Friday, May 26, 2006

The Activists as Pariahs!

Yes, we, human rights and democracy activists, are nothing but pariahs. If there is anybody that is going to deliver mayhem it is indeed us. Not the Assads. Not the Baathists. Not the Islamists. But us, US, for all our pacifist liberal tendencies.

For we are the ones who are upsetting the natural order of things in our world, where rulers rule unencumbered by any strict laws regulating their behavior, regardless of what the law books might say of course, and where the ruled accept to live according to the whimsy of their rulers, for the consequences of rebelliousness, of rocking the boat no matter how gently, or so they are always told, can often be far worse than putting up with the dictates of the rulers, no matter how unfair, unjust and downright wrong. The generosity of the rulers will always have to suffice. For who is man to tempt fate?

But that has always been my job, I thought. I still think - tempting fate, even at the risk of tragedy for all around me.

After all, have I not caused my family much angst and distress all through my life, from back when I was still an extremist Muslim until the day when I turned liberal? Haven’t my utterances and stances just led to the forced dislocation of my family with all the difficulties involved with that? Have I not left a worried and lonely mother back home, with a lot of team members who put their confidence me, who still put their confidence in me?

Indeed I have. And I can no longer feel guilty about it. I cannot live by somebody else’s inherited values and principles. So, I will rock the boat. I will be the outcast, the heretic and the pariah, if need be. If that’s who I am then, that’s who I am. I am going to turn 40 next week, and if I can’t accept who I am at this age, then I am in serious trouble.

And so, I am not going to deliver democracy and reform to “my” people. That is not really my job. I am just going to give them a chance to take a real hard look at themselves then suffer the consequences of that. And if they don’t like it, that is, if they ended up not liking what they see, or the entire process of forced introspection, then they are quite free and more than welcome to hate me for it. But I am going to do it even if it felt like rape, for both of us.

Yes, I am indeed willing to do my part, no matter how small, in setting a certain people free, even if their first free act is to lynch me and the likes of me while shouting God Protect Syria and Allahu Akbar.

But I am not a martyr by nature by any means, so, I don’t necessarily intend to make the particular job easy for those concerned. I just concede the possibility of having to deal with a situation like that one of those days, not to far in the future perhaps.