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Killing the Arab father

January 23, 2014 - 12:06:36 am
The stage is always more set for the spread of an idea when the fluster vanishes. What has happened in the Arab world? Where are the slogans of freedom, democracy and justice raised on the streets of Tunis, Cairo, Tripoli, Sana’a and other cities, when revolutions erupted at the beginning of the Arab Spring at the end of 2010?

Repressive and authoritarian regimes have been overthrown, but tyranny has stayed. It returned wearing new masks in the name of patriotism, religion, doctrine, sect or tribe. What has made the situation worse is the rise of poverty, unemployment and class inequality. Oppression, injustice and sectarian, doctrinal and tribal tendencies have widened in society. As a result, the present has become more terrifying than the past. 

The region and its people could not escape patriarchal power. Even if you killed patriarchal power in Libya, imprisoned it in Egypt, exiled it from Yemen and are fighting it in Syria, it continues to exist and is capable of taking a new life from the womb of tyranny and dictatorship.  

This is a re-enactment of an old tale — “patricide”, which Sigmund Freud, the founding father of psychoanalysis, tackled in his research and analyses. It refers to a primitive group headed by a fierce father, who enjoys utilising the tribe, its destiny, riches and women. He kills his children and those who belong to them. 

The father grows old and new generations of sons are born. Children are kept away from the father by their mothers. As a result, a rebellious generation appears and decides to kill the father. They do, and cook him to eat to seize his strength and identify with him. But then they regret what they have done. They decide to revive an annual ritual for the father, and he is glorified and offered sacrifices.

The significance of this analysis comes primarily from its symbolism as it means to identify with the father (and primarily his power) and take his place, not to break off the relation with him. 

This is what happened with the Arab father. The dictator has been overthrown, but the break-off with dictatorship has not happened. What happened is identifying with dictatorship and practising all its powers, taking over its destinies and monopolising all decisions.
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