Saturday, 18 June 2011

Unmasking the mask

The world has witnessed remarkable changes over the past few months. As Mahmoud Darwish said, "the mask has fallen off the mask." No longer does the world order matter as there simply is no "world order". I, for one, have ceased to believe things and people I once held close to my heart. Hasan Nasrallah is a prime example and the others I held in similar regard. Today, everything is prone to drastic revision, and we, the observing masses, can only gawp in wonder.

Unlike Iraq, there has been little or no need for armed intervention by the international community which has ostensibly helped put these corrupt systems of governance in place. Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Syrians have enough guts to stand bare-chested in front of live rounds of ammunition to guarantee that their children do not suffer as they did. Bahrainis, on the other hand, are enduring a doubly-difficult uprising because the world's lenses have been diverted for overtly political motives. Nevertheless, they are in full knowledge that their struggle hasn't gone unnoticed. A Kuwaiti journalist gave Arab apologists a deserved dressing-down and a lot of people I know ought to listen to what he had to say with regards to the matter.

The toppling of dicatorial regimes that have ruled for decades signalled the resurgence of not popular opinion but popular demand. Whilst religion and ideology took a back-seat, it was pure anger that brought down legions of tanks, machine-guns and sniper-rifles. The battle rages on and I can only hope that the vast loss of life bears fruit to democratic, multi-dimensional and free-thinking societies.

Personally, recent events have helped me develop a less-diplomatic approach to my life. If something seems wrong, I will have no fear in voicing my objection. I may be on the verge of completing my drawn-out degree but it's much more than the certificate that I will cherish: the chance to explore ideas and meet dissimilar people has been invaluable. More than anything, I feel indebted to the heroes that have braved the danger to speak their minds and reclaim their crushed spirits. Chief amongst them is a frustrated grocery seller who goes by the name of Mohammed Al-Bouazzizi.

The drawback to all that has happened, I suppose, is that I've become so desensitised to human misery that the sight of a head cracked open or a body split in half does nothing but make me scroll down the page or fast forward the clip. In my long-gone teenage years I used to visit a website that published pictures of unspeakable horror ( for those interested). The sheer shock that engulfed me then was almost a kick and I enjoyed the rush of adrenaline. Admittedly, it is a twisted fancy, but I was a teenager. Now, I, along with anyone that has seen the footage, know what the inside of a human head looks like and what form the body takes when a missile flies right through it. Ignorance was blissful but now I know - for I see it on a daily basis.

Finally, in fifty years time, I want my grandchildren to interrupt my stories to say: "Jiddo, man.. you lived in one messed up world!"