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Posted on: February 21st, 2015 No Comments

The Lion & the Chess Board

It surely is an atrocious depiction the photo content capturing the Middle East today. More lives depart than live, more bloodshed, havoc and mayhem present than the embracement of love, growth and development, and more people march to mistier pictures thinking the west are openly and earnestly presenting hands and gestures of help with no returns. So what do these hypnotized people do? They amble in tomorrow’s future which was yesterday’s past and today’s present thinking the sun will rise towards a halcyon horizon on their part. What they have missed is that they have been checkmate when they entered the game in the first place. In simple lexes: losing the sovereignty over their country leading to an avalanche of system, security and peace in the region for years and years to come.

For it is entering an inextricable maze when one thinks how easily smiles in photos are prevailed by the most refined western politicians to be bought by the un-refined, subduable Arabs who have forgotten the wisdom of their 10th century poet, Al-Mutanabbi, when advising, “If you see the canine of a line, do not think that the lion is smiling at you.” Very soon therefore, the lion will paws restlessly at everything that was formerly owned by the Arabs, roaring the closing of the curtain, to indicate the ending of the theatrical play. Perhaps it is better for one to leave their seat in the audience and travel back in history and time to understand how, firstly, the Middle East realm that were united in the Arab peninsula, got divided into lands and boarders.

One, consequently, would discover through the work of historians who Virginia Woolf points out “records not opinions but facts,” that the west had put their hands on this as well through their secret accord of Sykes-Picot agreement which was conducted in May 1916 between Great Britain, France and with the consent of Russia, for the detriment of the Ottoman Empire. The existence of this was diffused to the world through the break of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

What this agreement wanted to accomplish is gaining power and control over the Middle East and its surrounding lands. The French were to be given control over Syria, Lebanon, South-Eastern Turkey, and northern Iraq; whereas the British were content with owning power over Southern Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, Arabia, and areas surrounding the Persian Gulf. Jerusalem on the other hand, was to be ruled by an international body. One needs to clarify that these two western powers didn’t ‘own’ these territories in the sense of the word, but controlled the governments and its administration (achieving the division of the area: dividing based on economic factors) and thus, one is permitted to use this term, in this context.

Consequently, one is required to learn about their past for a better understanding of their future. To divine this future would be exemplified through the study of history which roots through the blossoming of remembrance.

Herodotus, “whom Cicero called pater historiae,” embraced the task of history Arendt writes, in order “to save human deeds from the futility that comes from oblivion.” Should Arabs remember their past accordingly would elevate their status from that of oblivious to a more dynamic one approaching ahead start to the chess board, relishing the only wining strategic plan, while maintaining the safety of their king (territory) throughout the game and managing to tame the bitter, savage, greedy lion.

I would like to acquaint the reader that our current lion, if I’d borrow from Richard Steele, would “groan under life, and bewail those who are believed from it.” But, is the lion to be blamed? Not exactly I would say, for the Arab societies compose of such individuals Gayle Pemberton, warned to be aware of. Individuals with no memory of their past and whom are powerless to connect pervious events and current ones to future acts, who would wake up to scratch the same mistakes yet another time. These communities I would say with utmost confidence are the mileage of ignorance, lacking premonition to posterity, for they unfortunately took the acidic bait in what they called “The Arab Spring.”

Spring (Aniksi) – a war term was firstly used by Herodotus in The Persian Wars where in book seven (POLYMNIA) Gelo talks of the lack of order recipients (from the Athenian men) even if there is commanders to give orders, telling them that “ye had best make haste back to Greece, and say that the spring of her year is lost to her.” What this conveys is that Gelo’s troops are compared to spring (beginning of summer and is the finest season of the year) transmitting the meaning that his troops are the premium of the Greek army and a deprivation of his coalition would be like a year, the spring, is executed and drawn from it. “Arab Spring” therefore is the beginning of the end of hope for pure revolution and an end to the foundation of progress in the region, where no flower blooms, no tree grows and night refuse the recuperation of dawn.

One would walk into isolated roads reminiscent of previous decisions and remember that at the approach of these decisions, there were two voices communicating with equivalent power in their mind: one rational speaking which studies the reasons behind the west need and urge to help peoples living in far lands and inform of the realization that should they accompany that flow would driven them into floods of regret and live with the understanding that they have sold their country freely, with no worth of charge earned; for this torrent flood they have engaged in, no human power could save them from it. The other voice speaks with passion and converses of the urge one needs to consider in their memory, of the deprived years they have had experienced thus far in surrendering to dictatorship and looks for but a hole of escape. Perhaps in the peaceful silent moment one holds between themselves would bend towards the first one, but within their Arabic society they would conform to believe in the latter, thinking they’d have power over their country in embracing liberalization, which in turn they believe, would secure happiness.

But, what is power if not a mere word one assumes understands. Leo Tolstoy asked a long time ago in War and Peace “What is the cause of historical events? Power (he says). What is power (then)? Power is the sum total of wills transferred to one person. On what condition are the wills of the masses transferred to one person? On condition that the person express the will of the whole people. That is, power is power. That is, power is a word the meaning of which we do not understand.” In the arena and principle of International Relations or politics, possessing power (a word a meaning of which no one truly comprehends) is the force dominating all states, even if it brings with it corporeal suffering and winter solstice all year long.

Thucydides asks if the relations between states could be directed by principles/norms of justice, when power is an important factor to be considered. If we look at the lion or lions governing us today, the answer to Thucydides question would exclude the word justice and replace it with sadism. For both Politics and International Relations for that matter are governed by egoistic and languid individuals exacting more power with absence of moral values. These factors therefore present “a conflict-based paradigm of international relations” where power develops into the solstitial concern and where there is little, to no residue of morality.

Does this overwhelming idea and enforcement of power provide happiness? Graham Greene, according to Shirley Hazzard, converse on happiness saying, “point me out the happy man and I will point you out either egotism, selfishness, evil- or else an absolute ignorance”. Flaubert like Greene also felt that “to be stupid, selfish, and have good health, are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.” Now a day is no difference which hurts me to say, that happiness is achieved when one holds a blind eye to the pure truth, is ignorant of the lion and its plans, and approaches the chess board thinking it would provide ecstasy of mere moments of happiness.

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