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Desperate and Depressed Peoples, Dejected and Downcast!

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Eng. Saleem Al-Batayneh

Arab countries have topped global indicators in financial and political corruption, lack of transparency, and absence of freedoms! They have also ranked at the bottom in indicators of the collapse of education, healthcare, and social affairs systems.

On May 19, 2022, the Global Misery Index for the year 2022 was issued by Johns Hopkins University in the United States (a private research university). The result was that four Arab countries deservedly occupied the top of the list, which included 157 countries. Arabs have not left this index once and have occupied its top position multiple times! Despite the fact that all the Arab countries mentioned in the Global Misery Index possess wealth and have economic resources that enable them to achieve balanced growth and sustainable development.

It is true that nations are not standalone entities with a single body and mind! However, they suffer from depression just like individuals do! They fall victim to psychological illnesses, just like a mentally depressed patient, and this is proven by observations and reality in Arab countries, even if theories and schools of social and political sciences reject it.

Unfortunately, Arab society has become a society of entertainment, favouring appearance over substance, copies over originals, and representation over reality.

If there were accurate and capable polling centers that could access all Arab countries, they would show us the extent of the feelings of disgust and aversion among Arab citizens. If we took to the streets in many Arab capitals and cities and polled people’s opinions about feelings of frustration and depression, all of them would fall under the positive category. We would see lost gazes from their owners, dejected faces filling the streets, and scattered minds marked by gloom.

Many nations have faced crises similar to the ongoing Arab crises, such as issues of bad governance, including tyranny, corruption, and the absence of public freedoms. The first half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century witnessed a period of contempt by many Arab rulers towards their people. This contempt led to the degradation of these nations, rendering them humiliated and dishonoured in the eyes of the world. This was followed by a poverty of culture, knowledge, and ignorance, and a lack of logic, methodology, and policy, leading to a bankruptcy of political thought, which in turn led to economic collapse.

The available indicators confirm that the Arabs are on the verge of exiting history. They have become incapable of choosing their present and future. They are living today in a state of extreme confusion and exhaustion, plummeting towards the unknown. The Arab homeland is now beyond the reach of all historical and geographical boundaries, and Arab nations are infatuated with perpetually returning to the starting point. They have nothing but yesterday, and they find solace only in memories. They can only cry for the past.

It is confirmed that depressed nations are nations abandoned by their leaders, intellectuals, elites, and opinion leaders. Their emergence from a state of waiting, surrender, despair, and frustration, their regaining of confidence and political aversion, and their electoral abstention, are all dependent on their ability to cleanse the Arab political body from the parasites that have infiltrated it.

Returning to the term “Aayif al-Tankah,” its metaphorical meaning is poverty and despair! Perhaps we Arabs are the only ones who use “Tankah” as a unit of measurement, starting from a container of oil or ghee and ending with a container of poverty and destitution. The proverb was said of those who reached a point of unbearable despair. They would throw the (pail or container) that most of the Ottoman service attendants carried around their necks to avoid being conscripted again. It was a document of discharge or service termination.

The language is painfully candid. Unfortunately, the majority of Arab nations are living in a state of separation from their systems. Most of them are preoccupied with searching for sustenance and employment opportunities, and they are no longer concerned with the system of governance, governments, or parliaments. Their hope for change in the future has become hampered by a lack of certainty and the unknown. Political demonization methods have spared no effort in frustrating and impoverishing them and solidifying their loss of hope for change.

The bleakness of the Arab political, economic, and social scene is evident to all. The question: What is happening in Arab countries does not require much effort and trouble in research! The Arab misery begins the moment the compass loses its direction towards the responsible authority institution. It then expands in all directions, vertically and horizontally.

This realistic diagnosis is what we need to realize. Why don’t we try writing about reality without referring to history? And why don’t we try to seize new moments that we create from scratch, as if we were born today?

Unfortunately, this bleak view is the result of an Arab reality that is defeated and lifeless. Its people are exhausted and drained, defeated by their systems and their awareness distorted. They are defeated by poverty, hunger, injustice, and the absence of freedoms