Culture has been through ages the string that holds all constituents of societies together, and a highly influential cause that creates great convergence among different interests, views, and sectors. Culture is the smelter where the conflicting opposites and disparities are melted and formed together. People, who share the same culture, share the same past, present and future.
Members of the community ought to adhere to all causes that lead to unity, throwing away all kinds of distinction and discrimination. Such an attitude does not only reflect an awareness of the challenges facing the destiny of the community, but it also reflects loyalty and dedication to the cultural spirit that makes each individual get along well with the other members of society.
Evidence through history proved that only great nations had been able to get beyond the causes of disperse and divisions to remain united over the ages.
We have always felt, as Arabs, that Arabic is a great unifying factor that helps in establishing a unified culture that encompasses our thoughts, emotions, spiritual dimensions and our intellectual life. We have always been dreaming of an Arab unity that embodies our Arab culture. Regrettably, the dream remained a dream!
The Arab world is witnessing at the present time confusing events and developments. Observers talk of colonial plots to redistribute the areas of influence in the Middle East and North Africa by fragmenting the region into small sectarian and ethnic entities under the guise of democracy and the support of minorities’ rights, so as to create the so called the “New Middle East”. Culture, which has always been subject to sectarian divisions, is itself a target.
When cantons and small states emerge, each of them will seek to assure its existence and independence by emphasizing all aspects related to its cultural legacy, and perhaps, in extreme cases, by claiming the ownership of others’ cultural legacy. There will be a conflict on the ownership of arts, literature and perhaps the customs or traditions, including crafts and industries. The conflict may go further to disputing the ethnic origin of each creative person or thinker of our intellectuals, thus calling for dividing our history and the components of our civilization. It is indeed a disaster that will cause endless wars in the region. Examples on the new features of conflict are now emerging in the Arab and Muslim countries, and what we have witnessed recently in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and still suffer from its effects, is a scene of the plot intended for the region.
Being aware of the gravity of the conspiracy, and its disastrous results, is the first defensive step for the nations under attack. We believe that we will not be able to cope with the situation except with a genuine will of coexistence of all sects and ethnicities, and strive for peace and national security. People’s demands of decent life, more freedom, free speech, democracy and a wide scope of participation in power and decision-making should be fulfilled; otherwise we will all face more disastrous conflicts, divisions and fragmentation.
The adherence to the values of openness to the other should not turn our attention away from the cultural values and morals that bring us together. In culture, and all its aspects, that protect us against the perils of time, is our salvation. Culture is the lifeboat that takes us all to our bright future; a boat that never sails to save our lives without unity and solidarity, which will provide tranquility to the soul and peace to the mind.