A pink taxi

A pink taxi

March 9, 2011

Irreversible Mentality Change





Today's Le Monde had a full page article entitled: "In Paris, the Intelligentsia of Silence." The newspaper was criticizing the passiveness of its own French intellectuals with respect to the present Arab revolutions. Le Monde was openly requesting their input. I cannot claim to be the target of that article, but as an Arab academic myself, I felt inadequate or analytically lazy to have likewise sidestepped the historical upheavals in my part of the world . I must make something of these historical events on my blog.



From my ivory tower, I will not attempt an economic political outlook. This post cannot be considered to be academic either. Had I been at the Fletcher School and my fingers on the pulse of the intellectual debate, I could have tried to build possible scenarios. But I am not living in Tunis, Cairo or Tripoli. My life hasn't changed due to the turbulence that has jolted careers and lifestyles. I want to be cautious in my remarks and will insist that they come from my personal vantage point.





 The Arab world has been shaken. The youth have reclaimed their destiny. With courage and passion, Arabs have made their voices heard over continents and most importantly within their own respective countries. As a result, we, Arabs, will no longer be the laughing stock of the world. When I speak Arabic to my children in Geneva, it is no longer defiantly but with pride.



Respect is what the Arabs have earned. They have taken their destiny in their own hands and have earned their freedom themselves, without the assistance of the  traditional superpowers. These are revolutions without ideologues. A simple search  for freedom. The people have been courageous enough to revolt now, to express their opposition to their tyrants and their unity with their compatriots, to vent their frustrations, and to advance their suggestions.

Revolutions are boisterous and chaotic by nature so we must now wait for the last embers to die out, so that the talented technocrats may come forward and bring in  real change. I can be sure of one thing: Creativity will be the outcome of this passage to freedom. The energy and dynamism that accompanied the struggle will translate into a desire to write, paint, sing and sculpt the strong emotions.

I look forward to what may lie ahead.





6 comments:

  1. Dear blogger,

    You summed up the situation perfectly with the title: "Irreversible Mentality Change." The international community and the Arabs themselves are currently stuck in limbo not fully understanding what hit them. I don't doubt that most are positively excited about the unfolding events but most have been caught unprepared, not knowing how to react. As Arabs, we have ourselves to blame as we overslept by over 500 years. A revolution does not happen in a vaccum. Change will follow. I really look forward to it. Because a revolution without change is meaningless. As my father in law summed it best recently: "My grandson will walk through any airport in the West with his head held up!"

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  2. Want to add a quote to my previous comment: "Sometimes decades pass and nothing happens; and then sometimes weeks pass and decades happen."

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  3. inshallah khair...

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  4. Beautiful entry Yazz. I'm glad you touched upon this topic. This euphoria that is sweeping the arab world is something we Arabs are not accustomed to. And what a welcome change from the acceptance of the usual crooks who have suppressed the lives of millions. Inshallah the youth will take this movement to transforming the region to a place we can all be proud of for many decades to come.

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  5. Where are the Arab intelligentsia…? The euphoria has stopped in Cairo, and has been replaced with fear (this week has been the most violent & dangerous week so far). Years of repression & suppression by the Mubarak regime seem to have eradicated the ability of individuals to guide themselves, the effects of which are being compounded by the misunderstanding of the meaning of democracy and confusing it with anarchy. We are at a crossroads, one determining when Egypt will be back on its feet, and how long & painful the journey will be. The country needs guidance & leadership……..the time has come for the grownups to take charge and for the Egyptian academics & intelligentsia to lead the way forward……….where are they?

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  6. Until my early twenties,I belonged to the generation of aspiring Arab nationalists.Yet,we were woken up by the realities on the ground in June 1967,so we foresaked the political arena,and got busy with making a living.
    With the advent of Sadat and Mubarak,we became a generation of whisperers,looking behind our necks whenever a political crisis appeared in the horizon.The feel of defeat and acceptance was compounded after 9/11 in that we as Arabs started whispering whenever we were in the West,so that we will not be considered as terrorists,an ugly word coined by the Israelis to define any Arab or Moslem all the same.
    In a moment where all the dictators were in a deep slumber,completely unaware of the rise of a new Facebook/Twitter generation,the Arab Tsunami took everyone by surprise,even the kids of April 6 Movement in Egypt did not dream about how successful their nation's awakening would be.

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