery of the “oil” a “fitna” – a conspiracy to destroy the Arab people, their natural thinking - love for freedom, timeless space and the universe, human dignity and their culture?
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in Global Peace. Security and Conflict Management and Comparative Islamic-Western cultures and civilization.
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