Being Arab by Samir Kassir

By Samir Kassir

Earlier than his assassination in 2005, Samir Kassir was once one in all Lebanon’s most effective public intellectuals. In Being Arab, a thought-provoking review of Arab identification, he calls at the humans of the center East to reject either Western double criteria and Islamism so one can take the long run into their very own palms. Passionately written and brilliantly argued, this rallying cry for swap has now been heard through thousands.

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Further proof of Arab impotence lies in the even more mortifying realization that if any opposition could have delayed the American occupation, it wouldn’t have come from the ‘Arab masses’ but from the international civil society being put in place by the antiglobalization, or alterglobalization, movement, in which Arabs have only a very minor role. And even if the difficulties the American occupation is encountering have rekindled a certain nationalist fervour, those gratified by these developments know that they cannot count on any internal or regional assistance, only on their adversary’s democratic capacity to affect policy.

For whether if is or is no longer a foreign agent, Islamism still reinforces the Other. In justifying, or enacting, the clash of civilizations, it gives supporters of the crusade their rationale and enables the West to use all the means afforded it by its technological capabilities to maintain its supremacy over the Arabs, and thereby to perpetuate Arab powerlessness. II A DEEP SENSE OF MALAISE PERMEATES EVERY CORNER OF THE ARAB WORLD SOME PEOPLE IN Europe, and even in the Arab world, might consider the picture I have painted of the Arab malaise as itself a sign of the crisis, in so far as its presupposition of a global Arab entity smacks of pan-Arabism.

Whether complicit, opportunistic or a matter of their biding their time, their stance on American intervention arose from the conviction that the change Arab societies so badly need will not come from the people of the region: it can only be brought about with foreign assistance. But once provided, this assistance will not necessarily be empowering. Only those deluded enough to think that they are influencing events in their capacity as Eastern ‘experts’, or local informants, can fail to acknowledge that for better and for worse it is the victor, and the victor alone, who makes all the decisions.

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