We are turning back the clock in the Middle East and this return is bringing us to the showdown that history has made inevitable for us. Looking at the state of affairs, this is an undesirable return. The return in question is not one that suits the conceptions of those in power nor is it one that will repair the pain of frayed nerves and a battered consciousness.
The Middle East is faced with a new conflict during a period when it was just becoming aware that it was a project of Western colonialism/imperial civilization, and just as it was becoming aware of its existential terms and conditions. This conflict is being carried out against our intellect and deeply held values just as much as it presents itself in the form of imposed physical conditions. On many occasions we do not even realize that these conflicts and divisions we witness on a daily basis are the choices resulting from this mindset.
By placing all blame on external powers and imperialists we neither solve the problems nor are we freed of the responsibility.
It should be borne in mind whether to seek imported solutions or those related to the existential accumulations from the region, while searching for a solution to the blood-filled atmosphere of conflict within this narrow space.
Imperial civilization divided minds through the creation of artificial borders that divided the region. The people of the Middle East will not be held back from becoming part of the process to build their own civilization and finding their true selves. The modern nation state project was a synthetic vaccine for this region and proved ineffective. This project tried to secularize life and people in this region via despotic regimes founded on laicism.
These despotic regimes died natural deaths one after the other, and have left behind a region whose cultural structure is in ruins and one that has no cognizance of its creation.
Regardless of the differences in their modernization experiences, the pushing to prominence of identities such as Arab, Persian, Kurd and Turk, rather than being unifying left behind a legacy of more divisions and a chain of conflicting affiliations, even within those identities. Just like in the case of any external intervention, societal and cultural interventions will also result in an unhealthy response. On the stage of history, whether it be sectarian or ethnic affiliations, the blowback from such interventions will always be of a rejectionist, exclusionary and confrontational nature.
For years Arab nationalism was considered the most dynamic element in the region. This despite the fact that the reliance of Arab nationalists on socialist-style practices created deep divisions amongst the Arabs themselves. The self confidence of Arabs was shattered by the ideological, political, societal and intellectually-damaged militaries that emerged as a result. The divisions were not limited to themselves but their provocative official statements also led to a confrontational relationship with the ancient peoples of the region.
Because the Sykes-Picot project created nation states on the basis of sectarian minorities rather than on the basis of an integrated religious understanding, it has fuelled sectarian-based tribal conflicts for years.
When the oppressed ethnic and sectarian elements and minorities began asking for their rights from structures that had begun to die a natural death, a similar sickness made a return to the political scene.
The chaos and atmosphere of conflict we have started to witness – and one that gets closer every passing day -- points to the concept of borders being an irony of history. In the long term, the gap between the geo-cultural reality and reality, displayed by the separation of a town by a border, results in a social trauma that we find ourselves faced with.
The most concrete form of this trauma can be seen following the Shia taking over power in Iraq, where for many years they were considered non-existent despite being in the majority. It is a typical example of trying to make up for all the deprivations of the past with a revanchist psychology now that they have taken over the reins of power.
In response to this, the rebellion in the name of Sunniism -- by those that form the majority in the region as a whole and within the context of representing the history and founding civilization bequeathed to them -- also possesses a sectarian character.
The children of a civilization pursue revenge with sectarian rhetoric because the secular project tore them away from tradition and deprived them of institutions that breathe life and create the dynamism of those traditions.
The entire process can be summarized as: All these formulas of Kurd, Sunni, Shia that started being mentioned with the American occupation of Iraq are first and foremost logically deficient before all else.
Artificial rebellions that are rejectionist and destructive will be in the forefront as long as a situation exists where all institutions and representations have collapsed. It will remain as such until an invigorating, solution-seeking atmosphere is generated.
The identities that were taken away or discounted during the rise of nationalism will manifest themselves in revenge-seeking attitudes on the stage of history. Nationalists will tear apart and divide nations themselves.
A responsible viewpoint would see the truth that we live on a regional level despite all the heated situations and tensions. This region is being torn apart as long as it rejects its existential opportunity. It is dragged into the whirlpool of chaos and conflict as long as it is forced into denial. The owners of the Western imperial civilization are on the verge of a return to the region. They are making a return to the region they destroyed the essence of, through the dexterity of the bewildered and revenge-filled people who became this way due to the battered consciousness caused by artificial maps and damage-incurring affiliations.
We should draw up this great existential map based on our own codes and not based on the clues handed to us by those that tore apart that map.
Otherwise there will be a lot more pain and chaos ahead.