The conspiracy illusion [Archives:2003/669/Viewpoint]

September 18 2003

There was a time in the past, particularly before the end of the USSR, when Arabs would talk often about something called 'Western conspiracy against Arabs'. This so-called conspiracy has been for a long time thought to Arabs generation after generation. In my teenage years, I would remember many people asserting that it is the 'West' that has been behind our status of stagnancy, productivity, inefficiency, economic failure, political crises, and in general our miserable life.
I remember many saying that whatever we do, and no matter how hard we work, this conspiracy will keep us lagging behind and prevent us from developing our countries. Why then bother?
This way of thinking was mainly attributed to years of colonization, occupation, and wars, which led to an overwhelming feeling of nationalism, patriotism, Arabism, and in some sense arrogance with our 'unique' personality and rich resources that the 'West wants to take over'.
Any way, as years passed, and as the USSR disappeared and we started living in the new era of one single superpower, i.e., the USA, those ideas have started to disappear and vanish. The conspiracy theory -or theories- has started to lose its credibility and legitimacy in the minds of so many Arabs, who believe that the winds of capitalism have blown so hard that anyone who is not ready will stay poor, yet could continue blaming conspiracies for his poor conditions.
It is shocking however, that there are still some young Arabs, and many of them I know, who still believe that the fault is mainly on the 'West', which doesn't want us to improve and develop ourselves.
I also realized that many of those who think in this way do not work hard enough, and tend to rely on others and find easy ways to make a living without exerting enough effort to enhance and develop,
Last week was yet another demonstration of how pathetic some people think. When we were discussing issues related to Al-Jazeera Channel, some said that it is a mere tool of the West to penetrate the Arab world and is hence one of the players in this large-scale global conspiracy. Some went further in accusing it of bringing conspiracy closer to our homes, in fact to every Arab living room.
When asked whether they want Al-Jazeera to be like the rest of channels, they would say, “No, not exactly, but it should be more pan-Arab and work for Arab issues rather than against them.” It is a pity that those people don't realize that what they are trying to do is dragging any good initiative in the Arab world down with the excuse of Arab nationalism.
It is about time that projects such as Al-Jazeera be encouraged rather than accused of being unpatriotic towards Arab issues. Why try to hide the small light that is emerging in our world and opening up our eyes to the fact that there is no conspiracy. It is all an illusion. There may certainly be certain steps taken by other nations to secure their interest in the Arab world. But that certainly is their right, just as we want to have our interests secured elsewhere in this globalizing world. What are suffering from is an illusion that has stayed on our minds for far too long. This illusion has made us eat, work, and even sleep with the question of 'how not to fall to this conspiracy.'
It is time for us to wake up and realize where we are today, i.e., at the bottom of the lists of underdeveloped countries, with the slowest economic growth in the world. We need to understand that if we continue to think about ridiculous conspiracies, we will go nowhere and will end up blaming each other while the world passes us by.
We need to work, work, and work hard to achieve and become a true player in this global arena. We have wasted enough time in doing nothing but thinking how to unveil the conspiracy.
Our earlier generations have committed the mistakes in the past and got us to what we are in today, let us not dig deeper below the ground in searching for more of this nonsense. Let us improve our lives by educating our generations, enforcing the law, and building bridges with the world to get us out of this isolation.
Let us destroy this conspiracy illusion, before it takes over and destroys us.