Is denouncing the invisible God less risky than questioning the slave master?
A friend tells a story about a conversation he had with a “normal” Saudi guy: (not the specimen stuck in pre-civilization times, neither the Gold-Mustang-“Super Cool”-Abu- S3ood guy). In a typical Arabic fashion the conversation dissected the region’s politics and the Arab world crises. Surprisingly, the Saudi guy turned out to be fully convinced that the current king of
The moral of the story: If a higher-educated Arab citizen, who lives in a farm that is toiling under one of the most destructive regimes on earth, would not even acknowledge the Problem, then we are not even close to the Solution.
There is a very ironic and hypocritical aspect about these PanArab meetings that happen at the peoples level (i.e. A bunch of Arabs shooting the breeze at a coffee shop, preferably in a Western country): The whole group agrees on and engages in relentless complaining, criticizing and even cursing of the Arab leadership, as long as there is no explicit references to one’s own “elephant in the room”. You would hear the typical antagonized cries: “The Arab leadership is betraying the people’s aspirations and it is the root cause of all our problems”. “The Arab leaders are traitors, corrupt, immoral, thieves, collaborators, dictators, criminals, illiterates, mentally-challenged……But, by the way..., NOT my guy.”
(Notice that during the high season of leaders bashing (Arab Summits, massacres, insignificant childish disputes,…) it becomes acceptable to go public with the criticism. It becomes fashionable even for the media outlets in some farms to voice the concerns about some deficiencies in the neighboring regimes. But keep in mind that this can still be a risky business, even after it is green-lighted: For if you were one of the reporters/journalists who were late to receive the memo announcing the change of terms (most probably due to a charitable donation of oil, water, cash,…), you could be put on trial for (the bogus count of) “Disturbing the peaceful relationship and threatening the strong ties with a brotherly country”.….[End of tangent]).
The excuses for “my guy” start flying around:
“No one gives to charity more than our guy”. “Our country has a complex demographic and no one can balance it out like our guy”. “Our guy is leading a massive reform process that will correct all the mistakes of his predecessor (which naturally happens to be his father)”. “Our guy is replacing the old guard with a new (dirtier) guard and is uprooting corruption from its deepestsources (one garbage truck at a time)”. “Our guy patrols the street unarmed and unguarded, a la Omar”. “For God’s sake! Our guy is digging us a whole RIVER”. “Our guy prays every freakin Friday and he does it IN THE MOSQUE too”. “Our guy is a visionary in the areas of tourism promotion and animals breeding”. “Our guy is planting trees while fighting terrorism”. “Our guy is a coal-mine worker in the morning, a world-leader in the afternoon, and a family man at night. In his free time he is excelling in 17 different hobbies”.
Of course even with a little exaggeration: (“Our guy is flat out God”), and a little overstretching: (“Our guy dresses well”) one is bound to quickly run out of “good things” to say, so the argument would inevitably switch to the “At-least-our-guy-is-not…” mode that can assume a wide range from childishly sarcastic to straight out creepy.
To quote a few:
[References of these quotes, for the purposes of “constitutional” detention and testicular voltage shocks, are available upon request]
“At least our guy does not dissolve his critics in acid”. “At least our guy is not a French/British/American/Persian agent”. “At least our guy did not trade in his people for a chair”. “At least our guy speaks the language”. “At least our guy did not overthrow his own father and discard him in exile and/or a nut house. “At least our guy is not hosting American bases to back up his throne”. “At least our guy’s mug is not on a Zionist stamp. (On a related note: isn’t it remotely abnormal that the assassinated traitor who broke the Arab unity and signed the first peace treaty does not get a stamp (proposal rejected), while both of Prophet’s Mohammad grandchildren do?)”. “At least our guy let women wear a head cover”. “At least our guy allows women to drive”. “At least our guy is not legally insane, a nymphomaniac, a pedophile, or a degenerate…”
For an observing outsider the situation is so perplexing: “How could such a lovely collection of individuals, end up being such a catastrophe as a group?
But, given the fact that most Arabs exist in the defeated apathetic (mental) state and in societies that have identified its priorities and have completely surrendered to its fate (being destined to make a choice between externally appointed emperors or American/Persian direct occupation), let us adopt the Saudi guy mentality for a second:
The master is the symbol of the nation. He is the face of it and its representative. His decisions are revealed to him from supernatural powers through archangels. All his infallible actions are purpose-driven and aim for the well-being of his livestock. (It remains impossible to imagine how can anyone who is remotely informed and has a slight awareness of the history of our region subscribe to the above statement?!). With all that said, is it blasphemous to demand some answers that could give a false sense of relevancy and control? Even God himself understands that part of the job description is facing some uncomfortable questions every now and then!
For example, is it too much to ask to factor him into the annual national budget? The ignorant Saudi was very excited because the king spends money from his own pocket on the renovation and maintenance of the religious sites. Is it too much to ask to specify what is personal pocket money and what is national resources? After all one of these “business tours” can single handedly and literally reshape the society’s class distribution, cause a significant movement in the poverty line, and start a small industrial zone in an unprivileged area.
Is it too much to ask for a decision making process? An accountability system? A law that applies to emperors and their parasites? Any signs that there is a potential of a country in the horizon?
Actually forget about it. “50 Dollars and winter coats for everybody”… Yaaaay.