Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Causes Without Their Subjects

Causes Without Their Subjects

Thursday, 8 April, 2021 - 11:45

Causes only acquire meaning and value once they are part of a grand project that does not take mortals and their short lives on this earth into consideration. Committing to a cause is making daily preparations for something great, something that is beyond people’s ability to understand it and the limits of their comprehension of their daily lives’ fate.

With this inverted logic drawn from the darkness of the past, popular analysts in the Arab Levante and the axis of resistance’s arenas build their arguments: the cause is more important than its subjects because its dangers go beyond them. The Palestinian cause would not be resolved by the Palestinian people obtaining their right to live decent lives on their land. Indeed, it is bigger than that. It embodies the eternal struggle between good and evil, which will come to a head in Jerusalem. Until then, people can be left to die and be humiliated. Any settlement is a betrayal and any negotiation a forfeiture. The misery of the camps’ inhabitants, their illnesses, and poverty are minutiae that do not catch the attention of those who know what is happening behind the scenes or those with foresight.

Syria’s survival is not linked to its people’s repression, the destruction of their neighborhoods, their displacement, or their country’s changing demography… The resistance regime in Damascus’s position in the regional map is where it should be, not where its residents want it to be. This map is drawn by those defending their authority, negotiating with their enemies, and spreading ignorance, chaos, and darkness in order to make their sick vision for the world a reality.

This inverted logic empties the issue of its contents and the cause of its substance, turning things into statues to be worshiped and offered sacrifices, nothing new in our countries. The conflict over priorities and meaning, which can be summed up in the radical disagreement about the value of human life and its centrality to politics, the economy, society, and culture, has not ended yet. Instead, unfortunately, it is quickly regressing towards new paganism that raises slogans of “jihad” and great causes.

An example of this can be seen in the tweet of a political science professor at the Lebanese University, Sheikh Sadiq Al-Nabulsi. In it, he belittles the significance of the afflictions the Lebanese have been facing and considers them a distraction from more critical issues. “Shifting public attention away from real issues towards marginal issues: Egypt: moving antique statues from Luxor to Tahrir Square - Lebanon: The price of a dollar ... a loaf ... gasoline ... blackouts.” (If the political science professor had given it a minute of his time, he would have noticed that mummies, not “antique statues,” were transferred; and they were transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in the city of Fustat and that Luxor is hundreds of kilometers away from both the site the mummies were taken from and the place they were taken to, but this is not what we are concerned with here).

This tweet sums up a pompous stance on the issues that concern ordinary people: to care about the price of foreign currencies- which determines your salaries’ value and your purchasing power, thus what your children will eat and whether or not you can feed and clothe them- is to fall into a trap that diverts public opinion from the real issues that inevitably preoccupy Sheikh Nabil, who does care for trivialities like bread, gasoline, and electricity.

In all likelihood, the latter only concern plebs who give worldly concerns precedence over their obligations to causes whose prioritization and importance are determined by erudite men who, in their kinship and their university degrees, are of the top brass of the party whose secretary-general announced that its members are still being paid in hard currency.

The issue is not limited to emptying causes of their content to ensure permanent control and indisputable, unquestionable authority. Rather, it goes as far as being an enchanted perception of the meanings of the causes themselves, a perception based on causes’ links to an intentions are not articulated whose causes and motives that are impossible to understand, just like the Lebanese do not understand why Hezbollah defends corruption, disrupts all attempts at reform, and labels treacherous anyone who dare to challenge the criminal political elite that caused the destruction of Beirut, killing hundreds of innocents. The same applies to Gazans, who see Hamas authorities are doubling down and adding to their missile arsenal, which is being reinforced without any ideas on how to end the suffering caused by the deadly Israeli blockade or to fight the occupation. This is the case for all the stagnant causes that discussing is forbidden, as is criticizing the actions that bring calamities to the causes’ subjects. These prohibitions are imposed instead of rational ways to solve the issues and resolving them in the subjects’ favor.

The significance of the Sheikh’s rhetoric does not stem from whom he is as a person but its alignment with a narrative and behavior that contributed strongly to destroying any assessment that can oversee the future and further the interests of the region’s peoples. Indeed, they are leading these peoples to centuries of schisms.

Other opinion articles

Editor Picks