Substituting the Arab world’s international placenta with internal arteries

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The idea of the “international” has become a parody of its own self. This is not a recently unearthed fact; just one that comes to my attention every time we wait for verdicts of the international community, apply our massacres to international courts or when international solidarity becomes applause-worthy. A tens-of-thousands-of-people protest in London in support of the Palestinian cause is hailed as something significant. It is so because that means that the general public is somehow against war. It is shameful that this is considered significant. It is disgraceful that we don’t expect human solidarity from the general public, international or otherwise, as something natural.

This concept of waiting for a coalition of more than one First World country to agree together after a few white-collar meetings to a simple, nonnegotiable truth that Israel is violating every inch of Palestine, and subsequently the Arab world, is despicable. But in this war, like in most of the wars we’ve been drawn into with Israel and other intermediary enemies, the limits of despicability prove themselves more and more elastic. On one hand, you have the international community planning our worst present for its future’s best interest while safely watching from afar as mass murder in Gaza is still not unanimously dubbed “genocide,” because genocide would have been an awfully terrible thing to do. And of course, the international view of Israel is one that rejects it would ever do something awfully terrible.

On the other hand, leaders of the Arab people who are primary stakeholders of this war, are afraid of planning anything for their people’s best interests and decided to pretend to be able to watch their war from afar. An official statement of condemnation or solidarity is not enough in the current dimension of war on Gaza. Condemnation and solidarity are both for those who are outside the conflict; they are words of compassion towards those at war. However they would like to look at it, Arab leaders are in the middle of this war on Palestine. Arab activism remains microscopically at the level of the people who are running on the fuels of their own hope and despair simultaneously. Hope that everything will change, and despair that it might just won’t.

I really do not know if every Arab generation or two goes through the same hope that everything can change, and despair that their current state is not a sustainable place to be, fueling them into potential revolutions. I am not sure if my generation is as special as it thinks it is, or as special as it is said to be. I know that the Arab Spring has most probably dried out, but that’s just fine. Who could have changed the world in one go?

We should just be able to ask ourselves about our next steps. We can definitely not just stand still. Nor can we just keep doing what we have been doing. Arab cities are burning, others are waiting to be burned and there must be something to do. I met a young man from Cairo in Beirut last week. He had sent me a message telling me that he is interested in my articles on public space and that he wanted to have coffee to discuss his experience in Cairo and mine in Beirut. Adham is a young architect who was working with big renowned European firms until five months ago when he decided that he was working for the wrong team, quit and went back to Cairo to try to do something good. His trip to Beirut was strictly to meet people that he felt could be part of a bigger network of this young generation eager to do good.

“Good” practically sums up what we are looking for, and I don’t think we will get there from anywhere other than each other. I was reading an article by a friend I had met two weeks ago about how the Lebanese and Syrian people, despite their intertwined histories, don’t necessarily know each other that well. Indeed, she is one of very few Syrians that I am currently friends with. I had never thought about it, but this involuntary alienation is quite strange. And it’s absurd that this temporary influx, dispersion and rearrangement of Arab youth due to this regional turmoil could have something interesting in store for us.

As the general Lebanese discourse is one that is lamenting that “Syrians are taking all our jobs,” and that “Palestinians are the root of all evil and must continue to be stuffed in refugee camps,” there is another layer of less flamboyant Arab youth getting the chance to meet. As the map of this region is being reformed into a caricature of geography as we know it, we are having the opportunity to grasp a shared cause that is much bigger than us. Maybe we are going to be able to look inwards to solve this mess.

It is interesting because through this hectic mix, we would be able to listen to one another, understand each other and learn from our respective histories to build a stronger force, a possible plan of action, something much more important than an image we try to formulate and portray to the world. If the international community’s big bad plan is to change our current borders into its new map of the Middle East to fight us, the only way to fight back is to invest in making these borders completely, extremely and irrevocably unimportant. For the road to building strong internal ties, our current emergency population reshuffling could be a great place to start.

Raafat Majzoub is an architect, author and artist living in Beirut.


There was no Arab Spring - it was a cover for rape & looting.
The plan of action is already taking place, look.

At it's most basic, evolution in biology can be used to refer to either to either change in the gene pool of a population over time or the concept of descent with modification.
In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a genetic pool from one generation to another.
Alleles is one of a number of alternative forms of the same gene or same genetic locus.

What was it you said Raafat ...."through this hectic mix, we would be able to listen to one another."..... what mix are you talking about ?.... the process of evolution taking place ?
Can this be a bad thing ?
Thomas, who is from Syria told me, "we were one nation & one people & they came & divided us up according to their needs"

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