We are all Arabs aren't we? From the gulf to the ocean. We all share common goals and purposes. We all want, appreciate, and strive for democracy. We will remain diverse but united.
In Lebanon, differences are split along whether you are druze, christian, sunni, or shia. The most important issue of the day is the conflict with neighbouring Syria. In Iraq, if you were shia you voted for a shia, Kurdish for a Kurdish, and if sunni, just didn't vote. The result is a deadlocked parliament on sectarian lines that pays lip service to the idea of national unity. In Saudi Arabia, in El Ehsaa the majority of the winners in the council elections were shia, everywhere else they were islamist wahhabis. In Algeria, it's berbers against arabs. In Sudan, violence is verging on genocide.
In Bahrain, it seems Bahraini is not entirely how you define yourself nowadays. You are either shi3i, sunni, houli, bedouin, bahrani, 3ijmi or mojannas (naturalized from yemen, balushestan, jordan, or syria), with each side accusing the other of not being fully or properly bahraini. Some of us have ended up actually hating Syria, Jordan, and Yemen because of naturalization. Each side obviously votes for his own side, so like most other places in the Arabic world, we've got democracy split on sectarianism.
True to form, the recent Arab League meeting lived up to its expectations. Half the leaders didn't show up, nothing about the events in Lebanon or in Palestine were discussed, and as expected there were the usual useless arguments, ended by lip service being paid to the idea of Arab unity.
Is this the bargain that we get out of pluralism and democracy? Enshrining divisions on sectarian and dogmatic lines? Is national sovereignty all about getting into fights and squabbles with neighbouring countries that are supposed to be allies?
Nasser must be turning in his grave right now. The one good thing (out of many bad things) that his legacy left, the idea that we are all arabs, is slowly being eroded. Gone are the days when arabic unity actually meant and stood for something, where no matter if you were sunni, shi3i, houli, bedouin, egyptian, algerian, sudanian, black, white, brown, you were still arabic. Just look at the difference between the Arab League at its first inception and now.
Gone are the days when the Arabic world was united on its issues. Nasser's statement of "hold up your head my brother... colonialism has gone" is dead as Elvis. They're better than us in everything. Sports, science, economies, business, politics, military... They even dictate our political future and developments. They even now have the nerve of instructing us on how our religion should be moulded. We depend on them entirely for grants and the well being of our economy; if for any reason their economy is hit, then all our oil is worthless without their dollars.
The Arabic world was barely every a united place. A hundred years ago it was divided on tribal, ethnic, and sectarian lines. The broad idea of "Arabic" barely even existed. People were 7uwai6at, 3nezy, shamy, hashemi, al saoud. Arabism, while also creating many drawbacks, made great strides in making us that we were all part of a greater constructed entity. Now we're back to tribalism and sectarianism cloaked under pluralism and democracy. Sunnis distrusting shias and vice versa. Neighbouring countries making supreme enemies of each other, and vast areas engulfed in petty conflicts. The result is each turning to his own, fighting only for himself and his family.
All we can hope for is that there is a silver lining. We must hope that this is a phase that we have to go through before reaching the promised land. We must hope that at the end of a storm there's a golden sky, with the sweet silver song of a lark. We must walk on with hope in our heart, though our dreams be tossed and blown. Surely, after all the setbacks, we are close to a breakthrough?