Iraqi researcher Abdul-Hussain Shaaban participated in a panel on Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV and said that the suppression of liberties and lack of democracy have led to the collapse of pan-Arabism and of Arab Marxism, and have “raised question marks” regarding the Islamic enterprise, “even in its enlightened form.” Shaaban compared the anti-West notions of the Arab world to Islamophobia in the West and said that the Arabs’ rejection of the West stems from their own backwardness. The show aired on February 9, 2016.
Following are excerpts
Abdul-Hussain Shaaban: The failure of the nation state here, the suppression of liberties, the lack of democracy, freedom of speech, and equality -all these have brought about the failure of the pan-Arab enterprise, as well as the failure of the leftist-Marxist enterprise. Now the Islamic enterprise - even in its enlightened form - Now the Islamic enterprise - even in its enlightened form - has raised many question marks. It is being challenged by the fanatic Islam, the extremist, invalidating, and radical Islam, which rejects the other altogether.
In the West there is something called "Islamophobia" - fear of Islam. They try to pin everything on Islam and on the Muslims, claiming that this religion incites to terrorism, violence, and so on. Yet we too have a backward system, which thinks that anything related to the West is racist and oppressive, whereas in fact, the West has been the reservoir of all that human civilization has produced: technology, science, literature, arts, culture, architecture... This stems from our backwardness. Some of the blame for this backwardness is to be pinned on the West, Some of the blame for this backwardness is to be pinned on the West, which prevented us from joining the convoy of awakening and progress, and some of the fault is our own. We have had a share in the creation of our own backwardness, with our dictatorships, with our tyranny, and because of our inability to join the convoy of civilization and progress, and because of our inability to join the convoy of civilization and progress, like other peoples have done, because of our sectarian, denominational, religious, and tribal conflicts.
Interviewer: Do we deserve to join…
Abdul-Hussain Shaaban: We do not deserve this. I am merely analyzing the reality. This is the reality. If you were to ask me how to move forward, If you were to ask me how to move forward, I would say that we need to spread democratic liberties, and to follow the path of independent development, and to follow the path of independent development, of awakening of civilizations, of Arab unity, of treaties with other countries and peoples, of economic development, particularly independent and continuous development, and of social justice. These are all elements of an Arab awakening enterprise, which can face the West and any other challenges it may come up against.