Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Shawra

“Why I was not asked to vote?”

A young man took the podium and talked. He said:

You the immigrants (converts to Islam who moved from Mecca to Medina); it is true that you were the first to embrace Islam.  But everyone later received the same privilege. 

After the Prophet death (632 AC) you have designated a man among you (first caliph Abu Bakr) to become the first successor; we, the common Moslems, were not consulted.

Again, you the elite immigrants have met in council (Shawra) and designated the second Caliph (Omar bin al Khattab) and we were not asked our opinion. 

You voted for the third Caliph (Othman Bin Affan) without our input.

You didn’t like Othman after 13 years of ruling us, and you assassinated him. 

You again designated Ali bin Abi Taleb for fourth caliph and the common Moslems were not invited to extend their opinions and preferences. 

Now you don’t like Ali.  What are you reproaching him for? Why have you decided to fight him by the sword? 

Has he done any reprehensible acts?  Is his election illegal, illicit or fraudulent?

Tell us why you want us to start a civil war (fitna)? You have got to surely convince us to join the battle. 

Tell us what it is all about? Why are you fighting?”

These are not current statements of a Moslem, Sunni or Shia or of another Islam sect. They were pronounced by a simple Moslem 1,400 years ago, during the first Islam civil war called the Battle of the Camel.

Aicha emulated the same tactics as the Prophet did before any military excursion: She negotiated with notables in Basra, explained the reasons of her dangerous move (it was to be the first civil war in Islam) and she opened free discussions for people to express their opinions in the mosque.

Mosques were the proper locations for open discussions under the protection of Allah.

Since time immemorial, the most common form of electing leaders is the peer council forum, (or Shawra in Islam) in political and professional voting systems.

It took the American revolution over 6 decades before attempting a modified form of universal voting system during President Andrew Jackson.

Pragmatically, the peer format is still practiced in the most democratic and developed States. It is the peer council that select the candidate, finance and organize political campaigns.

Even today, most political parties put forth the ideology that peer systems are the most viable systems in order to select experienced and reliable candidates who proved to be consistent and have conforming attitudes to the status quo.

Most political leaders who managed to succeed in their revolutions were convinced that no power can rely on the common people to snatch, sustain and consolidate institutions.

Peasants were historically catalogue as the most conservative and retrograde of citizens. The core members, and professional intelligentsia were considered to be the backbone for any renewal.

The leaders relied on a circle of experienced and professional activist and manipulators to organize, lead and control the movement of the masses.

The rhetoric and speeches of the political leaders fool the crowd into believing that they are the real power and that what is being done in their name is what’s best for them and for the nation.

May be peer councils is the case pragmatically, but universal voting systems, supported by a fair election law, have this major benefit of short-cutting the advent of virulent, violent and bloody insurgency movements.

Societies need a large span of peaceful continuity and stability in the laws in order to consolidate legitimacy and strengthen the institutions and to insure steady development.

The fact is that the developed superpower colonial States have devised a couple of Default political systems for the developing countries to emulate. For example, Democracy is in and Liberty is out. Free trades is in and self sufficiency is out… Otherwise, all hell of State supported media will come down on these retrograde political systems

 Syrian’s poet Adonis sends an Open Letter to Syrian President

My namesake Adonis, Syrian poet Ali Hamid Saeed Esber, born in 1930 in the mountain village of Qassibin, was awarded Germany’s prestigious Goethe Prize Wednesday.  He is an Alaouit (an Islamic sect that Sunnis considered as heretic for centuries, and still do in many ways, as is the family of Al Assad in power). Actually, my dad named me after the poet, who was already famous in the 50’s.  He is thus an older version of me.

This is an abridged translation from Arabic of the open letter published in the Lebanese daily Al-Safi (sentences in parenthesis are mine):

“Neither reality nor mind believes that democracy is about to be instituted in Syria, right after the eventual fall of the Assad regime.  However, it is not admissible to accept this violent security regime in Syria.

Without democracy, Syria is going to surely head to hell.  We have to steadily inch toward democratic institutions.  Western Democracy was unknown to modern Arab States, as it was historically unknown in Arabic culture.(The closest imitation was an assembly of leaders to come to a consensus: Shawra)

The pre-requisites for stable democratic systems are:

First, taking society out of the political cultural realm of “heavenly dictates” to the “earthly individual human rights”.  Basically, we have to separate State civil responsibilities from religious dogma.  The various religious political forms of government have killed citizens, physically and mentally, according to “religious laws”.

Second, democracy needs a climate of freedom of speech, opinions, and expressions:  Small minds can reduce rich texts into nothingness.

Third, leniency in difference of opinion is good, but what is required is equality under the laws of the land in matter of human rights.  The regime Baath Party failed to tailor-make a new modern suit and was comfortable resuming the old-fashioned, archaic traditional religious custom mentalities. The regime Baath Party failed in its mission of integrating society on the basis of a secular State.

The experiences in the various political ideologies failed in the Arab World to forming a modern citizen: they identified the citizen as related to his religious affiliation or tribal membership.

Fourth, the Syrian officials have to admit that their practices and application of the better principles of the Baath ideology came very short to target in forming a secular citizen.

“The Socialist Baath Party has not remained in power this long because of the strength of its ideology, but because of the power of its iron fist. Experience shows that this fist… can impose hegemony for a limited time only. It seems your destiny Mr. President (Bashar el Assad) is to sacrifice yourself for your mistakes and to give back voice to the people and let them decide”.

What a stable government requires?

First, identifying a citizen as a separate entity of his affiliation to his religious sect, tribe,…

Second, imposing equal rights under the laws of a secular land, regardless of genders or religious affiliation…

Third, reverting the sole power of extending legitimacy to the people…” (End of quotes)

The poet Adonis has refrained from openly criticizing Syrian authorities during the uprising. But he launched a scathing attack three weeks ago on all Arab rulers as “leaving behind nothing except breakdown, backwardness, retreat, bitterness and torture. They gathered power. They did not build a society. They turned their countries into a space of slogans without any cultural or human content.”

He said the uprising in Syria would test whether the Arab revolution would succeed in building “human civic life” that rises above religion.  Adonis fears that Arab uprisings might usher in Islamist rulers: He expressed skepticism that even “moderate Islam” would offer rights to non-Muslims.

Note 1: “The selection committee Goethe Prize considered Adonis the most important Arab poet of his generation and granted him the prize for his cosmopolitan (work) and contribution to international literature,” the German government said in a statement. “The pagan poet” will receive the 50,000 euro ($70,320) prize, which is awarded every three years, at a ceremony in Frankfurt, Goethe’s home city, on August 28.  The Syrian poet Adonis had championed democracy and secular thought in the Middle East, and is still very engaged to changing political and social structures.

Note 2: The Second link is in Arabic رسالة مفتوحة إلى الرئيس بشار الأسد) الإنسان، حقوقه وحرياته، أو الهاويه ,which was published yesterday in Lebanon’s daily al-Safir.

Note 3:  The poet Adonis was educated in a French high school before graduating from Damascus University in the 1950s and moving to Beirut, the cultural heart of the Arab Middle East.  He left Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and moved to France, but he still visits Damascus.

The poet Adonis has little sympathy for theories that seek to mold the Middle East into a single Arab Islamic culture, marginalizing ethnic minorities and diversity of thought. Adonis is a self-styled literary “revolutionary”:  He broke away from traditional Arab poetry, which from pre-Islamic times, espoused simple forms and language to convey profound themes about politics, love, culture and philosophy.

Adonis wrote in “Hand of Poetry, Open the book of the Horizon“: “I think that I’m a wave, traveling, since the days of Gilgamesh (a Sumerian king who ruled more than 4,000 years ago), toward Beirut and the Arabs”

Adonis hails from a long tradition of Arab poets who have acted as a force for modernity against strict interpretations of religious texts.  Adonis insists on putting religious topics into their proper context, historically, economically, and culturally.  Even supporters find it hard to follow the intense imagery and complex verse that has been his hallmark.

Note 4: When people asks me how I happened to be named after the “Greek God of Beauty” Adonis, I tell them that Adon is a Phoenician God of the first City-State of Byblos, the husband of Ashtarout (Astarte), another beauty.  I am not that beautiful:  I was saved the aches of the other spectrum of emotions…Khaled Yacoub Oweis wrote the announcement of the award in Amman (Reuters) on Wed May 25, 2011 9:04pm EDT

Note 5:  I read this piece of news that the open letter was published in Al Safir from the link https://nabeelblog.wordpress.com/…/adonis-open-letter-to-president

Note 6: The radical Islamists, particularly the Syrian kinds, have been lashing at Adonis in every occasion since the uprising.

Democracy in Islam: What kinds? (Mar. 23, 2010)

A little history to preparing the ground for understanding whether the appreciation of modern kinds of democracy is within Moslem traditions and customs.  The third caliph of the Moslems, Othman Bin Affan, started his reign well.  The pressures from Mecca oligarchic clans in his Quraich tribe encouraged Othman to appointing most governors and high posts officials from his own clan of Umayyad.  Thus,  discontent grew drastically; to make things worse, Othman built a lavish Palace in Medina (less than 25 years after the Prophet death in this city where he was buried).  Aicha (the youngest and most beloved of spouses) got wind that the political climate is deteriorating and opted not to intervene politically at this junction and gave the excuse of going on pilgrimage to Mecca:  People knew that she didn’t appreciate the fraudulent lies that this caliph introduced to the official Koran.

While in Mecca, angry mob coming from Basra (Iraq) entered the palace and assassinated Othman.  Aicha demanded from the newly designated Caliph Ali Bin Abi Taleb to put the assassins to trial but Ali didn’t react immediately.  While in Mecca, Aicha was approached by many Quraichi leaders such as Talhat and Zubeir (from the tribes of Othman); they managed to incite Aicha to take the lead and to march against Ali.

Aicha emulated the same tactics as the Prophet did before any military excursion: She drummed up support in the city of Bassora, negotiated with notables, explained the reasons of her dangerous move (it was to be the first civil war in Islam) and she opened free discussions for people to express their opinions in the mosque.  Mosques were the proper locations for open discussions under the protection of Allah.  A young man took the podium and talked. He said:

“You the immigrants (converts to Islam who moved from Mecca to Medina); it is true that you were the first to embrace Islam.  But everyone later received the same privilege.  After the prophet death (632 AC) you have designated a man among you (first caliph Abu Bakr) to become the first successor; we the common Moslems were not consulted. Again, you the elite have met in council (Shawra) and designated the second Caliph (Omar bin al Khattab) and we were not asked our opinion.  You voted for the third Caliph (Othman Bin Affan) without our input; you didn’t like Othman after 13 years of ruling us and you assassinated him.  You again designated Ali for fourth caliph and the common Moslems were not invited to extend their opinions and preferences.  Now you don’t like Ali.  What are you reproaching him for? Why have you decided to fight him by the sword?  Has he done any reprehensible acts?  Is his election illegal, illicit or fraudulent? Tell us why you want us to start a civil war (fitna)? You have got to surely convince us to join the battle.  Tell us what it is all about? Why are fighting?” Unfortunately, this young man ended paying his life for expressing his bold opinion and position

What would generally be called Sunni Moslems were those who preferred peace and stability instead of deciding for civil wars to changing wrong doings.  The Shiaa Moslems were categorized as those who abided by the Hadith injunction “The one who witness a reprehensible situation and injustice (al munkar) and does not try to prevent it and change the situation will encounter Divine punishment”

Paradoxically, in the battle of “The Camel”, the first Islam civil war, the Sunnis backed Ali (it was a reasonable position since Ali was just in his pronouncements ) and the Shiaa backed Aicha.  Caliphate Ali destroyed the unprofessional troops lead by Aicha:  13, 000 Moslems perished in that battle.  Ali spent many days in the battle field burying the dead from both sides.  Aicha was sent back to Medina where she kept her residence and focused her energy on gathering all of the Prophet’s sourats and verses and was the main pole for clarifications on legal issues and attacking the countless fraudulent Hadith (what the Prophet had said).

It was after the defeat of Aicha that Abu Bakra, a Moslem who was whipped by the second Caliph Omar for calumny, resumed his misogynist behavior and claimed hearing this Hadith from the Prophet Muhammad: “No prosperity for any society can come when a woman is in command.”  The next phase in Islam political structure was based on hereditary successions of the Caliphate with all the power that any monarch could dream of.

Note: Fatema Mernissi in her book “The political Harem” re-examined the mostly fraudulent Hadith related to women and male misogyny. Bukhara catalogued the Hadith and kept only 7275 as potentially valid (sahih) out of 600, 000 Hadith recognized as plainly fraudulent.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 1,426,900 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 774 other followers

%d bloggers like this: