By Abir Bassam

What about our way of life?

August 27, 2021 - 15:51

When French citizens were attacked and stabbed in Nice by terrorists, the European community was in enormous fear.

Great concerns were raised about the spread of radical group’s attacks on newspapers and churches. At that time, I wrote: “France Playing the New Victim of 9/11”. Back then, I explained that France is killing the terrorists and has no intentions to capture any of them alive. French concerns revolved around investigations results, which might expose France and Belgium's role in training these terrorists and in sending them to Iraq and Syria.
My Dutch friend, who read the article, was not pleased. One of the reasons was because I said, but not in the same exact words, “this is your merchandise and it has returned to you!” He was annoyed. He said: “terrorist attacks are an attack on our way of life”; “they want to destroy our democracy and freedom.” A sentence that I have heard thousands of times in American action movies in which the heroes strive to beat the terrorists. 
It is amazing how stereotyped is the West about their way of life. It is amazing how much the West is convinced that they have the best way of life. They may! They have order. They have regulations and laws. They have a wonderful education system. They have an important social and medical system. But, we do too! We had our own way, and we love it.

My friend worked with UNIFIL in the 1980s as an interpreter. He spent years in South Lebanon and witnessed the Israelis’ violations and crimes against humanity in the South and their way of life. He also worked as an interpreter during the UN investigation into a horrifying Israeli crime. It was of great concern back then; governments were involved. I fully investigated the crime, but unfortunately, I was not able to publish it. Hence, he is a man of knowledge; he is fully aware of the American and European destructive policies in our part of the world and of our way of life. 

Yet, after he had read the article, he said to me that I should be aware that these crimes will destroy their way of life! What about our way of life? No sagacious person in my region or country would agree to criminal and terrorist behavior around the world. A few years ago, we lived in peace and comfort. I still remember with grief those days, yet no one cared about our way of life. The Americans and the West were focused on changing our governments and destroying our countries because they had the power over the Dollar. They wanted to enhance their quality of life. They needed wars to sell weapons. They needed chaos to control our power resources. They needed to kill our dignity and resistance, so that “Israel” can continue to exist peacefully. 

The Syrians, the Lebanese, and the Iraqis were subjected to all kinds of terror and destruction by ISIS and al-Nusra’s terrorist groups. The three countries were occupied by the American troops. The three countries were subjected to the terror of economic siege by the Western powers, and their way of life was destroyed. They are under pressure to accept the Zionist regime “Israel”, by force, as part of the region. Their infrastructure was damaged, their electricity was shut off, their water system was destroyed, and their peace and security were stolen, just because they stood by the Palestinians. Palestine is the authentic part of the region, and the authentic part of the social and cultural life of Bilad al-Sham, Iraq, and the rest of the Arab world. Palestine is essential in our way of life.

As if we are not entitled to our way of life. We are not entitled to refuse colonialism and occupation in our region. We are not allowed to fight for our freedom. And we are not allowed to maintain living our own way of life. 

I am a Lebanese citizen. I was raised and educated in Syrian schools during the Lebanese Civil War. Therefore, when I talk about the two states divided by Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, I talk about family relations and friends. I talk about my life that I have lived in the two countries, which I loved and I knew like the back of my hand. Our life was torn apart because of the Americans and their puppets, i.e. the Turks’, the Europeans’, and Saudis’ meddling in our way of life.  

To talk like this may sound juvenile, but it is not! It is our daily little details that define us! When we want to talk about our way of life, we remember the way we used to live and how the war on Syria has changed our way of life in Lebanon and in the region. I used to drive my car from Beirut straight to Daraa in south Syria at any time, day or night. I and my family had no fear. Our countries were peaceful and safe. Our families were happy and cheerful. We had so much love that it made us forget the worries along the long road, and along the journey of life. All of this was stolen from us. We lost our sense of security and peace. We lost our way of life. 

The war has eliminated our ability to have constant access to electricity, water, fuel, food, entertainment, education, and cultural activities. These elements are part of our way of life. We live in the age of technology. Hence, they are essential to maintain our way of life. Otherwise, I can’t write and express myself.  I can’t drive or take the bus to see my mother and friends and buy my food. I cannot drive to work. People cannot send their children and youth to schools and universities. Isn’t that our way of life too? 

Our lives today revolve around essentials, once we were taking for granted. When the electricity will come? Is the water going to be off? How much time do I need to fill gasoline in the station? It is stressful! Our way of life is stressful, so that the Americans’, the Westerners’, and the Israelis’ lives can live comfortably so that they can continue to live in prosperity and in greediness. 

In 1919, after the Great Arab Revolution, the area from the Arabian Peninsula to Bilad al-Sham and Iraq was freed from the Ottoman Occupation. The Arabs fought for their liberation. They declared the establishment of an Arab Parliamentary kingdom. It was a pioneer declaration. However, the Arab leader King Faisal of Syria and Iraq was invited to a conference in Paris. Once he was there the French broke the Arab State flag; he was imprisoned in his hotel room. Our region was once again occupied and another 50 years of revolutions and resistance was tagged along. Since then, the same vicious circle is repeated, we need to get truly independent and strong, and ally with true friends; otherwise, we will never be able to live our way of life again.


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