By Mamdouh AlMuhaini
9 August 2017
On television screens, commentators and analysts are warning of the dangers of conspiracies which are being plotted against us. But we can only understand their fear of the shadowy enemies if we realize that they belong to a generation which saw a cataclysmic setback. They were subjected to a violent psychological shock after the Six Day War in 1967, and from then on, they saw plots and conspiracies everywhere. It is difficult to change their convictions after all this time, but it is important to highlight the rampant ideas of conspiracy, treachery and deceit to prevent its transmission from the earlier generation to the grandchildren.
In my opinion, there are three conspiracies which control our minds. But before we enumerate them, we have to understand the magic and attractiveness of conspiracy theory. It is a comfortable psychological mechanism because it relieves the self - or the people - from full responsibility and puts the onus on others. The cause of the humiliating defeat is not the decrepit armies but the traitors at home and the malicious enemies abroad. It also achieves the so-called “scapegoat” concept. All of my flaws and missteps are blamed on the other. I then execute all of my faults and I become psychologically cleansed. It is also an appropriate way to escape reality and not face the truth. This is why it is told with an intelligent twist and an attractive storyline that does not correspond to the cold reality that lacks the heat of the drama and the plots of action. Conspiracies Isolate humans and draw them into a world of magic, to finally set them on the throne of the victors.
Why then would anyone want to return to a rigid reality with no courtesy where one is humiliated and defeated? Of course, he would prefer to smoke the cannabis of conspiracies instead of waking up, regaining consciousness and discovering the bitter truth.
For these and other reasons, conspiracy theory has become widespread. The most prominent of which are:
The Political Conspiracy
In short, this plot believes that the Western countries, mainly the US, intend to tear us apart, exploit our wealth and ultimately subject us to its authority. Because of this thinking, terms such as neo-colonialism, subordination, submission, Americanization and Zionism have spread. But a little reflection on reality and history reveals to us that it is a lie that plays on the instincts of dignity, honor and the demonization of others.
The Arab people have not been torn apart and their wealth has not been plundered by the West, but by tyrannical rulers such as Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad. The governments that got rid of this illusion are the most successful not only in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but in Korea, Japan, Singapore and Chile. All of these countries strengthened their relations with the West politically and economically and ultimately flourished. This approach stems from an old vision of European colonialism, but it is a historical stage that has passed and cannot be repeated. The world is changing and the international order has settled on fixed laws that cannot be breached.
Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood are the ones who propagated the idea of political conspiracy and promoted the idea of a war with the “infidel” West and we all know the devastation they have caused. The political plot has not only become a way to escape the real causes of failure but has transformed into an emotional slogan under which the greatest tragedies are committed. Iranians kill Syrian children and chant slogans of ‘Death to America and Israel’!
The Religious Conspiracy
This plot summarizes the popular saying that there is a war against Islam and Muslims. But if we look at reality a little, we see that Muslims thrive and succeed in Western countries more often than they do in their countries of origin. If there were an actual state of war, why are they allowed to live there? Why give them the chance to succeed? Whoever distorted the image of Islam are not the Westerners but Zarqawi, Baghdadi and the leaders of terrorist organizations. As London elected a Muslim mayor, terrorists blew up markets, trains and airports and killed innocent people. There are extremists who say that the West's conspiracy is even worse. It aims to defame Islam and Americanize it by spreading teachings such as tolerance and co-existence among sects.
But these ideas are not western, and Muslims have witnessed long periods of tolerance and prosperity before the logic of extremists prevailed and children learnt how to hate those who practise a different religion and doctrine. The ideas of tolerance and coexistence have nothing to do with conspiracies, but are important mechanisms to reduce hatred within societies. Instead of sectarian strife and torn societies, tolerance and co-existence serve higher national and humanitarian goals. It is the conspirator who forbids it and does not promote it.
It is hard to say that the sectarian war between Muslims in several countries occurred because Western demons whispered in their minds. We must not forget that we are fighting and degenerating before we knew the West in contemporary history and ISIS and Hezbollah will not perish even if the United States were to do so tomorrow.
The religious conspiracy is just a trick designed by hardliners to drive out humanitarian ideas from influencing and rationalizing our culture. Even these valuable examples of our Islamic and Arab heritage and history are exploited in order to promote narrow-mindedness so as to block any question that might cause its shaking and then ultimate collapse.
This plot claims that there are plans to change the values of societies aimed at blurring its identity and values. The source of this idea is the ancient isolation of the peoples where any other stranger is suspected of bringing evils and diseases. But this is an idea whose logic has collapsed as the boundaries have faded with the invention of planes and communications. We discovered that no one was watching us and waking up from sleep to undermine our societies.
Now, we are sending our children to study abroad. The idea of identity is no longer rigid but sophisticated and constantly changing. Healthy identity is renewable and open to different languages and cultures, unlike the fixed identity that lives in the past. The past will not reemerge. Individuals are living with multiple identities and even different nationalities without any contradiction. Conspiracy in the community happens by isolating and restricting it and not vice versa. The conspiracy mongers say that women are the target of social conspiracy aimed at corrupting their values. But experience has shown that this is just an illusion, and empowering women is beneficial not just to them but to the society as a whole which they help nurture, while they enjoy full respect and acquire the necessary skills.
This may seem as an axiom to some, yet these ideas continue to perpetuate and pass from one generation to the other. It is important to criticize and expose its flaws until it is surrounded by only a few supporters. The logic of conspiracy will not die and is present in all societies, even the most sophisticated ones, but it is confined to limited sectors of the suspicious and the obsessed, and should not be propagated by teachers, preachers, journalists, university professors, news analysts and news anchors.
Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms.