In 2012, I participated in writing an anthology entitled: Demanding Dignity. Few days ago, I came across the book again, and started reading the lost hopes and wasted aspirations of Arab activists who dreamt in a better world, including me. I did feel the urge to contact the activists and talk about the current moment, mainly how they are coping with the massive losses we all endured.
Strangely, amidst this ruthless chaos I realized that I passed the phase of despair and anger, I feel hope and despair, I feel movement and stagnation, I feel empathy and apathy, the world of binary concepts and values is tearing my soul apart, and the world of the one path and one god is shattered. We seek a world of an inclusion diverse methods made by singular entities.
The greatness of Arab protests was that people believed in their right of being the stakeholders, there was a sense of normalcy in the unprecedented movements. We saw families participate and children were brought to the protests. It was a celebration of values and love, much different from what the left or “much” democratic countries wanted to see: clear political distinctions. It was the nature and norm against hypocrisy and masks. And what the oppressors took from the people through their scorched land policies was the joy of being a meaningful part of a bigger inclusive ideal. Sounds like what religion supposed to be, but it is not. Religion is what the oppressors want us to believe in, want to impose on us: obedience which is very different from respect; and this will never be forgotten.
We constantly heard Arab ruling junta mocks the uprising against them, mocking the title that we never chosen: “Arab Spring.” They refer to the irony of the name and the destruction and mayhem they themselves brought. They are wrong, the mockery is on them and their actions and not on the uprising of the people who sought they can do better governments.
The World of the Father
I don’t believe in fathers, partly because of a personal experience, and partly because a father in our region does not represent a human being guiding and guarding new paths, the father here represents a god who is able to inflict great destruction and pain if his visions were not followed and his values were not applied. The father who knows better regardless of his nations’ experiences. The pro-oppressors always call the totalitarian head of state as “Father.”
This is why it is crucial for women to raise their voices and take their part in shaping the world they live in. One can see it clearly in MENA, whenever women were visible to the world, more freedoms and progress introduced, as long as women surrendering to their fathers, oppression will endure. There is a reason why better laws are not formed in favor of women in MENA, there is a reason why women must be kept chained in the old molds designed for her even if these chains were made by Armani. An organic authentic woman will smash old molds and concepts, will challenge surrendering to the norms. Fathers must step down so the child can thrive.