A QUESTION lingers: What has changed about Arabs over the last century in terms of how things were during the Ottoman Empire which ruled for around 400 years?
Did Arabs benefit from their experiences, at least during half of the last century, or they still have the habit of destroying what they built and rebuilding it in a disfigured manner – worse than the previous condition?
Today, if someone reads what Abdul-Rahman Ibn Khaldoun wrote in his prolegomena known as, “The Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldoun,” concerning the condition of collapsing countries and then turn to the current reality of Arabs; he will definitely not find a major difference between the past and the present we are living in with all its bitterness.
About 700 years ago, Ibn Khaldoun highlighted his theory about the collapsing State where fear prevails, people resort to sectarianism, surprises emerge, rumors spread, a friend becomes an enemy, an enemy becomes a friend, and the voice of falsehood mutes the voice of truth.
For instance in Kuwait, the so-called ‘religious awakening’ prevailed in the last four decades through which ideas of fanatic groups infiltrated the society. The main objective of such groups was to control the State and mould it in accordance with their opinion.
As a result, voices of intimidation and humiliation of people’s dignity were raised; whereas the groups of those who appointed themselves as custodians of the society and religious intercessors gave passes to paradise to whoever adopted their plans, and passes to hell to whoever opposed them.
At that stage, “Suspicious faces surfaced and affable faces disappeared,” as written by Ibn Khaldoun, until the mask was removed from surly faces to expose the false serpent that trades in values and distorted the communal trend when he held sway in education.
He turned it into a profitable good so much that “soothsayers increased through brainwashing. Dreams were shattered and hopes died, while tribal loyalty became stronger. As for loyalty to the nation, it was a kind of hallucination while the voices of leaders were lost amid the noise of preachers and loyalty auctions; in addition to the concepts of nationalism, patriotism, belief and fundamentals of religion.”
These are the facts written by Ibn Khaldoun whose reality we live today. National unity has been declining as “people from the same house hurl allegations of treachery against one another, while rumors on the massive escape spread. They engage in conspiracies. Every Tom, Dick and Harry utter exhortations, initiatives emanate from far and near, the powerful is concerned with his belongings, the rich focuses on his wealth, and everybody is in a situation of preparedness and anticipation.”
We do not exaggerate if we imply that the sole error which Kuwait is responsible for is handing over its leadership to the group that has deviated from all national values. They worked throughout the past four decades to snatch the society and push people to the point of frustration over the future. They rode on the wave of incitement when the control gateway was closed, so they came out in November 2011 to announce the so-called ‘Arab Spring.’ They wanted Kuwait to serve as the launching pad in the Gulf, so they began to commit crimes against Kuwaitis through demonstrations and attempts to destabilize internal security. They violated the Constitution when their leaders, unfortunately, were supposed to be legislators who should be role models to others in abiding by the Constitution, not violating it.
I wish that those who evaded justice by escaping to Turkey read the words of Ibn Khaldoun and see the situation in Kuwait for them to assist in rescuing the country from falling into such a trap. It is unfortunate that they were adamant in deviating from the truth, while they used all they planted when they were in control of education as products of extremism. They misled the youths who were our hope in building a nation that befits kind people.
Instead of preserving the rule of law, they worked hard to defy it. Instead of respecting public institutions, they stormed the National Assembly building as if they were declaring the fall of democracy; considering they worked under its umbrella to satisfy their mean desires. They attacked the judiciary and tried to make it submissive but they failed.
On the other hand, the authorities dealt with them so kindly. They were given the opportunity to defend themselves in court for seven and a half years. If they committed such a crime in a country ruled by a regime similar to that of where they are staying at present, they would have been in jail with tough penalties or even executed.
They deceived many youths and led them to prison while they escaped, thanks to their parliamentary immunity. Now, they are free in that country where they could instigate the youths to act against governance and national institutions. Actually, an excerpt from the poem of poet Abbasi is applicable to them – “When he meets you, he takes the oath that he trusts you; however, once he is away, you discover that he is nothing but a poisonous scorpion.”
In light of the aforementioned poetry, we have to consider those seeking amnesty. They also reflect what Saleh Bin Abdulqudous said: “You hear sweet words from him but he is as sly as a fox.”
In fact, they seek a target which brings misfortune to Kuwait. Thus, those who fled from Kuwait will be back as heroes in case they obtain amnesty. Unquestionably, they will be back to their old crimes in order to accomplish the schemes of the terrorist organization – Muslim Brotherhood – which committed horrible crimes in Egypt and many other Arab countries; in addition to causing civil war in Syria and other countries.
Undoubtedly, they will not find a country that cares for them like their own country. I do not expect Turkey to risk its relations with Kuwait and refuse to hand them over in case Kuwait demands for it. They will not find any other way but to be submissive to the judiciary if they are really seeking reform.
God bless Ibn Khaldoun. The West followed his advice, while the Arabs who share his language did not read his books in order to learn that history repeats itself but this time the repetition is a farce.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times