Monday, May 13, 2013

The Irony of Comparing Syria and Qatar: Countries and Cultures Can Fluctuate

The pro-Assad/pro-Syrian Arab Republic Facebook account Amazing Syria has created the below meme showing how advanced Syria was 77 years ago with a functioning parliament while the (alleged photo of) Qatar shows desert bedouin living in a tribal culture.

The photo shows what a leg up the French-mandate gave Syria by ensuring Syria had minority protections, parliamentary government, and a mixture between religion, nationalism, and secularism cultures functioning together.  This was Arabia still in the post-Napoleon shock, the Arabia which looked towards Europe for ideas to adapt into their own civilization.  Meanwhile Qatar survived the threat of Saudi invasion by being protected by British naval guns.  Despite this Doha remained a poor Arab backwater pearl diving village.

Now let us compare Syria and Qatar today.

Note:  This image was chosen to show damage in Syria.  This is not meant to endorse the Free Syrian Army
Syria is torn between the dead European model of National Socialism (Arab variety) and half implemented local Islamism.  The Damascus government has tried to push secular Arab nationalism under a Spanish fascism framework while also trying to push a peaceful Islamist framework.  The Assads have turned the Alawite religion from a Gnostic mix to a Muslim sect.  This bipolar movement has violently failed as regional and global Islamism seeks pan-Islamism free from secular, local control.

Meanwhile Doha, capital of Qatar, is building up.  Photo by Catholicgauze
Meanwhile Qatar has embraced the Islamist form (not alternative but form) of globalization (as compared to Western or neo-Socialist Latin American globalization) with confidence.  Qatar seeks to be a global culture capital by funding the source for Arab news, building museums to show case different cultures, and host international forms.  While the government is openly Wahhabi it allows limited minority protection.  Qatar's geography has also helped with a large oil reserve to buy off the low amount of citizens.

It is undeniable that civilization and high culture has thrived in Syria much longer than in Qatar.  However, the past is dead unless it is applied to the present and future.  It is not what one culture or country had in the past but how a country or culture leverages its history which counts.  Tradition is indeed the democracy of the dead, but the living can veto those votes by destroying the country/culture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those pictures of Syria are heart breaking.