Saturday, May 31, 2008

Life Imitating Art

The recent unfolding of various political events locally and regionally has come in such an organized orchestrated manner that one cannot help but wonder who is the maestro behind this brilliant orchestration.

Amid all the chaos, there is a method that has become predictable even to the most politically unsavvy. It reminds me of the use of foreshadowing in literature, where careful use of hints and clues suggest what is to become reality later.

Locally we have seen this with staged scandals that miraculously become a matter of fact once people get slowly but surely primed to accept them. Be it the idea of a casino or the sale of prime strategic assets, to name a few. Whatever the issue is, there is a crafty propaganda machine working the media in ways that are extremely conniving. Being at the receiving end, one cannot help but be suspicious and critical.

On a more serious level is the unfolding of events on a regional level. The past decade has been notorious for that. We have seen talks of a Shiite crescent, the circulation of a new map for the Middle East, Condoleezza Rice’s carefully timed declaration of the birth of a new Middle East, the division of Iraq into three provinces, and recently the reconciliation between opposing factions in Lebanon leading to the end of the recent stalemate there. Following the Doha accord, speculations about the weakening of the Arab moderates and the rise of extremists (in this case Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas) have been on the rise.

My view on all of this is paradoxical. I do not happen to subscribe to nor disagree with either argument (Moderates versus extremists). There is one thing for sure, what we are seeing today is an opening act to a finale that we will end up with tomorrow. And the end seems grim. At this point it is a matter of reading the signs and following the clues and hints we are systematically receiving on daily basis. I have a strong feeling that this is the same situation we found ourselves in over a decade ago with the hammering of Iraq which eventually culminated with 9/11, the grand opening of “Al-Qaeda” on the international scene which eventually lead to seizing full control over Afghanistan and more important to the occupation of Iraq. The polarization of the region in the era of a monopolar world is puzzling to say the least. Unless having both polars work against each other serves a higher interest invisible to the ordinary observer. History of the region is repeating itself. The demise of our region in the past came at a time when the modus operandi of the “higher interests” was “divide and conquer”.

Going back to my foreshadowing theory, the question remains what are the signs that we should be looking at carefully today in order to decipher the notes of the symphony at play?

The best answer that I can think of for now comes from a scene in “Shakespeare in Love”:

Philip Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Hugh Fennyman: So what do we do?
Philip Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Hugh Fennyman: How?
Philip Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery

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