Opinion

Arab YouTubers

April 11, 2022
Saad Al-Suwayan
Saad Al-Suwayan
Saad Al-Suwayan



YouTube gave us the opportunity to peek and eavesdrop to learn about the negative thoughts and feelings of some people in our Arab region outside the Arabian Peninsula towards Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

It is certain that these negative feelings are a modern phenomenon that did not exist in the previous centuries and that only a few people are proponents of this and the majority of our Arab brothers have nothing to do with their words and deeds.

There is no doubt that the exhausted political ideologies played an active role in raising the pace of this discourse that I am talking about here, but these ideologies are not entirely responsible for this phenomenon as much as they worked to awaken the feelings buried deep in the subconscious and made them float to the surface.

Otherwise, what is the meaning that the Gulf States are described as backward by some Arab writers while most of the people in their countries live below the poverty line and suffer from illiteracy and poor quality of public services!

The readymade accusation is that the Gulf States are monarchies, sheikhdoms and sultanates, as if the nature of the political system is a distinguishing feature in itself, regardless of the effects of that system on the development and stability of the country and its consequences for the well-being and daily life of people!

Some of them even portrayed our wars to defend ourselves and our interests as aggression, while the wars that changed us were in fact liberation and jihad.

What worries me is that some of the superficial intellectuals in our Eastern World believe that adopting such a naive discourse is a progressive, liberal, intellectual and political sign. Things reached the extent where few of them have resorted to rejecting Islam and challenging it just because its origin is the Arabian Peninsula. They have taken criticism of Islam as a veiled criticism of the Arab element and Arab history.

I do not think that the real issue lies in the different nature of the political systems, because Morocco, for example, is a monarchy, but the Arab ideologues do not find any fault with the ruling system in Morocco, and at the same time we find that “liberals” even among our Moroccan brothers do not fail to attack the Gulf countries.

It is noticeable and also significant that Islamic countries that have not been Arabized in language and culture, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, have no problem with the people of the Gulf countries because they became Muslims but they did not Arabize and did not feel that Islam robbed them of their ethnic identity! So why does this phenomenon of hatred almost confine only to the Arab YouTubers who are our neighbors?

Dear reader, stay with me until the end of the thread of this argument and follow it with me publicly until we arrive at a reasonable explanation for this phenomenon, and then deal with it in rational ways.

Let’s start by going back to the ancient history of North Africa, Egypt, Iraq and the Levant. Let us remember that when these peoples converted to Islam, they were forced to abandon their original languages and ancient religions and forget their ancient civilizations; Assyrian, Chaldean, Akkadian, Canaanite, Aramaic, Phoenician, Pharaonic and Berber.

At the height of the Islamic expedition and the era of conquests, major civilizations in the Nile Basin and Mesopotamia vanished, so that the Arabic language did not find little resistance in the expansion and spread in those areas that became part of the Arab Islamic civilization, by virtue of its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula. The disappearance of the ancient civilizations and languages in those regions since ancient times has also been instrumental in the fast spread of the Arabic language and Arab culture.

And things went on in this way until the end of the last century and the beginning of this century, when archaeological excavations and ethno-linguistic studies shed light on the hitherto historical facts about their ancient language and culture. By the time, many Arab peoples realized that their “glorious” past is completely different from their present, and that the Arabs of the peninsula who are now adopting their language and religion are none other than Bedouins or “camel shepherds,” as Youssef Zeidan and other so-called intelligentsia described.

We all remember what a Lebanese official said in a television interview, describing Saudis as “Bedouins.” The strange thing is that the camel alone turns into a symbol of backwardness only because it is associated with the Arabs and the desert, while this attribute is not applicable to the rest of the animals.

The secret is that the camel is an icon of the Arab race, what a despicable racism. We do not forget that one part of this negative image was formed and established by virtue of the fact that the Gulf States, in the initial period of the introduction of public education, hired teachers and experts from neighboring countries, and these teachers performed their duty well.

Development and the accompanying educational renaissance began later in the Gulf than in the rest of the Arab countries. But the YouTubers, I’m talking about here, don’t pay attention to how far we have marched forward toward accomplishing progress since then till date.

Thus, the issue turned into a civilizational or cultural rivalry. The clamor for enlightenment from the part of these “modernists” has become a regression to prehistoric glories and the revival of mother languages and fading ethnicities, and in this direction they are like seeking refuge from a burning fire.

This is paradoxical, to claim modernity while you are calling for a return to the recently explored glories of the past featuring backwardness compared to the modern era. These archaeological finds should have been an addition to enrich the present, not a demolition shovel to break it up and tear it down.

Our Arab world still suffers from mentalities stuck in the labyrinths of ideology that blind people lead them to wander, but the setbacks of the Arab “Spring” began to awaken minds and return them to the path of reason and reality, instead of an Utopian world.

Allow me, dear reader, to say that I am the last person who would object to the Arab brothers bragging about their races and their glorious past, but not at the expense of the Arab race, Arab culture and living reality. All cultures, languages, and human achievements — ancient and modern — deserve appreciation and respect, provided that they do not despise other cultures and do not be a source of strife that leads to the disintegration of cohesion and political stability.

Celebrating the ancient past of each region is a historical responsibility, and a very refined civilized behavior. However, this well-deserved celebration of the past should not be an invitation to divide the ranks and destroy the linguistic and cultural unity that was achieved as a result of the message of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or the denial of the political unity that began to take shape since the early Islamic ages. The history should go forward and should not go backwards.

Ancient civilizations are glorious and they are worthy of pride, research and investigation, but they should not turn into shackles around our necks that drag us back, or a veil over our eyes that blinds us to the achievements of the present, or a tool in the hands of those who do not want us achieving goodness so as to divide our ranks and sow discord and division.

Attention to the ethnicities of the past should not distract us from the cultural and linguistic unity we enjoy at present. Our linguistic unity and our common history since the Prophet’s time and the early ages of Islam are the secret of our strength and the repository of our lively contemporary culture.

If these YouTubers opened up their minds, it would be evident to them that all the Gulf States constitute an ideal example of development, peace, security and unity in the Middle East, and the GCC is a living example of the desired Arab unity. Our motto is development and achievement, not misleading ideologies and slogans. And whoever takes one step towards us with brotherhood and cooperation, it would be sufficient for us to cut the rest of the way, no matter how long it takes.

I would like to remind these YouTubers that a good percentage of families in their countries are leading a dignified life from the incomes of their children who are being hired at the booming labor markets in the Gulf countries and who live with us and among us, reinforced, honored and welcomed, and their testimonies would substantiate it.


April 11, 2022
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