Like everyone I know, I am worried about the overt sectarian tones sweeping the whole Middle East. Everywhere you look now there is sectarian strife in various stages and on various levels. People are being stigmatized because they are one “type” or another; even religious clerics gathered recently in Qatar to attend a rapprochement conference started slinging epithets at each other.
The problem is serious. But the solutions – although plain to anyone mildly exercising their intellect – seem to be far too far for our governments to grab, especially as each is egging the other on, and if truth be told, we would probably find that each and every one of our governments are manipulated into exacerbating the situation as we have seen in our very own Bahrain with the Bandargate scandal and the various sectarian motivated strategies and tactics which pour into strengthening one side against the other.
The thinking of course is that the one sect which is being manipulated toward the ruling elite or government, as the case may be, will act as a buffer against the other, the normally subjugated and marginalised side, ignoring the lessons of even recent history in the danger of playing this game, as attested by Afghanistan’s Taliban who were aided an abetted by one world power to fight its war against another, little did they know then, that their sorcerer’s apprentice would ultimately turn against the sorcerer.
Michael Young explored this topic in his Wall Street Journal article succinctly. In it he too warns of the perils of such policies and brings various current examples where this policy is adopted and warns its proponents of the danger awaiting them at the next turn. In his article he warns:
A primarily sectarian Arab counter-reaction to expanding Iranian power would be a disaster. It might halt Iran and its comrades in the short term, but Arab regimes could soon become sorcerers’ apprentices, swallowed by the forces they unleash. Iran, wrongly believing that popular anti-Israeli and anti-American sentiment would overcome Sunni suspicions of their true intentions, should realize what a Sunni backlash would mean for their security. Once opened, the floodgates of Sunni-Shiite antagonism could become a Leviathan, sweeping away the fragile reality on the ground: Even in societies where Sunnis and Shiites now peacefully coexist, sectarian discord would become the norm.
What’s the solution out of this quagmire then? We – as the people – can no longer just sit idly by and await our destruction at the hand of those who rule over us in the Arab and Muslim worlds, because to them we are expendable peons in their grandiose schemes of domination. We must, therefore, do our utmost in explaining a simple truth to those around us: tolerance is the only way forward to defeat this demon; through it we can find our common denominator and build our strength and surmount all the machinations put in our path, to hopefully arrive at the destination we all seek: one that we can all live with dignity and equal opportunities…
I am convinced that the Just Bahraini campaign is one way of getting there; and one which we can easily and safely export to every country around us. But this campaign will not happen by itself, it still needs your help and assistance and I would welcome any extended helping hand in this most dire of times, we need to help each other understand that tolerance is the only way forward, and that no matter what our beliefs are, as human beings we must find a common denominator from which we can spring into a better future less marred by strife and sectarianism.