The end of an intellectual [Archives:2004/700/Culture]

January 5 2004

Dr. Abullah al-Zalab
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

The contents and directions of the debates that had been taking place a couple of days ago in the media and the Qat sessions about the TV serial Saif Bin Thee Yazan which had been broadcasted during last Ramdan has forced me to wonder about the complications of historical writings and the difficulties in transferring history into a TV program. I was wondering if there is a crisis in the TV scenarios and whether there is lack of professional and specialized people and if so, why? And why did our education system and our social culture failed in creating talents and skills able to produce such programs and hence force us to seek help from others.
I was occupied too much in this thought and this led me to more thinking and wondering about the real role of the Yemeni intellectual. For if you observe the cultural, scientific and educational productions one would discover that there is hardly any progress and that the job has transformed into documentation and registering and some analysis more than creation and productivity. The methodology was more like copy cat and imitation of others and in a way that would serve personal interests or circumstantial requirements such as getting a degree, money or influence or promoting a certain school of thought. And other than that, the Yemeni intellectual is actually absent and missing from the social change and developing movements.
This topic in itself raises many questions and doubts, an issue that again leads to assumptions and thinking of various probabilities regarding the direction of development in the society and the indications of change, in which direction are we going? And do we find ourselves today in the presence of a culture without intellectuals? An absolute culture that does not hold any essence or actual thoughts? Where is the Yemeni intellectual today? What is his position and role in formatting today's culture? And where is his position in the political and social movements?
An intellectual, this mediator between the socialist and the culture activist, the intellectual who has connected the politician with the civilian, he who carries the nation's conscience all that and today here he is merely a name and a tag on an empty being. And if the answer is yes that the intellectual has really lost his identity then who will be the change agents and the real influencers in the society?
It seems that the businessman comes to be intellectual model, has dominated the scene today, as exclaimed by the Tunisian social science scholar Dr. al-Tahir Labib. This is an intellectual who has been hashed in the liberal garage and found himself by chance the technocratic expert who is right and hence started looking for justifications to his correctness. And so instead of the culture and intellect of a creative artist it becomes more like gambling and proving one's opinion to be right, come what may.
There are many factors, local, regional and international changes which have come together and interfered in the changes of societies and perhaps in the back stepping of the intellectual's influential roles. These factors such as the rapid information advancements and media and communication high technologies in addition to the social, economic transformations at the national level and the globalization on a larger scale.
The study or analysis of the Yemeni intellect proved what Dr. al-Tahir Labib has said regarding to the intellectual's destiny as an influential component of the system. Under the domination of the semi intellectuals and the common man unrealistic approaches, and with the globalization culture that lacks values it is surely the doom of an intellectual and probably his end.