For some reason today, my thoughtline was like this:
Why do I, or anyone else, really give a toss about politics? It's become kind of an obsession, this keeping up to date with everything that goes on in the world. I think I've spent more time in the last five years reading and finding out about politics, political theory, political history etc than I've ever spent on university and coursework over the same period. The only other thing that comes close to that is football.
I don't think that's healthy. Is it only me though? Aren't there out there at least a few people who've spent a healthy share of life up with political events in the world?
What's the point of it all? Is it really worth spending so much time on political events? Is it really going to affect our lives so much that we'd dedicate so much time to it?
Are we ever going to try and actually have an input in real political life? Probably not. It's one thing to talk and analyze political events, its completely another thing to actually try to work for something that you might believe in.
That entails getting involved in some stuff that might get you in trouble; It might mean you don't get a certain job, or you might face "obstacles" in getting any sort of transaction, such as buying land or getting a house built.
Basically, it's a big stepforward, and a step, I think that most of us would not dare take.So then I thought, so what's the point of reading and finding more about politics? We're not going to have any input into it whatsoever, and althought it's nice to keep up to date with most important things, what's the point of bothering with the rest of the other events that occur?
It's as if we've become like the (in)famous "thuwar al7amraa2" (the red (cafe) revolutionaries), who used to gather in the legendary "al7amrraa" coffeeshop in Beirut. They would sit there, drinking coffee, eating mezze, smoking on a pipe and discuss their theories of how to rescue the arab world. They would discuss in all sincerity the theories of communism ,Marx, Engel, Leninist, Trotskyist, bolshivism, Stalinism, Maoism. They'd discuss the nationalist ideology of jamal abdulnasser, mohammed husseing heikal, and the islamist ideology of Sayed Qutb and al ekhwan al muslimeen. They'd spend hours wrangling about the best way to progress the Arabic nation forward, and whether baathism or pan-arabism was what the masses needed.
Yet they never did anything.
You still find quite a few of them staying in London every once in a while. You're most likely to spot them around the bays water or edgeware road area, where they'd be sitting, ten different arabic newspapers thrown around the the table, a coffee in front him, and he justs sits there for hours, puffing away on his cigar, reading every single column in the newspaper.
If there's one thing I know, it's that I hope I don't end like that. But aren't we really by reading and commenting on politics being just like how these guys used to be, in the coffeeshop? At least they got to discuss pretty fancy stuff such as Lenanism and Trotskyism. We end up discussing Bushism, Blairism, Bin Ladinism, and Al Qaedism (they don't even sound as good do they?)
That's the story, I think, of the "Arab Street". Most people would've been interested in politics at some point in their lives. They might read and find about political events in the area. A few of these might even try to participate in a very small scale, such as attending a demonstration. In the end, the vast majority decide for one reason or another decide it's not worth it to pursue this on any further scale, as it entails the distruption of your whole life. Hence, we end up trying to to maximize what we can given the circumstances we are in.
We might read about politics, we might even comment on it in a blog, but at they end of the day none of us are particularly bothered (or have the guts) to do even the smallest thing about it. So why bother keep up with it? Aren't we really just like thuwar Al 7amraa2? Isn't it just much smarter to get on with your life, get into business or banking and try to live the best you can under the conditions you are in? No one really wants to end up like thuwar al 7amraa2.