On the incident of the late Rashid Sweisat

Fahed Khitan (Photo: Jordan News)
Courageous voices have stood in the face of a campaign of harmful comments on the incident of the death of Jordanian boxer Rashid Sweisat, and the proceedings of his funeral at Fuheis Church.اضافة اعلان

We will not get into the details, as they are known to anyone who followed the case on social media platforms, and with each similar case, expressions of bewilderment appear on the faces of many of us, in anger and disdain over the comments they read and hear, as if they are happening for the first time and are an unexpected surprise.

Hate culture, in all its forms, is a global phenomenon that our community hasn’t been exempted from. It does not distinguish between a democratic society and one living under oppression.

Some of the oldest of democracies are today suffering from the epidemics of intolerance, hate, and discrimination. In the heart of Europe, refugees are facing oppression, discrimination, and hate crimes including murder. In the aftermath of the tech revolution, the ideologies of the radical right in European communities that hold personal freedoms most sacredly cause the dissemination of the worst forms of hate, such as the phenomenon of “Islamophobia”.

In the US, deemed as the leader of the free world by many, society was almost drawn into a second civil war due to the rise of radical rightwing ideologies and anti-humanitarian populism, headed by Donald Trump and his gang.

If all this is happening in communities that are fortified with ancient democratic traditions and progressive constitutions, as well as entrenched values based on respecting diversity and rejecting bigotry, what do you expect from communities that have been living under oppression and the absence of freedoms for decades, not mention living through sectarian and religious wars and persistent colonial calamities? With the exception of short glimpses in our history, our entire journey across the Arab world is one of long and heavy years of oppression and darkness.

Despite all the bitter complaints against the phenomenon of intolerance in Jordan, we are still better off than many around us. We still have a chance of relative recovery and building cultural immunity, in light of our history of coexistence and internal peace.

But over the many years, we have wasted great opportunities to change the status quo, and instead recorded huge setbacks on the cultural and national fronts. We have not demonstrated sufficient will to fight the dark ideologies and the culture of intolerance. On the contrary; official institutions provided support to and fostered on all levels the culture of intolerance, voluntarily conceding progressive values and traditions that have ruled the state’s journey for many years.

Our record in this arena is terrible, and we are now paying the price in our national unity and civil peace. And I don’t mean aspects pertaining to religious culture, but the position on the rule of law, citizenship values, as well as intolerance in all its forms. We have become unable to escape this impasse, and are looking instead for ways to humor it and coexist with it with minimum losses.

Incidentally, none of the officials are concerned with this discourse, as they are all preoccupied with the losing battle with the symptoms of the crisis on social media, without bothering to stop at its root causes and origins.

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