Friday, March 17, 2006

And I predicted I would live during a boring era!

What a fool!

I have mentioned this to friends, and maybe even on this blog; and I shall mention it again: As I entered into the world of political consciousness, it gradually dawned on me that I had missed all of the great historical events, decisions and developments that defined the world I lived in. I came to the conclusion that in the grand scheme of things, I was probably going to live during an era that would be dull and historically insignificant (at least in a political sense)... a world in which skirmishes would be plentiful but great battles of epical proportions nonexistent.

  • I missed WWI, the fall of the Ottomans, Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration
  • I missed the mandate era, the rise of Nazi Germany and its crushing defeat in WWII
  • I missed the rise of the Soviet Union, and only barely caught its humiliating downfall

All of these events, decisions and developments were historical in the sense that they literally shaped the Middle East - among other things, of course. Yet, without exception, they all came about during an interval of time in which I was either not yet alive or not yet politically conscious.

In my life, politics, I told myself, would be played within the boundaries and rules that were created by the politics of my father's and grandfather's generations. I would watch pieces move on the chessboard they witnessed being created. My generation would not set the rules… but rather, follow them. "How blasé!”

How wrong I was....

Among the dates that I know my children will secretly envy me for witnessing are September 11, February 14 and the oh-so-wonderful March 14. But forget dates. Think developments. Think the current duel that pits the United States against Iran, and what that conflict may lead to in the region.

Gradually, every country in the Middle East is beginning to feel the repercussions of this game of brinksmanship that both countries are playing. Two days ago, gunmen in South Eastern Iran set up a checkpoint and killed more than twenty individuals. This brutality is merely a sample of what appears to be monthly operations in Iranian territory that kill and maim tens of people in different parts of the country. In Iraq, dozens are murdered every day. Yesterday, for the first time in years, I heard of Kurdish guerillas clashing with Turkish forces (almost as if in direct response to the Iranian incident). Lebanon's situation needs no further elaboration. Syria is also on the brink. And the list goes on....

The entire region may be on the verge of a new eruption... a new make-over. We are all either in the midst of these developments or in the peripheries, looking in. It is true that not one of the powers involved in this quagmire seek to dissolve the current order, but that is almost irrelevant. Did the Russians want WWI when they mobilized their Army? Did the Lebanese know that they would be killing each other for 15 years when they began shooting in 1975? No. Therefore, we should probably expect that things may get out of hand.

Well… What can I say? I definitely got what I wished for! The question is; should I be thankful?

For certain things, I think I should be... for others no... and for yet others, I say let us wait and see.

The verdict is still out there.

5 comments:

reem said...

Raja,
History doesn't stop. But as you indicate it can be viewed in 2 ways: on the one hand, the determining events that you talk about (WWI and II, etc)which are usually one-off or ponctual events...on the other hand, you have micro events wich may not seem like much if viewed in isolation, but that also determine the future path of things when seen as an whole...although the major events can seem to be the most determining ones, I think it's also important to be aware of the significance of little steps/happenings...after all, many of the essential 'architecture' of countries and nations are formed through a slow accumulation of minor events...but I do agree with you, some events more than others are there to stay in our collective historical consciousness

Anonymous said...

Wonderful...
Since you are witnessing bloodshed in the Middle East and all over the world your life in a political sense is no longer boring.

Raja said...

No, my friend. On this earth, blood is shed every single day of the year. Man, apparently, was born to shed blood - there is nothing noteworthy about it.

Anonymous said...

To you it seems the more the merrier!

Raja said...

interprit my words as you wish, habibi.