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Thursday , October 6 2022

Dabeshlim, asking Bidpai: Where is the escape route of a man with many enemies approaching from all sides?

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WHEN a corrupt person becomes the center of control, he surrounds himself with those he likes in an effort to consolidate his power among the followers by obtaining the privileges of the power he has acquired.

Usually such a person begins by weaving a network of people who form a deep state through which he works to perpetuate his power and dominance in state institutions. Based on that, the more enemies and opponents he has, the more his network confronts them. This is a deep state of terrorism, until they assume that its leaders have become masters of all.

These people did not realize that what goes around comes around, and that every era has its authority and men. Vanity takes them to the abyss of destruction, just as is the case of the cat and mouse in “Kalila wa Dimna”.

King Dabeshlim once told the philosopher Bidpai, “Tell me a story of a man who has many enemies approaching from all sides, and they are all about to finish him”.

Philosopher Bidpai replied, “Enmity is not always perpetual, for sometimes hatred changes into love and love changes into hatred. The wise one prepares for everything that might happen as a result of such a transformation in times of need.

A wise person shouldn’t allow the hatred of someone to prevent him from seeking help in terms of need. This is the example of the cat and mouse who reconciled when the need came up. Through that, both of them managed to escape the immediate danger that they were about to experience.

The philosopher proceeds to tell a fable about a cat and a mouse that were both trapped in a situation. The cat was entangled in a hunter’s net and the mouse was afraid that a weasel and an owl lurking near him would devour him.

The mouse proposed an alliance with the cat, claiming that he will free the cat by pretending they are friends and biting through the ropes so that the weasel and owl, both of which are afraid of the cat, will no longer hunt him.

The cat agrees to the plan and manages to execute his part successfully, but in the end, the mouse appears hesitant to keep his end of the deal, something which prompted the cat to inquire.

The mouse then explained that he will only eat off the remaining part of the rope when the cat gets preoccupied with someone else. Immediately the hunter appeared, the mouse bit off the remaining part of the trap and both of them ran away from each other as the hunter approached. The two traditional enemies, who became friends in a time of need, eventually parted forever.

After that, the mouse came out of his hole and saw the cat from afar. The cat called out to him, “O friend, what prevents you from getting close to me, so that I may reward you for the best that you have done for me?”

The mouse answered him, “There is an inner enmity that appears to be friendship, and it is more harmful than outward enmity”.

Then King Dabeshlim realized that the deep state does not hesitate to use everything available to it to get rid of enemies, and that the best thing he can do to reform the state is to cut off those interests, and stop the leaders of the institution of corruption by revealing their tricks to the people who will undoubtedly learn the lesson. This will prevent him and his people from falling into the trap of a cat, mouse, weasel, or owl, and eventually the forest becomes safe for everyone.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times