It has been more than a year since I wrote my last article in Opednews. I guess I was taken by the speeding events in the Middle East, my part of the world, were events went beyond anyone's imagination. Who would have thought two years ago that a presidential debate will take place in Egypt or the Libyan people will be able to stand on the so-called Green Book with their feet.
But that was not my only reason. In all my previous articles, I was driven and motivated by an event to write. Motivated may not be fair to describe my feelings. It was more of an emotional reaction to an incident that has affected me to the extent that words were fighting in the keyboard.
I have to confess that my writing skills are at their highest when I am reacting emotionally to an event, and I suppose this is what most of the readers want to read, an honest expression of the feelings provided common sense and logic are maintained. I can count a number of events that has forced me to go to the key board and write. The collapse of Saddam Hussein dictatorship, the inauguration of Barack Obama, The immediate and timely sacking of the Saudi Secretary of Education after failure to save some students from a school fire, the killing of Saddam's Hussein's two dictator sons".etc.
Surprisingly the world reaction to the killing of Bin Laden didn't create emotions such as those created when the famous Paul Bremer's announcement ( We got'em -- (Saddam) ) was heard across the world, despite the fact that Bin Laden's crimes exceeded by a large margin those of Saddam.
Recently, I am more concerned with the unjustified, unwarranted cultural antagonism between nations and religions. Such antagonism is not accidental, but, unfortunately is fueled by greed and hate. Let us call them G&H, the greatest danger to human survival and well-being. For example, Iran is promoting the Sunni/Shiite sectarian mutual hate because it wants Shiite people, wherever they are, to be loyal to Iran not their countries.
Another example, weapons factories would go broke if peace and harmony spread across the world. Therefore they may have interest in feeding sectarian and border disputes. It is interesting to analyze how both peace and non-peace can support the world economy but the difference is the former is long-term and the latter is short-term.
I believe the G part of G&H can be dealt with through dialogue and understanding each other's interest. Also victim nations realized the game they are being subjected to and took counter measures. It is the H part that is hard to get rid of. People, to a large extent, are the production of an educational system that may have engraved in their minds certain superiority feelings or a negative picture of other cultures or religions. This, combined with the not so innocent media nonstop degrading of these cultures and religions is a major contributor.
In my view, people of the world went through three stages. In the fifties and sixties of last century, it was mainly naivety and ignorance, probably due to almost non-existence of people-to-people communications channels. The seventies are the beginning of the wake-up process where many social movements started, but the H factor didn't exist then. You can travel anywhere in the world and feel safe and welcome.
It may be appropriate to conclude with the developments in the eighties until now where communication channels between people of the world grew up so fast until we got to cheap flights to anywhere in the world, mobile phones, internet and most notably now Skype and twitter, where some one in India can talk to some one in Brazil live anytime during the day free of charge. What puzzles me is that this is supposed to make us closer but, on the ground, the situation of cultural understanding is indeed getting worse not better.
Hamad S Alomar
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia