articlesSocial development

The Formation and Development of the National Community in the Arab World (2)

The national community and the intersection of identities

You could barely find one modern community with one identity in terms of ethnic, religious, sectarian and cultural aspects. In other words, the majority of countries around the world are facing nowadays problems of managing the diversity within their national project, and who are studying the conditions of these countries will be made sure that the diversity is not a problem in itself, but it could be a serious and prolonged problem that threatens the entire political entity when this diversity is mismanaged. Whether this was intended or not!.

In fact, there are many examples that can be presented in this regard, and perhaps the USA’s case seems very typical, as the giant country relied on a formula for coexistence after the abolition of its racial discrimination laws, such formula allows all citizens to equal rights, which made it possible for a black American citizen to serve as the president for full eight years, which it is the highest position in the state (Barack Obama 2008-2016), in addition, many ministerial portfolios that were held by black and coloured Americans, and now there are similar black Americans officials in the government of President Joe Biden.

However, class and racism are living together in the fabric of the capitalist system itself due to the nature of its perceptions. But the weaker and poorer in it, is in the lower rank of the stronger and the richer ones, which allows the adherents to the capitalist principle to make endless comparisons from ethnic, religious and cultural points of view, in which the white becomes – practically, realistically and without the need for a permit – higher than the black, Latin. And those with European cultural origins are in higher ranks than those of other origins, and so on.

Over the time, the racism and class outlook in the United States of America are fueled by this apparent contradiction between considering it the center of the greatest democracy and the homeland of the greatest freedoms on the planet as a whole, and what it practices in terms of guardianship on the external level that can be translated into disrespect to the other that everything for him can be permissible, which should appear in the behavior of the American citizen – even gradually – towards everyone else, even if he is an American citizen who has lived in the US since the founding time!

The recent production of the American political system to very non-political person such as Donald Trump, who carried to the largest position in the United States the morals of the capitalist market with its violence and racism. Trump managed the diversity in the United States during his rule in the worst possible way, he also dealt with the outside with arrogance, snobbery and apparent colonial sense, in addition, he applied the American foreign policy as it seemed for decades, but this time on his own citizens. And I say: this production is the latest translation to the legacy of the capitalist system and American foreign policy.

Whatever circumstances, the presented model – as is evident – is holding up for two factors:

  • First: the degree of success in managing the largest ethnic and cultural diversity in the world.
  • Whether the model includes primary contradiction or not in the political and social performance.

However, the first factor is faster to achieve its negative internal results, due to the fact that its direct attachment to the population component of the state. Nevertheless, the second factor no less dangerous that the first one, because the citizen is the son of his country and assume its character in performing its external and internal role, even if he applies that to his own citizens just because of the similarity between them and someone of the others, or because there is a difference between him and his countrymen, to the extent that black and coloured people are expelled from some churches because they are limited to white angelic!

From this point, the issue of the American combination between the huge political and economic global supremacy and these serious negative factors, have surfaced and indicates that the negative factor in the huge political component causes erosion in which its rate rises in some stages, and it also decreases in other stages according to existing balances in the body of this component between the strength and weakness factors in it. If it does not treated well, it will destroy all the model.

The most important matter in all of that is that the mismanagement of any diversified society is considered one of waste of energies and strengths, and it leads to the erosion of its human assets. If we corrected the picture, and looked at it from a balanced scientific and human point of view, we would know that population diversity is a great human wealth. That is because peoples have a variety of psychological, mental and skill features, so that their diversity can be used to achieve integration in the achievements. This can be observed in a Muslim country such as Pakistan, which contains many ethnicities, religions, sects and languages, and each element in it has the advantage in things that outweigh the other elements in the state.

The National Community and the Issue of Diversity:

The question that arises is, where is the national community in this long-talked issue?

  • Historically, the disputes and wars may be erupted between members of the same tribe, as well as between peoples that are belonging to same race or the nations that have one religion sect or ideology, and peace may prevail between very diverse people. This mean that the multiple identities is innocent of causing disputes, wars, and internal problems for the state.
  • The second meaning that the national community, through its affiliation to the homeland, provides a formula for the interaction of the parties to this diversity, through directing the people to its energies in terms of serving the mosques and public colleges that interest the whole people rather than one specific group or party.

The national community with these diversities is sharing in serving the full population’s issues that the state contains. In addition, no fraction can obtain its membership (i.e the national community), it works to achieve special goals or goals that exclude a group of the national spectrum, or those that may be against the interest of the state. Moreover, the national community activities are not limited to line up – in any sense of its meaning – to confront the external dangers, but rather it is concerned with preventing the internal discords and achieving civil peace as well.

It should be noted that searching for a unifier for this diversity under the national umbrella avoids two things:

First: acting with racism and arrogance – even if hidden – with other identities of citizens, irrespective of how small their representatives are, and seeking for dissolve them, even though the aforementioned umbrella will open space for the interaction between various identities. That is to say, it will achieve the exchange of influence between identities in a healthy atmosphere. From this point, we stress that the interaction of cultures in natural conditions, although it may lead to the disappearance or transformation of some cultural elements from here or there, but it usually leads to the fusion of elements from here and elements from there until the unifier that bring the population together increases, and the diversity itself becomes part of cultural personality.

Second: the full settlement between the minorities of the components of the national community and what constitute the identity of the nation. For example, the size of the Chinese component in determining the identity of Malaysia is not equal with the Malawian, despite the fact that Malaysians of Chinese origin are among the most economically active population. And in Egypt also, the Christian component is not equal with the Islamic component even though Christianity in Egypt is precedent to Islam, that is because determining the general national identity in both cases depends on the size of the contribution to the making of the nation’s history and culture and the intensity of representation of the existing reality in it.

When we are looking at the cultural beliefs in Arab East towards racism, we will find a large space for the idea of human brotherhood, and that capitalism, although it has been absorbed by some of our countries until they suffered from it, but it has not completely eliminated what the respectable Dr. Abdel-Wahab Al-Messiri calls the human “compassionate society” versus the “contractual society” that having strict legal relationships that kills many human meanings.

The most dangerous result to approve this fact, while supporting the facts of the long Islamic history of the region for it, is that the relationships do not deteriorate between the social components of different identities in the Arab world unless a malicious hand interferes to corrupt what is between them, or to distract everyone from their corruption and stealing of the wealth and goods, or to justify their brutal policies under the pretext of preserving security and maintaining the state!

The pioneers of modern Islamic reform have realized this dimension in the relationship between the religious, sectarian and ethnic sects of the Arab world. In this regard, I would like to refer to an interview made by a British journalist during the British occupation of Egypt with Sheikh Muhammad Abdo, may God have mercy on him, following the events that we call them today in our literature “sectarian strife” between Muslims and Christians, as such events were not familiar in Egypt before. The journalist asked the sheikh, what will you do with Christians if The British left Egypt? The sheikh answered him politely, saying: as we used to do with them before British came!

Every Arab country must realize that its elite and its national community must realize that if they are not rational, active and conscious, then tyranny will eliminate them, or employ them in writing the reports and to be an agents whom the history will write the worst that can be written about them, and a person must learn from what happened to those who died this past year !

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Barq for Policies and Consultations.”

All rights reserved to Barq for Policies and Consultations © 2021

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