No Grass in the Arab world


The murderous Ba’ath regime, which pretended to be the standard bearer of Arab nationalism, is the bloody testimony to the failure of that nationalism.


Salman Masalha || 
No Grass in the Arab world

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came into power in Iran, the well-known Syrian poet Adonis hastened to publish a paean of praise of the Islamic Revolution. Here is what he wrote: “How shall tell Iran of my love /When my words are inadequate to express my sighs?/ How shall I sing to the city of Qom so it will become a firestorm over the Gulf? / The Iranian people is writing to the West / Here is your collapsing face, O West, / O West, here is your dying face.”

For more than a year now Syrian President Bashar Assad has been sending out his army and sowing destruction and reaping death in the cities of Syria. Every day we read about yet another massacre here and more slaughter there. Assad keeps asserting that these things never happened and blames terrorist gangs for the crimes. Apparently he knows whereof he speaks. The crimes are indeed being committed by terrorist gangs – the Shabbiha, the tribal Ba’ath regime’s murderous “combat support” gangs of thugs.

The murderous Ba’ath regime, which pretended to be the standard bearer of Arab nationalism, is the bloody testimony to the failure of that nationalism. This fraud is evident for all to see in the horrors being perpetrated daily throughout Syria. The world, including the part of it called “the Arab word,” continues to sit and do nothing. And the Arab world is waiting for foreign, non-Arab, countries to come and help “our Arab brothers” who are being slaughtered by Arabs.

Ironically, the Syrian poet who wished for the death of the West found nowhere but Paris, in that very same West, to live as a free person. Not too long ago a media storm raged over a poem concerning Iran published by German writer Gunter Grass. The poem, of course, awakened many sleeping dogs. However, as weighed against the Syrian poet it would seem that the balance in fact tips in favor of Grass.

Years ago, before the “Arab spring,” a delegation of writers traveled to Yemen to participate in a conference called “An Arab-German Cultural Dialogue,” with the participation of Grass, the late Mahmoud Darwish, Adonis and others.

The Yemeni president invited the participants to his palace. After greeting the writers in “poor Arabic,” as one of those present at the meeting subsequently related, he announced he was going to award the Yemeni medal of honor to Grass. Grass, however, surprised the president by standing up and declaring he would not be able to accept the award as long as the president did not release a young Yemeni writer who had been arrested for expressing his opinion.

The “Arab” president was in fact very embarrassed, as he was not accustomed to statements like that at such events. However, the consternation should in fact have been the lot of all the Arab writers because by this act the German writer revealed the group of intellectuals in all its worthlessness. Once again it was “the foreigners” who had the courage to come out in defense of their Arab “brothers’” freedom of speech.

Adonis, of course, continues to enjoy the pleasures of Western freedom in the City of Lights. However, his freedom is fraudulent, since he has never internalized the values of freedom. On the contrary, Adonis remains imprisoned in the tribal world from which he comes. We learn this from his thunderous silence about what is happening in the land of his birth, Syria. Again and again he squirms and does not gather the courage to come out against the murderous regime in his country. In an interview he granted recently Adonis went so far as to try to defend the butcher of Damascus. He asserted that France is betraying the values of the French Revolution by supporting the reactionary forces in the Arab world – as though the butcher in Damascus were the paragon of liberty, equality and fraternity.

However, we need only remember that Adonis belongs to Assad’s Alawite tribe in order to understand the root of the evil in the Arab world. The poet’s squirms and evasions in light of the horrors in Syria exemplify his betrayal of the values he pretends to represent. Compared to Grass, Adonis and his ilk are part of the Arabs’ problem and not part of its solution.
*
Published in Hebrew: Haaretz, June 13, 2012
----------

SHARE:
MIDDLE EAST
  • Iran’s Messianic War

    The Islamic revolution, which brought the ayatollahs to power in Iran, awakened messianic demons from their sleep. The rulers dreamed of a greater Iran and acted to export the revolution beyond their borders.

    The decay in the Arab world

    With great sadness, it can be said that in the absence of a sane civil alternative, the Arab world will continue along this path.

    Read more


  • The Massacre of Arab Nationalism

    It must be admitted that the siege imposed on Gaza ever since Hamas took power there isn’t just an Israeli siege. It’s also an Arab one – because a single Egyptian decision would be enough to break the siege on Gaza’s border with Egypt.

    A Feeble Middle East

    The West learned on its own flesh that this region conducts itself by other codes. Iran has continued to entrench its standing by means of its religious ideology. The toppling of Saddam Hussein shattered the illusion of the existence of a unifying “Iraqi identity” .

    Read more

  • Neither Arab nor Spring

    The vicissitudes that have, for some reason, been collectively dubbed the "Arab Spring" are neither Arab nor Spring. One can say that they are actually living proof of the identity crisis and reverberating bankruptcy of Arab nationalism.

    Read more

ESSAYS
  • Welcome Back to History

    Islam, like other imperialist ideologies, still needs enemies to flourish. Enemies have served Islam in the past as fuel for its wagons. Without enemies Islam declines and stagnates...

    Read more

  • The pit and the pendulum

    In those days, we did not drink four goblets of wine, because everything that gladdens the human heart is not a part of our custom.

    Read more

ISRAEL - PALESTINE
  • Solomon’s Mosque

    Religion, every religion, is the No. 1 enemy of nationalism. But under conditions of tension, such as tribal warfare, these polar opposites combine into a toxic soup that consumes all common sense.

    Read more


  • Never-ending tragedy

    The Israeli right, in all its forms, wants exclusively Jewish control over all of the Land of Israel. To the Palestinians who live in this space, it promises residency – temporary, of course, on condition that they keep their heads down, accept their designated status and behave accordingly.

    Read more
  • Hamas in the service of Israel

    Hamas rule isn’t the enemy of the Israeli right. Au contraire, it’s the loyal servant of all the right-wing governments. Since the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War, all Israeli governments have devoted all their time and energy to fighting the Palestinian national movement

Popular

מיון החומרים

Archive

Selected Topics

CULTURE
  • Martin Niemöller

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the Socialist
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist.


    Read More

  • Salman Masalha

    Beyond my door which faces west
    Lives a woman who'll never rest.

    She likes to tease my nomad soul
    With words she keeps for gloomy fall.
  • Balkrishna Sama

    He who loves flowers, has a tender heart.
    he who cannot pluck their blooms,
    has a heart that's noble.

    Read more

Tags