The brutal war on the Gaza Strip sent a flood of critical questions and intellectual reviews on the Arab and international horizons, including what was related to behavior that was considered shocking in some ways, on the part of Western democracies towards the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people.
The nations that have emerged on world platforms in a position of valuable professorship in defending human rights, freedom, and dignity, their leaders, elites, and media have been seen sliding crudely into the trenches of the extermination army, which is committing brutal massacres transmitted around the clock via live broadcast, practicing blatant denial of what is happening, and anticipating restrictions. On freedom of expression to the point of banning public activities and mass events and banning phrases and symbols calling for freedom for Palestine, even in academic spaces.
Rediscover the world
This war gave an opportunity to rediscover the modern world and the reality of Western democracies, and two books recently published in conjunction with the outbreak of this war, without agreement, would help to take a close and balanced anatomical look from the inside at the crisis of Western democracies, and at the modern human society that allows the repetition of genocide. Collectivism, ethnic cleansing and horrific war crimes like that.
The book “Rethinking Democracy” and the book “Critique of the World – Rethinking the Modern Human Reality”, written by media consultant and researcher in European and international affairs Hossam Shaker, who resides in Vienna, explore the topics addressed with an insightful critical perspective, and the reader of both books will not be surprised by the lack of understanding the behavior of the leading countries. Globalism, and explaining the contradictions in its policies and the unruliness of some of its positions, as is observed in the ongoing war and elsewhere.
The two books were published against an extensive series of critical pamphlets by researcher Hossam Shaker, totaling 20 issues, containing approximately 3,000 small pages that allow for easy access by readers. They are published by the “Arab Family Foundation,” which is based in Istanbul.
Hossam Shaker, in his book “Rethinking Democracy,” gives the reader unusual views of democracy and the reality of its applications in its European and Western strongholds.
Shortcomings in the reality of democratic experiences
In his book, “Rethinking Democracy,” Hossam Shaker gives the reader unusual views of democracy and the reality of its applications in its European and Western strongholds, and begins to rethink it, starting by reviewing conceptual foundations such as “Is democracy the rule of the people by the people?”
The nearly 200-page book presents small excerpts of relevant issues; Such as developing democracy and rationalizing good governance, observing dilemmas, crises, and symptoms of shortcomings in the reality of democratic experiences. Such as: political fluidity, the crisis of representative democracy, paths of elite selection, and the concentration of influence in Western democracies.
It is also exposed to the phenomenon of “exception to democracy,” which literally makes democracy “only for some of the population,” who alone have the privilege of voting in ballot rounds. Because of the nationality or citizenship factor that not everyone possesses, even a large portion of the population of voting age in some European capitals is excluded from democracy for this reason, and this level is expected to increase in the coming years.
The book stops at the paradox that some ancient democracies fear the rise of democratic rule in other countries, the dilemma of the absence of “democratization” from foreign policies, and the fact that these policies lie on the borders of democracy or are isolated from it in reality, which contributes – for example – to explaining the positions of Western countries from the ongoing war of annihilation in Gaza, as if the book published in conjunction with it anticipated these consequences and paved the way for the public to understand and comprehend them.
freedom of expression
Perhaps one of the most interesting chapters of the book deals with freedom of expression in European democracies, where the author shows, through diligent exploration, an impasse that besets this freedom and restricts it in certain ways, or uses this freedom in a way that undermines other values and principles. The book then examines the deterioration of some democratic environments into a culture of prohibition through a series of measures of restriction, prevention, and the erosion of gains that were previously available to the general public, in addition to the spread of authoritarian tendencies and censorship systems in some democracies.
Despite the critical estimates and conclusions made by the book; The author warns against slipping into a ready-made conclusion according to which there is no possibility of “proposing reform alternatives,” at least partially, from within democracy itself, and that “the alternative does not lie in naive options of totalitarian authoritarian control, or in recourse to models of authorities hidden from view.” Under the pretext of giving the masses power,” he asserted.
However, the author warns that reformist approaches should not ignore “the ability of capitalism to fill some of the voids left by the state, and that it is able to establish its presence even from the sites of civil society and non-governmental organizations, through the forms of establishment, financing, co-optation, guidance, and others.”
Arguments in criticizing the world
As for the book “Criticism of the World,” which is approximately 180 pages long, it opens up horizons for rethinking modern human reality, through treatments that place aspects of modernity and what comes after it in the morgue of criticism and scrutiny, which seeks to discover contradictions, point out failures, explore mysteries, and diagnose what is hidden.
In this book, researcher Hossam Shaker questions the modern human reality, or sets out to examine some of its experiences and manifestations, through a combination that combines social, historical, philosophical, cultural and psychological views, without burdening the language of the book or making its texts difficult for the reader, who may be motivated by this work to re-understand the world. From new faces.
One of the topics related to the topical event, that is, the ongoing war of annihilation against Gaza, is what is happening “outside the field of vision” available to the audience of modern nations. The field of vision is still insufficient to enable nations that declare their loyalty to modernity to comprehend the generality of the scene and be aware of its dimensions, circumstances, and heavy costs, realistically and morally.
As the author mentions, he adds, “This field of vision is often determined by the scope of the sense of the collective self “we,” and the emotionally reprehensible “other” is isolated in a way that is no longer included in the privileges of the collective self.”
It is as if the author is anticipating what happened simultaneously with the publication of the book during the Gaza War when he recounts, for example, “Regimes declaring their loyalty to modernity – and what comes after it – are continuing their efforts to confine the field of vision and prevent it from spreading beyond desired ranges. They are keen to exclude the sensitive person of their civilization from keeping pace with what It takes place in the field of brutal behavior reserved for the parties.”
The modernist imagination
As he dives into the depths of the “modernist imagination,” Hossam Shaker notes dilemmas that have plagued some modernist discourses. Such as: “It neglects the balance of values, by selectively calling up a specific value, or certain values, and giving it priority, independent of its circumstances and without ensuring that it is disciplined by other values related to the objective contexts. This would lead to disordered perceptions, biased judgments, and unruly practices.”
The author says, “This turmoil was greatly reflected in the modernist imagination in a way that tempted the ease of issuing unjust judgments and justifying rogue practices while wrapping them in values and principles, which interacts at the levels of the individual, society, the state and above.”
He adds that “the modernist imagination, as it draws from its favorite slogans, goes beyond the fact that principles do not work in reality at all, and that they are rather subject to restrictions and controls that may grant some of them a usage privilege that undermines the operation of the slogan in some areas of reality for reasons dictated by interests, complicities, and assessments related to the limits of the possible and its consequences (…) The functional roles offered by imagination and its ability to mobilize against specific destinations if interpretive pretexts are created for it.”
The traditional savage behavior was known to be active and proactive; However, its effect in terms of lethality and pain may not be comparable to some aspects of modern brutality
Hossam Shaker opens the file “Modern Savagery”, which is a qualitative argument that draws the distinguishing methodological features between traditional and modern models of brutality. In this regard, the author states, for example, that “modern savagery is keen to find a bridge between the starting point and the targeting point. It may operate through a technical intermediary (…) or through a human intermediary provided by a proxy war, in which third parties achieve the interests sought by the sponsors of war who avoid appearing.” In the field scene.
On this basis, “modern savagery does not operate according to the first-class equation accustomed to the traditions of primitive savagery, or the systems of traditional savagery (…). Modern savagery resorts to complex equations and to the distribution of roles while manipulating the constant and directing the variable, seizing the available opportunities and variables of the international system, and the priorities of its discourse to serve… intended purposes.”
Then the book reveals an unnoticed facet of “modern savagery” represented by “reluctance to act.” Although the behavior of traditional brutality is known for being “active and proactive, its effect in terms of lethality and pain may not be comparable to some aspects of modern brutality that are based on failure to do what is dictated by principled obligations and moral responsibilities.”
Perhaps this idea in particular gains double weight in the re-evaluation of Western policies regarding the position on the war of extermination in Gaza, for even if they did not collude with this war; It did not use its proven influence in the international community, which qualifies it to curb the war and stop it immediately.
The writer summarizes the presentation of this type of “negative savagery” in the following example, which is suitable for measuring broader policies and attitudes: “If a ship sailing at sea does not intervene to save a boat that is about to sink, simply because it is carrying a crowd of the wretched of the earth who sailed towards an imaginary earthly paradise; The piles of corpses that will be thrown by the waves onto the shore will remain a witness to the negative effect of this brutality, which does its heinous acts through reluctance, not boldness.”