Arab Malaise for Days and Days
I don’t know about you but I’m prone to regular and shattering bouts of totally inexplicable ‘malaise’.
Whether it’s specifically ‘Arab’ or not-*shrug*.
Still, for the sake of this post let’s focus on the combo “Arab+Malaise” a phrasing synthesized by the late greatest Samir Kassir.
I was recently introduced to his little golden book Being Arab But of course, the moment you find a golden egg like this someone has to tell you the goose is dead and this is all the gold-omlette there’s ever gonna be so you’d better savor it.
Kassir was assassinated on June 2, 2005 in a car-bomb in Beirut the implications of which are detailed in the Robert Fisk introduction to this book.
A word of medical advice: this angry, honest little treatese will change your life if you suffer from any of the below symptoms and you live in ‘the Arab world':
Loss of voice, sight or will-to-fight; Terminal Fury, Malignant Indifference; Hopeless-Headaches, Political Bloat or Historical Dementia.
I’ve cut some choice quotes from the book below for you to sample.
Apply these in a poultice to an open wound, change regularly.
“Arab victimhood goes beyond the ‘Why do they hate us?’ question, which Arabs would be entitled to ask as the Americans were on the morning of September 11. Inflamed by the West’s attitude to the Palestinian question, it has incorporated other elements, notably the feeling of powerlessness and also a certain crime-novel vision of history…Victimhood is the price of the defeat of the universal, rather than a product of the status quo, and its cult… it has only been able to grow because the ideology of the moment preaches a refusal of the universal.”
“The nahda is forgotten, except perhaps by an elite tht is still attached to the spirit of the Englihtenment. Yet it would be impossible to exaggerate the benefits of restoring this era to its proper place in Arab history. It may perhaps not reveal tailor made formulas for puting an end to the malaise, but at least it would allow one to reinterpret this malaise as a moment in history. If Arabs don’t reclaim this history, their relationship with modernity in the twenty first century will remained warped by misunderstanding.”
Ok now I’m ready for a punchline about ze Arab frustration.
Giving you PROOF that the internet is FIXED, “Layo in a Cage” SHOULD have been viral by now: