Another issue on my mind is the lack of collaboration and cooperation between the Arab states. Roger Allen came and provided a lecture on Arabic literature and revealed a very interesting frustration that is blatant to any individual that observes the separatism and violence between interest groups, parties and tribes in throughout the Middle East. The most disastrous and prominent example that comes to mind is Iraq. Instead of employing democracy as a means by which all members of the community can seek protection under the law, progress, development and hope for a brighter future, the Arab mentality is to dwell on the differences. What sets us apart. How are we better than you? How can I undercut you so that my interests overpower yours instead of working in accordance with yours? Why must there be political, social and religious dissonance in all things?
As Roger Allen laid out the scene of a literary conference hosted by the German government, he noted that none of the Arab dignitaries or writers interacted and exchanged ideas with the others. Instead, they stayed at their booths, focused on themselves and left without gaining much of anything from the experience. Politics is messier, yet similar phenomena occur because the mindset of the people must change. The culture of separatism, division and degrading nationalism need to be reassessed, and harnessed in so that the Arab world can come together as a united voice for peace, progress and identify the beauty of their shared humanity and develop thriving societies. National pride and respect for others are not mutually exclusive, but rather complementary and essential to the international community. Individuality and success can define each state and person, but it does not have to be a dividing and alienating factor.
Allen frankly stated that the Arab League is a waste of time and resources because it does not produce anything. That is an unfortunate case! I believe this inefficiency is largely due to the great barriers that fellow Arabs place upon others. Come on, guys! Pull it together and look beyond the superficial differences. Pan-Arabism doesn't have to be a dead and outdated movement.