The “Arab Mindset” and the Art of Evasion and Self-Deception

By Dr. Abdul Hamid al-Ansari

Translation by Tony Badran (The Middle East Democracy Digest of The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies)

Al-Bayan (UAE)
August 1, 2005
Web site: http://www.albayan.ae/servlet/Satellite?cid=1122634847481&pagename=Albayan%2FArticle%2FFullDetail&c=Article

The world has changed drastically, but we haven't. We refuse change and resist it. All the developments on the international scene have not been able, so far, to push the “Arab mindset” to reform and revise its practices. Neither have the series of Arab defeats succeeded in bringing the “Arab mindset” towards self-criticism and review. Instead, it has only become more adept at maneuvering and wiggling.

Bitter defeats suffered for half a century under authoritarian revolutionary regimes, successive terrorist operations and the suffering of Arab peoples combined have not sufficed to change the Arab mindset! It remains intransigent and stubborn, be it in its “nationalist” or “religious” façade. It continues to maneuver and deceive – itself and its adherents.

After every terrorist act, the same old faces pop up and repeat the same broken record: “the Mossad,” “Zionism,” “America,” “international conspiracies!” Don't they get tired or bored!? What did we do for the satellite stations to torment us with these obsessed people, haunted by the demons of Zionists!?

Who do we think we are that the world would mobilize to conspire against us!? Is it because of oil - a resource that many others possess? Or is it because they are terrified of our awesome powers!? Why would the rest of the world conspire against us, when it is us who need them and not the other way round? The “Arab mindset” has become immune to change, having mastered the art of evasion, trickery, and self-deception in the face of all the challenges that lie ahead before we can overcome our depressing situation.

The imagination of the “Arab mindset,” and its ability to avoid responsibility, have reached a level such that when confronted with a terrorist act that takes place in “our” realm or in that of the “others,” it adopts one of two positions:

1- Someone else did it. Why? Because “a Muslim wouldn't do such a thing”: the pious, fasting “Dervishes” don't possess such abilities! The terrorist who lies in the caves of Afghanistan does not possess the means, tools or advanced technologies to strike America! Therefore, it must be the work of “international intelligence services” and the “Zionist gangs” in an effort tarnish the image of Islam and occupy Muslim lands, to perpetuate their hegemony and rob Muslim resources.

Hence, “the Mossad” is claimed to be behind the bombings in the US, Madrid, London, and most recently, Sharm el-Sheikh. And America is the one supposedly killing innocent [civilians] and children in Iraq in order to provide a reason to continue the occupation! For examples of this type of prevailing thought, simply consult the survey conducted by the Kuwaiti Al-Watan on the reactions of Egyptians after the bombings in Sharm el-Sheikh. The main headlines were: “Blood floods the city of peace. Egyptians accuse the Mossad." Or, “The planning and support are Israeli. The execution is by Arab Israelis.” When Al-Qaeda's fingerprints on the attacks were confirmed, and the style was found to be identical to the Taba bombings, Egyptian experts appeared on satellite stations and claimed the existence of “Zionist-American fingerprints behind the attacks on Sharm el-Sheikh.” (As-Siyasah, 7/27).

Small wonder then that one of the main figures of charity work in Kuwait declared after the London bombings that the perpetrators were either “the Mossad” or “the US secret services.” And this sheikh will never apologize, even if he's shown to be wrong. Why would he, when “the great teacher” Haykal [former editor of Al-Ahram, Muhammad Hassanein] still insists that 9/11 was the work of “Yugoslav Serbs”?

Those who accused “the Mossad” and “the US secret services” of being behind the 9/11 attacks maintain that stance and haven't budged an inch, despite al-Qaeda's confessions, or the celebrations by its sympathizers last year in London in memory of the “Magnificent 19,” as they called the leaders of 9/11 bombings, or the 9/11 committee's investigations over three years that confirmed who the perpetrators were and their accomplices. Such is the might of the Arab mindset and its intransigence.

2- The second style of evasion by the “Arab mindset,” aimed at self-defense and self-exoneration, is exemplified by the art of “justification.” In this domain, the “Arab mindset” has reached its peak. Behold a few samples: after the tragedy of 9/11, the Arab justification was that it happened because of “unjust and foolish American policies in the region. America is paying for its mistakes.” After the London bombings, the Arab analysis held “it was because of Britain's presence in Iraq. London has paid the price of its invasion of Iraq.” After the murder of the Egyptian Ambassador in Iraq, one of the frequent guests of the satellite stations said, “it was because Egypt has angered the Iraqi resistance.” Meanwhile, the view of the Egyptian opposition was that it happened “because the Egyptian government bowed to America.” After Sharm el-Sheikh, the Muslim Brotherhood's analysis reached new heights when they said that the murder happened because of colonialist policies adopted by the major powers, explaining that past colonial aggression gave birth to violence [in Egypt].

They forget that the “culture of violence” is an essential part of the heritage and literature of groups and organizations just like the Muslim Brotherhood. The early behavior of these organizations in the 1930s and 1940s bears witness to that. Some of the leaders of these groups deceive themselves, and others, when they forget the role of their own organizations in spreading violence in Arab societies, and blame others.

How can they overlook the fact that the culture of violence is familiar and acceptable in our lives, be it in family upbringing, education, social practice, or legislation? Our history is full of violence, from the Kharijites through the Umayyads and continuing on after them. Who are these people trying to fool? Those who say: “America has lost the war on terrorism because it has provoked it, thus creating hundreds of terrorists” -- who are they trying to fool? We are the losers, not America! Terrorists are the products of our societies, which breed violence and ostracism (takfir). America didn't create them. The terrorists provoke the United States first, in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Yemen, and that wasn't enough, so then they attacked it on its own soil. Should the American giant just sit by and watch?

Why all the evasion and deception? How long must we endure the manipulation of public consciousness and the blaming of others?

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