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Posts Tagged ‘Imaginary Certitudes

Critique of Amine Maalouf’s “A World Adrift” (May 10, 2009)

 

I read all of Maalouf’s 11 books in their original language French. I have already published eight posts with themes inspired from “Le Dereglement du Monde” (A World Adrift) with expansion and re-arrangement for logical flow and in a different style; for example “China and India Empires”, “Instantaneous Expediencies”, “Minorities in the Process of Disappearing: Iraq Case”, “Misleading Legitimacies”, “Imaginary Certitudes”, “A Way out of History”, “Move Inland, Son”, and “Three Global Temptations”

. I have already reviewed at least three of Amine Maalouf’s books; in addition to “A World Adrift”, I reviewed “Origins” and extensively reviewed “The Garden of Light”.

            Amine Maalouf is from Lebanon by origin and settled in France during the civil war and has been a French citizen for 30 years; he received many book awards and acclaims of the highest honors from the French Academy of Literature.

            My critiques are mainly focused on the style of his latest book.  I had the visceral impression that Maalouf is an “imprisoned westernized academics” that has to prove at every turn that he is a western mind and thus, he has to insist on introspective paragraphs to settle his credibility as an impartial author who obeys the cretirion and restrictions of western demands on acceptability.  I admit, if I were not a Levantine and fluent in French, I would have been lost and given up on finishing the book.

            I was frustrated that Maalouf had to persist in almost every page that he is no scientist or has no scientif credentials to confirm that the climate is changing because of the over concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.  He had to fall back on Pascal’s logic that the remedies for reducing CO2 are beneficial to earth climate even if this gas turns out not to be the culprit.  All the western nations have been substituting CO2 emiting generators and vehicles with “clean” energy technologies for decades and they were not waiting for Maalouf’s Pascal logic to confirm the obvious in action.  Maalouf has the intelligence and references and he did his research and he didn’t need to ruin a good chapter with convoluted excuses on his scientific shotcomings.or credentials.  The reading becomes pretty boring unless Maalouf is trying implicitely to give literature a higher standard than sciences in human progress.

            My example of clear style is that section on “Three Global Temptations”: it stated the dilemma and the resolution with a supportive practical story in a Levantine style. The fundamental global problems are established and they need to be read as a Bible for human future survival.  That is what most people read and how they assimilate critical urgencies in ideas, the Levantine Bible style.

I stated in a previous post that “The Levantine style (basically the style of the Bibles) is characterized by direct pronouncements expressing feeling and describing what is seen, heard, and assimilated.  The sentences are not encumbered by prefixes such as “I think”, “I believe”, “I am not sure”, “It is possible”, “There might be other versions”, “I might be wrong”, or “It is my opinion”, or what the western writers have adopted from the Greek “rational” style.  The style in the Levant sounds confident, categorical, and conveying the total truth though it does not mean that the people cannot discriminate or feel the variations, possibilities, and uncertainties.  The writers in the Levant simply feel that all these attachments are redundant since it is a fact of life that nothing is categorical or certain; thus, superfluous additions that disturb the flow of thoughts and ideas that need to be conveyed are not appreciated.  Consequently, the author feels that the western readers of the Bible should tone down their uneasiness with “outrageous” direct and assured pronouncements in the Bibles.”

 

I claim that if you still need to add superfluous corrective, introspective, or “diplomatic” paragraphs then you might as well warn your readers that the piece is still in the draft stage, that you are still ruminating and reflecting, that you are still in the stage of talking to yourself, and that you need your readers to help you out finish the article.  It is my position that when you are ready to publish then you should adopt the Levantine affirmative style, the style that confirm to your readers that you have thoroughly thought out your topic, that you have written several drafts, that you have regurgitated your positions in many scarp papers, and that all you need from your readers is their alternative opinions, positions, and their own personal experiences to round up the topic.

            I recommend for the next edition that Amine Malouf add an introductory introspective chapter and then let the ideas and arguments flow un-interrupted. He may as well add a brief introspection to the beginning of a chapter that reflects his shortcoming that are relevant to the chapter (for example scientific credentials) and permit the reader to focus on the topic.

            If Maalouf fails to re-edit his manuscript then I would be forced to re-write it under the title “The Bible of Global Problems: Global Resolutions”

 

 

 

 Malouf add an introductory introspective chapter and then let the ideas and arguments flow un-interrupted. He may as well add a brief introspection to the beginning of a chapter that reflects his shortcoming that are relevant to the chapter (for example scientific credentials) and permit the reader to focus on the topic. If Maalouf fails to re-edit his manuscript then I would be forced to re-write it under the title “The Bible of Global Problems: Global Resolutions” heir own personal experiences to round up the topic. I recommend for the next edition that Amine Malouf add an introductory introspective chapter and then let the ideas and arguments flow un-interrupted. He may as well add a brief introspection to the beginning of a chapter that reflects his shortcoming that are relevant to the chapter (for example scientific credentials) and permit the reader to focus on the topic. If Maalouf fails to re-edit his manuscript then I would be forced to re-write it under the title “The Bible of Global Problems: Global Resolutions”

319.  Jerusalem: Ur Salam (City of Peace) (May 2, 2009)

 

320.  Bi-Weekly Report (#20) on Lebanon and the Middle East (May 3, 2009)

 

321.  Misleading Legitimacies (May 4, 2009)

 

322.  Imaginary Certitudes (May 5, 2009)

“A World Adrift” by Amine Maluf (May 6, 2009)

 

            I have already published four posts with themes inspired from this book. I have already reviewed at least three of Amine Maaluf’s books. This French manuscript “Le Dereglement du Monde” is of 314 pages and divided into four chapters: Deceptive Victories, Misleading Legitimacies, Imaginary Certitudes, and A very long Prehistory.  The main quote of the book is from William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) who wrote “Man has survived because he was too ignorant to know how to realize his wishes (desires).  Now that he can realize his wishes, then he must either change them or perish”.

            Amine Maluf is from Lebanon by origin and settled in France during the civil war. He writes in French and has published more ten books, most of them have been translated in Arabic and a few in English; he received the highest honors from the French Academy of Literature.

            Two fundamental premises guide this essay:

            First, the moral ascendance of values is inadequate to catching up with the exponential progress in sciences and technologies.

            Second, most crisis are global and on world level but they are tackled on individual State’s interest, perception, regulation, management, and control.

 

            The mains problems to analyze and resolve for the next generations are:

First, how the US and Europe reacted to the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

 

Second, how to brake and then break off the cycle for the disappearing minorities, their particular languages, and literature. (Visit my post on minorities in Iraq).

 

Third, how to resolve the recurring financial and economical crisis. (Visit my post on Third World War is tolling)

 

Fourth, how to resolve the climatic changes and environmental degradation.

 

Fifth, how to satisfy the legitimate desires for consumer goods for the expanding middle classes in China and India.  (Visit my posts on China and India Empires)

 

Sixth, how to resolve extremist attitude in religion and nationalism (terrorism, genocides, racism, apartheid, weapons of mass destruction).  Please visit my post on “Misleading Legitimacies” and “Imaginary Certitudes”

 

Seventh, resolving the problem of instantaneous demands, acquisition, communication, information around the world. Visit my post on “instantaneous exigencies”

 

Eight, the urgency to creating reference values for a sustainable earth because history did not offer us any reference moral values for our modern days global problems..

Imaginary Certitudes (May 6, 2009)

 

 

The US republican notion of capitalism is plainly discredited; communism was discredited since 1989; the doctrine of the Christian religion was discredited since the French Revolution in 1787 and a century before that but religion cannot be eradicated from the spirit of the masses.  The power of religion is that you don’t need to apply or fear to be ex-communicated whether you are a believer or not or whether your opinions are not compatible with the predominant ideology.  Religion exercises its legitimacy once it combines the doctrines of “communism” for equal opportunities and the aspiration for independence against a usurper.  That is what extremist Islam has managed to package its ideology; an ideology targeting the poor and disinherited who were deprived of dignity and were humiliated by the western powers.

Let me resume my previous article on “Misleading Legitimacies“.  Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt managed to capture legitimacy in the emotions and spirit of the Arab populations as the leader of the Arab World by politically defeating the joint military attack by Britain, France, and Israel in 1956 to recapture the Suez Canal.  The Arab populations were satisfied that their crushed dignity for over 5 centuries was re-emerging among the nations (the western nations).  Even the crushing military defeat by tiny Zionist Israel in 1967 maintained Gamal Abdel Nasser as the legitimate leader and most of the Arab State leaders converged to him to resolving their conflicts with their neighbors or within their State.

After the death of Gamal Abdel Nasser (The Raiyess) in 1970 the goal of Arab leaders was to re-capture Arab legitimacy.  The successor of the (Raiyess) in Egypt was Sadate who needed to rely on the legitimacy of the “Moslem Brotherhood” to strengthen his power and thus proclaimed to be “The First of the Believers (among Moslems)”.  All the Arab leaders realized that legitimacy reside in convincing victories against common enemies to the “Arabs”, or mainly any western nation and Israel the closest geographically.  The initial victory in 1973 on the Sinai front against Israel was cancelled out by bedding with the USA and “My Dear Friend Henry (Kissinger)” Sadate was hated by most Arabs and no one shed a tear when he was assassinated.

Dictator Saddam Hussein enjoyed potentials in literate population, large army, and natural resources; he jumped at the occasion when the USA encouraged him to invade Iran of Khomeini.  This time, the enemy was the Persians who had re-captured lands that the Arab and Ottoman Empires had secured centuries ago and called “Arabstan” or Khuzestan. After 8 years of mutual slaughtering in the battle field Saddam Hussein reverted to its neighboring “Arab” State of Kuwait and was vanquished by the USA, the arch enemy of the Arabs.  Saddam lost his legitimacy. 

Saudi Arabia’s successive monarchs endeavored to gain legitimacy in the Arab World through building thousands of mosques, appointing clerics who favored the Wahhabit sect, and lavishing petro-dollars for settling conflicts among the Arab States.  Saudi Arabia has been working for the long term by proselytizing their conservative extremist Wahhabit sect among the Sunni Moslems and gaining legitimacy by proclaiming that they are the “Servitors or Guardians of the Holy Kaaba and Medina (al Haramine)”

 

The progress in Europe was established indirectly by a centralized Papal spiritual authority.   Ironically, this spiritual centralization was acquired when the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity.  Christianity could have evolved without any serious centralization if it was not ordered by the Roman ideological system of centralized power.  Hundreds of Christian sects existed in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Greece, and throughout the Roman Empire before the year 325; they were persecuted as “heretics” after the conclave of Nicee in 325.  Papal Rome hindered progress and change vigorously for long period but once society expressed its willingness for change then it followed suit and even staunchly maintained the changes and supported them against any refracting bishop or religious Christian sects.  Centralized Papal Rome was a counterbalance to the tyranny of temporary authorities who had to compromise and rectify policies that challenged the dignity and well being of the poor citizens.  

Islam had no such centralized spiritual authority; it viewed with suspicion any kinds of religious centralization; it didn’t appreciate mediators between the believer and his God.  Thus, the political sultans and sovereigns dominated the religious spiritual power; in most instances the monarch grabbed the legitimacy of caliph. Thus, the counterbalance to tyranny lacked in the Moslem world and any recognized cleric, ordered by a sultan, could proclaim a “fatwa” or an injunction for the people to obey as a religious obligation.  You could have several “fatwas” concurrently injuncting opposing orders.

The problem in Islam is not in the source or the Koran but the free interpretations of any monarch or leader at any period.  There are no stable and steady spiritual legitimacy in any interpretations that can be changed or neglected at other periods.

 

The author Amine Maaluf recounts this story” A Moslem woman applies in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) for a private club that would allow Moslem women to meet and maybe share common hot baths with sauna and Jacuzzi (hammam). A week later the municipality rejected the application on ground that the local Moslem cleric (Imam) had an objection to the club” If the woman was European would the municipality ask the opinion of a Christian cleric? It would certainly not. 

What this story proves is that, under the good intentions of respecting ethnic minorities, the European are exercising covert apartheid; they are sending the message that minority rights are not covered by the UN declarations which are supposed to be valid for all human kinds.  The human rights approved by all States within the UN convention are applicable to all regardless of color, religion, sex, or origin.  What is fundamentally needed is that all States feel that the United Nation is a credible institution that is not dominated by veto power super nations and that it has effective executive power to enforce its human rights proclamations to all world citizens and political concepts.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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