By Dalia Al Athamna
We were once the empires of civilization, science and inventions, today we are light years away from that. We have become the empires of violence, rage and corruption. Poison has spilt all over the Arab world, it has poisoned our lands, our identity, our consciousness. We let this poison divide us into sects and sects of sects. We let this poison kill the very essence of our existence. We let this poison weaken and break apart every inch of our identity.
While the west has landed on the moon, built every means of transport and found the cures for disease, we in the Arab world are still stuck behind shameless dictators who have divided this part of the world and made us enemies of one another. We have merely become followers of different slogans and divisions. We no longer tolerate our differences, we no longer respect one another’s beliefs. We have been silent for far too long and now rage and hate has filled the very heart of the Arab world from the far east to the far west.
My heart aches watching the news, the lands that once created such individuals as Salah Eldeen AlAyoobi and Khaled Ibn Alwalid, the lands that once held the pioneers of modern day medicine, math and philosophy has been torn into divisions fighting and killing one another. It aches my heart to see how cheap human life has become, the countless lives that have been lost in cost for politicians sitting comfortably on their golden thrones. What have we become? Who have we become? And how did we let ourselves come this far? How can we possibly be among the richest and most resourceful nations in the world, yet have children starving to death on the very same land? What’s more ironic is that these children are starving because they have been deprived of medical and nutritional aid. And by who? By their very own people. How and why have we become so heartless and bitter?
I dream of a place in the Middle East so beautiful, so peaceful. A place where my nationality, my religious background and my political views don’t get me imprisoned. A place where I can practice my Muslim faith freely and my Christian neighbor can go to her church and practice her Christian faith just as freely. A place where people are not categorized into sects and races and are treated equally as human beings. A place where human dignity and human life is valued and cherished.
I dream of a place in the Middle East where the leader is not merely a pet for the more powerful, where the leader puts his nation before anyone else, where the leader values human life. A place where the poor are the priority, not the other way around. Where the children are taught the value of being useful members of society, where the children are taught the value of community work.
I dream of a place in the Middle East where our mother tongue is not the second language and is the language we speak at home, at school and in the workplace. A place where our Arabic traditions and customs and our Islamic heritage is the norm, not the backward, old school and outdated practices that we are made to believe. A place where western pop culture is left for the west and our Arabic culture is so highly respected and honored.
I dream of a place in the Middle East where everyone has equal rights to basic human needs like food, shelter, safety and education regardless of race or religion. A place where education, research and inventions are re-established once again on Arab lands. A place where education and credentials are the only key to success, not any other factors. A place where my South East Asian housekeeper is just as worthy and human as my family doctor from Britain.
Will this place ever exist? Will the Arab world ever rise above all the divisions, faiths, sects and political differences? Will we once again become the land of civilization?
I can only dream….