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Opinion

Ambassadors of the Dark

Terrorism

I initially wanted to write about June 05, 1967. I wanted to discuss the half century of degeneration from the Naksa to the Nakba we are drowninng in today.

This Nakba is more horrific than that we witnessed after Palestine was occupied.

I was planning to talk about what “historic leaders” did and how their escapades ended with the dissipation of nations and their wealth. They killed every promising idea and chance and left the people out in the open to face bigots who dream of taking the nation back to the stone age.

I meant to address the delusion of trans-border leadership and its expensive termination. I also intended to discuss republics that collapsed because of fear, the brutality of regimes that gambled with the fate of lands and its people, millions of displaced civilians living in refugee camps with their hungry children, hundreds of prisoners rotting in jails.

I wanted to share the experience of three of my friends on how the Naksa affected their lives. My Libyan friend said that the present is far more dangerous than the past. The youngsters who witnessed the series of civil wars initiated by the “Arab Spring” will turn into ticking bombs in the Arab nations, he added.

He believes that the disappointment of moderate Arabs is deeper than when people discovered half a century ago that the war is not going as the “Voice of Arab” radio station stated or what its famous anchor Ahmad Said reported.

My Iraqi friend said he was deeply saddened and at loss, with a feeling like a delusional disbelief. Yet, he said, he felt a sense of a challenge which prompted him to participate in the protests despite the fact that he had been in hiding since his release from prison.

He explained the role of Baath Party in persecuting every different opinion and slaughtering and arresting the opposition.

Nonetheless, my Syrian friend was very brief. He just said that the Naksa of 1967 caused pains far less than the current one.

I decided on Sunday morning to write about the Naksa turned into Nakba. Things have changed. London was enjoying a beautiful weather which doubled its magic. I left my office on Saturday night to the center of the city hoping I could steal away something of this short and swift Spring night.

People were clearly enjoying the beautiful weather. That’s the normal thing for cities that have bid farewell to tragedies of civil wars and opted for elections to express content or discontent. The British are getting ready for Thursday’s election.

All of sudden, shortly after 10 PM, police and ambulance sirens filled the air, and a few minutes later, it was confirmed that the city was attacked by a lone wolf or a group of wolves. Everyone was in shock, especially that Manchester attack happened only recently.

The news about the stabbing and rampage were on all cellphones and restaurant goers cut their visit short. I, as an Arab, had a strange feeling of guilt. Every time a similar incident occurs, we all wish the executor weren’t an Arab or a Muslim. But our wishes are always crushed by the fact that these incidents seem to be limited to the world we belong to.

I felt like apologizing.

Courtesy aside, these European countries welcomed millions of Arabs and Muslims who escaped poverty, injustice, and depression and were, in fact, kinder to them than our own countries.

Europe aimed to integrate the newcomers into its communities and economy and granted them the right to be different and respected their beliefs. It gave them money from taxpayers and enrolled their children in modern education.

I am saying this because I monitored closely how Germany was busy welcoming the Syrian refugees where one of them expressed his joy for arriving at a country where he can find his three daily meals.

The tragedy is horrific indeed. Over the past decades, darkness took over: an ideology that doesn’t acknowledge others and insists on eliminating or killing them. A creed provoked by lit streets, cultural occasions, freedom and creativity, scientific research and posing complicated questions.

A doctrine that considers anyone different as the enemy who deserves to be stabbed, rammed, or slaughtered.

Worse than that tragedy are those looking for justifications for the perpetrator, citing what this country did or what history wrote as if we haven’t done any transgressions ourselves. The situation can no longer bare justifications or silence.

Terrorists have inflicted far more damages to the West than they have done to our countries. Arabs and Muslims should take a clear stand for the sake of their countries and their grandchildren.

A comprehensive battle against extremism should be the first article in the constitution of every Arab and Islamic nation. Without winning this battle, we will continue our fall towards hell.

We do not have the right to punish the world like this.

Ambassadors of the dark’s obdurate actions will sooner or later backfire at the Arab and Islamic community and the countries they came from.

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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