The maddening reality of the Middle East
The Middle East’s political landscape, in contrast with how it was four years ago, is unfathomable
The Middle East’s political landscape, in contrast with how it was four years ago, is unfathomable. Change is always to be expected, but today’s reality is chaotic and maddening. The broken ties within communities mirror the shattered communication and people’s inability to relate to one another, let alone accept their differences or mend their rifts.
The only guarantee we have at this point is that the dramatic free fall some Arab countries are undergoing is unavoidable and even necessary. Let things fall where they may to see how and with whom the future will rise from there.
In the midst of an ever-changing Middle East, more often for the worst and rarely for the better, it has become more challenging to spearhead resolutions to the raging wars and lingering problems. Where can one get inspiration to end the bloodshed or return refugees to their homes or simply imagine life as it used to be only a short few years ago? It is therefore not surprising that many, including Arabs themselves, are turning their backs.
Power across the region
It is not difficult to see that the extremists have found their way to power across the region. Dictatorships were only replaced by militancy. Tyrants fell only to give rise to brainwashed underground groups. Disoriented, the latters practice intolerance and abuse power exactly as has been the case against them for decades. Their reactions are violent with deadly consequences, but we should expect their hatred to rage on as long as there is no one to stand up to them and stop them.
The situation today is the result of years of carelessness and neglect, blinded tyrannies, failed western foreign policies, old vendettas, hate-driven alliances and a systematic alienation of moderate voices.
Today, the Middle East stands at a crossroad with a major imbalance of wealth and power. Although “Instability” should be the headline of this era, some are still pretending not to be affected by it. A dangerous rise in extremism threatens friends and foes alike. Add to that upcoming Israeli elections and the winding of a confused U.S. administration that made the region worse one bad decision at a time and one late response at a time.
The only way out of this impasse is for the people to take charge of their lives. Not as a region or nation but as individuals coming together to create, grow and defend an independent, sustainable and dignified life for themselves and for the generations after them.
Lucky are those who have already started such process and are ready to apply it even at a small, individual scale. For the future is in their hands.
This article was first published in al-Nahar on January 27, 2015.
Multi-award-winning journalist Octavia Nasr served as CNN’s senior editor of Middle Eastern affairs, and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the use of social media in traditional media. She moved to CNN in 1990, but was dismissed in 2010 after tweeting her sorrow at the death of Hezbollah’s Mohammed Fadlallah. Nasr now runs her own firm, Bridges Media Consulting, whose main aim is to help companies better leverage the use of social networks.
- Tweet nothings: Arabs quieter on politics amid fear, fatigue
- Congress could consider war vote against ISIS by spring, says official
- Belgian radicals on margins even among hometown Muslims
- Syria rebel training could start in early spring
- How Arab Spring countries fared in 2014
- Tunisia: Top of the Arab Spring class?
- Pioneering Arab artist portrays ‘graves’ of the Arab Spring in exhibit