Sat. Sep 26th, 2020




Famous Lebanese writer and thinker Amin Maalouf released his last book, ‘Adrift,
How Our World Lost Its Way’ in 2019. This book includes Maalouf’s perspective on the
change of the world in the last decade. Compared to his last two essay books, his ideas
seem more pessimistic in his last book. He foresees a change in the existing world order,
which is based on the decline of the West. Starting from 1979, with Thatcher’s and Reagan’s
administrations, the two big Western powers started to minimize the role of state. This meant
the decline of social states. The Islamic Revolution in Iran followed these two conservative
revolutions. All of these factors coming together, created a transformation in the world order
that lasted until now, according to Maalouf. However, as the concept of social state declined,
people started to feel alienated and left alone. This created tensions in many societies and
caused the demonstrations that are happening in different places of the world, such as Iraq,
Iran, France and Lebanon. People are for a change but they don’t know how the new system
should be. Amin Maalouf relates the crisis in today’s world to the lack of ethical respectability
of people, institutions and discourses and criticizes the Arab countries because of their
effortless attitude about saving themselves from their historically difficult position. His
comments of the Beirut explosion and the following demonstrations in Lebanon are parallel.
Lebanon is a corrupted country, which once carried a potential to be a regional power. It’s
human capital and strategically important position couldn’t be used to become an example to
follow for modernization and development. Instead, the administration is occupied by a
denominational system rather than meritocracy. This leads the young generations to
pessimism about their future and their ideals about using their potential to increase the value
of their country. This is a general problem for the younger generations of countries with
corrupt administrations. After the explosion, Lebanese society decided that they don’t want
to continue living under this system and they asked for a change. Their action is a piece of
the big change that Maalouf describes. Of course, resisting is not equally easy in all regions
of the globe but if the Arab societies are asking for a better life, they have to start asking for
it, instead of continuously blaming the Western world. They have a history of exploitation and
they lack national consciousness due to the unnatural division of their country borders. Also,
they are administered by authoritarian regimes in many countries. Yet, without leaving the
obedient attitude they see the world as under the control of ‘big powers’, any change couldn't
be created. Maalouf compares the change that he foresees, which is happening with the
decline of the West with Titanic. An arrogant, modern, bright civilisation that believes it can
solve any crisis is sinking with its passengers from everywhere and every social class. Just  like the Titanic, because it was not seen possible for it to sink, the precautions were not undertaken. We will see if Maalouf is right and if he is, how will the new order be.

This article is written by Beyza Kumanova

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