Saturday, September 02, 2006
Heretical Correspondences (Part 1)!
…If our leftwing intellectuals think of themselves as the walking martyrs of the modern Arab cause, and the last standard bearers of the values of true social justice and true cultural integrity, however they define truth and integrity, and if this stand of theirs should get them some popular sympathy someday, though I won’t hold my breath, we, the liberal intellectuals, I mean the really liberal intellectuals, the ones who are too secular even for socialist tastes and too concerned with individual rights to accommodate any faith, are simply-put the modern-day scarecrows and ghouls who will be despised by one and all long into the future even if, no, especially if time ended up proving us right.
We have become simply too cut off from our alleged cultural roots to be understood and appreciated. Indeed, people simply don’t understand why we insist on claiming that we are still Arabs, although, we no longer subscribe to that ethos of vainglory and victimhood that has long become part and parcel of modern Arab identity. To them, modern Arab identity is a faith, a very defined faith, with its own values system, its own moral code, its own esoteric teachings even that only the initiates can learn and appreciate through some sort of refurbished catechisms. There is no room for introspection here, only the illusion thereof. And we are damned because we can no longer share that illusion.
We have become too liberal to continue to remain victims to this particular illusion. We have become too liberal to fit in the national vision and plan of all the rest – the leftists, the Islamists, the regimes, the powers-that-be, and the powers-that-simply-can-never-be.
Meanwhile, it is clear that our own vision for the region, which, contrary to popular beliefs and perceptions, does not consist of a simple act of copy-and-paste of all things western, is in itself too esoteric to be fulfilled in our lifetimes. For modernity has already been exported/imported, in all its western glory, all that remains is for it to be thoroughly assimilated. Considering the state of the product being digested, and the very state of our digestive system these days, the process is bound to be quite difficult and painful.
So, the best that we can ever be at this stage is to be the perennial fly in the ointment of all the rest, and hope that by sheer sweat, and some blood perhaps, we can start some new fermentation process that can spark the advent of it all. And we might just end up being the true awaited messiahs. Indeed, we can never be too liberal for the Messiah Complex, and that is why we still care about the region, and that is why we are still Arabs, the new Arab faith notwithstanding.