When conscience dies, a donkey leads the caravan and then countries collapse

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IT seems that the fall in the Arab world is completing its course, but the authorities in all its corners are not concerned about the fate of their people. They forget that their people’s fate is also the fate of the decision-makers who made a mistake from the start by putting a wrong man in the highest position, and told people to follow him.

Hence, more than 430 million people fell into the trap of ruin and backwardness. Ignorance prevailed after education turned into a commodity, and research centers specialized in decoding spells, finding lost things, and restoring lost love, while weapons overflow in armories, medicines become scarce, and capitals migrate abroad, and yet the fire of disputes asks for more.

The current Arab reality reminded me of the story of the shepherd, who wanted to make amends with his livestock as he felt his death approaching. He stood in front of his sheep and asked them to forgive him. He said, “I used to milk you, cut your wool, and sell you for slaughter”.

The big ram replied, “Don’t worry about it. We were created for this purpose”.

The shepherd then went to the camels and asked them to forgive him, saying, “I tired you a lot in the desert, and I used to carry weights on you and ride your backs. And whoever among you grows or becomes weak, I sell him or eat his flesh”.

The big camel replied, “Don’t worry. This is our duty for which we were created, but we do not forgive you for one thing only”.

The shepherd asked, “What is it?” and the camel replied, “You always put the donkey in the front of the caravan, and this annoys us a lot and reduces our prestige”.

The camel’s answer prompted me to recall what Abdul Rahman bin Khaldun wrote around 690 years ago about the collapse of states, as if he was reading from the future of the Arabs, a future that we have reached today.

Ibn Khaldoun wrote in his famous “Prolegomena” (Muqaddimah) at the time, “When nations fall, many astrologers, beggars, hypocrites, pretenders, scribes, cacophony singers and average poets appear, as well as agitators, mouthpieces, palm readers, horoscopes, revelers, politicians, meddlers, satirists and opportunities too.

Terror reigns under such conditions, people seek refuge in sects, rumors prevail, friends turn into enemies, and enemies into friends, false becomes true, true voices fade, suspicious faces appear on the surface, and sociable faces disappear, dreams become scarce, hope dies, the sane grows more alienated, and facial features are lost.

People become more attached to their tribes and to homelands such that it will be a form of delirium. The voice of the sages is lost in the noise of preachers and the outbidding of the concepts of nationalism, patriotism, belief and the fundamentals of religion.

People of the same household accuse each other of betrayal. Rumors of a great escape, intrigue and conspiracies become common with advice coming from all ends. Outsiders are planning everything for the locals. And worst of all, the homeland becomes a transit station that everyone is ready to leave”.

This fact is present today in the majority of Arab countries, where authorities suffer from hesitation in decision-making and fear of every outcry. These authorities have turned concerns into fears, and are far from certainty because they originally lost the ability to distinguish between right and wrong”.

Therefore, it is not surprising that Lebanon, Libya, Iraq and Tunisia collapsed, and that these countries are close to melting. Because the collapse is like a virus, the infection spreads between countries. Hence, it is a possibility that the current silent crises in a number of countries will turn into explosive minefields.

They did not seek to build a state, enhance the capabilities of a society, or even create a comprehensive national identity through which it eliminates sectarianism, tribalism, and regionalism. It also did not work to strengthen its capabilities by relying on its own strengths, instead of waiting for miracles of times gone by.

In this regard, what one of the wise men of the Umayyad Dynasty said about the reasons for the demise of their state may be correct. He said, “We gave great matters to the small people, and small matters we gave to the great. We kept friends away and brought our enemies closer to avoid their enmity. Then friends turned into enemies, but the enemies did not turn into  friends, so we put between extravagance and negligence.”

This outcome can only be reached by those who have hypocritical advisors, who issue fatwas that are not in the interest of the state, but tickles the feelings of the official and makes him flaunt with false pride while emptiness eats up the state.

Therefore, if there is an exit for the Arabs from their miserable reality, the first thing is to put the appropriate official in the right place. A nation, for centuries, used to plot against itself to distance friends and bring the enemies closer. There is no doubt that it will remain this way until the time comes when consciences awaken, and selfishness dies.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 15653 times!

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