Conspiracy theory:Arabs’ favorite excuse [Archives:2004/700/Opinion]

January 5 2004

By Hazem Altaweel
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For centuries we have been plagued by “conspiracy” and it continues to dominate our lives, the headlines and even our homes. Rather than to take responsibility for the situations we are in, our leaders, people and family members have fought vigorously to defend this theory. We blame our failures on our enemies who conspire on us (Israel). We seek to blame anyone rather than let the responsibility fall on our shoulders. Our leaders have marketed this idea to the people in order to cover up their own failures. They have failed us all and worse we have failed ourselves in this nonsense. No one denies that world politics and military strength have played a role. However we seem to blame conspiracies on a daily basis. This is a sickness, and what is most sad is that not only ignorance is to blame but even our brightest people seem to embrace this idea. We cannot grow and flourish with these ideas. Time has proven us wrong and our place in the world has left us behind. Our news is filled with conspiracies; our lives are built around it. From the local headlines to the local gossip.
When are we, as a people, going to shed this cancer that has taken root in every Arab State? When are we as a people are going to take full responsibilities for the situation we are in?
The word trust is no longer in our dictionary; we have replaced it by mistrust. An Arab's word was known to be his honor. What happened to dignity and pride, the foundation our history was built on? On my last trip to Yemen I was astonished to see young and old chew gat for hours and speak nothing but politics, rather than to find ways to better their lives. Everyone seemed to have an answer to the mess we are in, every one becomes a philosopher. I was ashamed and saddened that friends, relatives and even brothers refused to sit with each other on qat chews, because they held different political views. This scene is played out through Yemen from the cities to the villages. Are we as a people this ignorant? Have we left reality for another realm? Since when was it morally and ethically correct to talk about your neighbor in disrespect? Why do we seem to remember people by their political names, and not by their actions? Why can't we express our thoughts without having everyone questions our intentions? We are living in a dream, it is time to wake up and smell the coffee as the Americans say. We are only lying to ourselves and hurting our own people. We cannot be proud and productive people if we are not true to ourselves. How can we look our women and children in the eyes and say we have done our best. How can a man sit for hours chewing gat while his children have no shoes. We are heading towards a path of self-destruction and yet most will insist it's a conspiracy against us.