I have changed…so much. When I used to write in my 20s and 30s I used to look at everything in a positive manner but once I hit my 40s I changed. I guess this was probably the byproduct of maturity. I have officially entered the stage where I feel I should put to test what I’ve always advocated for. The freedom of expression. Put to test what I’ve always believed in…responsible freedom of expression where you do not cross a line that insults others for their own beliefs and ideologies.
Now, the most difficult part is how my experiment could easily fail because of how sensitive our ministers, members of parliament and other officials have become. They do take everything personal and I could easily be sued for attempting to defame their image when my only intention is saying what I think based on facts and sending a message out. Someone needs to say it eventually and many have attempted but their opinion hasn’t been welcomed by people they work under. The sensitive ones I mean. And many writer have succeeded and their opinions and message have been well respected by a leadership that granted the right of freedom of expression. After all, respecting our codes of ethics and principles and not crossing the line where we offend others is what a writer should always abide to.
And since I’ve just started writing, I’ll take a good friends advice and I will calm down for the time being and dedicate a few columns every week to social issues and leave the strong criticism towards what I see happen in some ministries for future columns.
And what happens in those places does certainly require the formation of the club for laughing that was lately formed in Bahrain. And for readers who haven’t heard about it yet, it is a club that encourages people to laugh. We will come to that club very soon and I am sure that the founding members have good intentions, probably spreading positive energy. But to be honest, with everything happening around us in the region, it would be difficult to laugh or even smile when we face challenges we have never faced before.
What we need more than a laughter club, is a club that elevates the standard of culture and knowledge in our societies. Imagine how superficial we have become, how we have become nations that on social media follow so called fashionistas more than intellectuals and politicians that make a difference. Of course not all politicians make a difference but the few that do, need more people to at least follow them and listen to what they have to say instead of checking out what this young woman is wearing today, which shop she bought her dress from, what eye lashes does she use, how much do her shoes cost, what make up does she wear, the number of her lipstick and eventually what kind of filter was used to make everything look so perfect. In addition to all that, it has also become a trend to speak about where and how plastic surgeries and procedures are done. We have officially become societies that dedicate our time to following what’s empty and left behind what opens our eyes to reality and make us think before expressing an opinion or fighting for what is right.
I wonder if we ask the hundreds of thousands of young people who dedicate their time on social media trying to imitate their new role models, the fashinistas , if they know anything about what’s is happening around them. Could they sit around a table and discuss the current situation in the region or would the discussion just be limited to discussing the dress, make up, plastic procedures a celebrity or a fashionista has gone through.
I can bet on that…most would have no idea what is truly going on and the biggest disaster is when by most I mean the generation that will eventually be in charge of shaping the future of millions of people not just in our region but the world.
I can bet on the fact that the superficial level we have reached is the strongest tool that will be used against us.
I have seen it.2011…our crisis when only a few young people were capable of discussing politics. I could barely find young people to bring on my show who had the ability to analyze the situation. This, I cannot deny, has changed after what we went through and in many gatherings, it is impressive to see how many young people have strong political awareness but the mere fact remains to be that only some will never be enough with the challenges we face and the cold wars we have.
What we need is much more than just a few. But what to say when social media says it all. Fashionistas win. Intellectuals and politicians who make a difference lose.
One of our cold wars is over.