The reader of history contemplating its events often comes to the conclusion summed up by our saying: “How similar tonight was to yesterday!” This is a saying that carries two meanings: an apparent meaning that history repeats itself, and a hidden meaning that states that man is unable to consider what happened in the past.
In his book, The Labyrinth of the Lost: (Le Labyrinthe des égarés: L'Occident et ses adversaires), Amin Maalouf stands at a pivotal moment in the history of the relationship between the West and its opponents, namely the moment known to us in the Arab world as the tripartite aggression against Egypt, an aggression committed by Britain, France and Israel. What is worth noting here is that this aggression, which took place in October 1956, coincided with the Soviet army’s invasion of Hungary and the casualties this invasion left behind among the ranks of those rising up against the Communist Party and Soviet influence.
Amin Maalouf did not stop at the similarity between the simultaneous Soviet attack and the tripartite aggression on the one hand, and the simultaneous Russian war on Ukraine and the Israeli-American aggression against Gaza on the other hand. This is because the book was written before the Al-Aqsa Flood. But he stopped at an important matter on which we can base our judgment on the tension occurring today between the West and its opponents.
Amin Maalouf explains to us how America sought to end the tripartite aggression against Egypt when it realized that this aggression distracted attention from the crimes of the Soviet Union and undermined the image of the West. America went so far as to threaten Britain by not granting it the loan it requested from the International Monetary Fund if it did not respond to the call to stop the fighting and withdraw its military power from Egypt.
Amin Maalouf goes on to say that, in the eyes of historians, this event has great significance indicating a shift in the balance of power, as all colonial powers lost their ability to intervene in regional conflicts without America’s blessing.
What is happening in Gaza demonstrates in an unprecedented way the lack of moral clarity in the American position and undermines nearly twenty years of the American administration’s efforts to win over the Arab and Islamic world through what was termed from within this administration as soft power.
When we reflect on what happened in the middle of the last century, and what is happening before our eyes today, we are faced with an obvious question: Doesn’t America’s persistence in supporting the war of extermination committed in Gaza – and what this war promises to expand the scope of the conflict – distract the world’s attention from what is happening between Russia and Ukraine? And in other places, and in tarnishing and tarnishing America’s image, not only in the Arab and Islamic world, but throughout the entire world?
This leads us to another question: Doesn’t America find a force within itself that will prevent it from continuing on this path, just as it prohibited Britain from continuing its aggression against Egypt in 1956?
It is most likely that America did not bother to ask this question for two reasons: The first reason lies in the feeling that the world has emerged from the polarized stage it was in during the Cold War, where polishing the image of one side of the conflict could only be at the expense of the image of the other party. The second reason lies in the fact that America does not find strong political or significant military opposition from the official Arab and Islamic world. Therefore, it is content with issuing diplomatic statements and statements that it believes are sufficient to convince that its involvement in the war on Gaza is correct and does not deviate from morality and law.
The bottom line is that America, even if what it sees is true in terms of its tight control over the Arab and Islamic world in the absence of an alternative strategic pole, is no less true that with its immoral and illegal involvement in the war on Gaza, it is opening the door to a new conflict, a cultural, moral and ethical conflict that brings it together with peoples. the world. Upon reflection, we find that the first victims of this conflict are the defenseless Palestinian people, children, women and the elderly.
History will record that the aggression against Gaza was a fundamental moment in exposing the contradictions on which the American system is based before the eyes of the peoples of the world. Whoever considers the statements issued by American officials regarding what is happening in Gaza will find evidence of a great degree of disregard for minds and underestimation of the intelligence of peoples.
We mention from these statements, but not limited to, what confirms that America is keen for the war not to expand. What is the meaning of this concern and what is its benefit? Or what is the use of statements calling for the adoption of a temporary truce to exchange prisoners, and then the resumption of stoning from the sky after that? What does it mean to call for the delivery of basic supplies to the people of Gaza, and not mind if their homes are demolished above their heads?
We can say that what is happening in Gaza demonstrates in an unprecedented way the lack of moral clarity in the American position and undermines nearly twenty years of efforts by the American administration to win over the Arab and Islamic world through what was termed from within this administration as soft power. What is happening in Gaza proves that the United States of America miscalculated when it thought it could jump on the Palestinian issue to lay the foundations for a strategic partnership with the Arab region, against its strategic opponents. The evidence of its mistake is that it was forced to display its power through its naval battleships that carry aircraft and nuclear warheads.
America's move in the Arab region today has great symbolic significance. She has lost her ability to persuade from a distance, without resorting to force. This is because what happened in Gaza contributed to the explosion of imperialist rhetoric, which remained a way for the United States of America to jump over contradictions. It may succeed in imposing its view of things by force, but it will not succeed in the wars of meaning and values that have united it more than ever before with other cultures, especially Arab and Islamic culture.
In the 1980s, Norman Corwin wrote his famous book about the trivialization of America and the triumph of mediocrity (Trivializing America: The Triumph of Mediocrity).
In this book, Corwin refers to what Thomas Jefferson said two hundred years ago, saying that “the world owes to the press, and to the press alone, all kinds of victories that have been achieved thanks to reason and humanity.” Corwin then regrets the series of triviality that the media institutions are witnessing in America today, which has led to a clear erosion of values.
In Corwin's book, and many other books, we find eloquent indications that confirm that the democratic system in the West in general and America in particular is based primarily on the disdain of minds, which in turn is based on the cultural triviality practiced by the media.
One of the manifestations of this belittling of minds – and there are many aspects that cannot be covered in an article or book – is the installation of a kingdom of stars (Stardom), whose role has become to divert minds from the truth of the news, to the opinion of the star-king (Star) on this news. The truth has become what this or that star says, instead of being a truth governed by controls from reality.
When we consider what is happening today, we find that America is betting on the triviality carried by the media in the Arab and Islamic world in order to jump on its mental contradictions and hide the ambiguity of its moral position. The war that brings it together today with the outside world, and the Arab Islamic world in particular, is primarily a war over meaning. It is true that controlling social media tilts the balance in its favor; However, it is also true that these means have begun to expose the contradictions of American democracy in an unprecedented way, creating a new awareness, an awareness that yearns for a new system of values, morals, and civilization.
In this context, there is no harm in stopping at an event that is simple on the surface, yet profound in its connotations, with the hope that we will later discuss the meaning of the “war of meanings.” A video clip of US President Biden was circulated on social media while he was giving a speech inside a church. He was surprised by a group of opponents of the continued Israeli aggression against Gaza, chanting at him to stop supporting this aggression. After they were taken out, the rest of the church began chanting: “Four more years!” (Four more years! Four more years!).
This passage, and many others like it, reveal to us how American democracy reaches the extreme in contradiction, fragility, and lack of meaning. It was enough for those who were in charge of church security to remove the rioters so that the president could have his say, but for the rest of them to chant and demand four more years of the president’s rule, this is an indication of the presence of church religious blessing for the killing, displacement and extermination of Palestinian people. It is also an indication of the blurring of the lines between the religious space and the political space in American democracy in a way that gives the aggression on Gaza a sectarian flavour.
We conclude from this conversation by emphasizing that the American position on the aggression against Gaza reveals the contradictions of American democracy that the media works to hide based on a systematic policy of trivialization, a policy based on canning and selling meaning, far from the requirements of morality, law, and humanity. We believe that the danger of this situation lies in the fact that it is not governed by the controls of geostrategic interests, as American diplomats declare, but rather is subject to well-established doctrinal dictates.
Therefore, we have the right to ask: “Where are we going?” The features of identification between Israeli religious extremism and American religious extremism promise to give the Arab-Israeli conflict a purely religious, doctrinal character, and this is what closes the horizon of thinking in order to anticipate a solution to the Palestinian issue, and promises to plunge the entire region into destructive doctrinal wars.