Freedom of silence

Arab nations have innovations that the world does not know about. The Arab reformist Al-Kawakibi, author of the book ‘Nature of Tyranny and Downfall of Enslavement,’ who was born in Aleppo in 1855, spent his life as a reformist and promoted the nations’ development and prosperity. He also worked against tyranny, called for liberties, being part of decision making and resisting tyrant regimes, which is something that the Ottoman Sultan was angry about during that period which witnessed the downfall of the caliphate rule.

Yet, Al-Kawakibi was not arrested nor did he disappear. It is said that he died of poison, though there is no evidence to that. He fought backwardness for the sake of reform following the saying of the Prophet (PBUH): “Whoever sees an act of vice should change it with his own hands.” When Al-Kawakibi died, he was eulogized by Hafez Ibrahim without fear of imprisonment or political persecution.

The Ottoman rule was over, and then came the foreign one, and colonialism which blocked all attempts to change, forcing reformists to move with their words and raise their voices for the sake of freedom. They wrote books, distributed leaflets and led the people while shouting for the sake of freedom, following the example of hadith about change.

Then came the phase of national rule in both of its military and civil forms, so the cloud of oppression was cast over us, and reformists were held accountable for words they said. Some of them were executed, others tortured by all means. Many reformists kept silent and held to the weakest of belief, also as the rest of the abovementioned hadith said “and who could not, then in his heart and this is the weakest of belief.”

We are going through a phase, in our Arab World, that the hadith did not mention, as reformists are being held accountable for being silent. If you stopped your hands so not to protest, and held your tongue so you do not speak, and your eyes do not express the feelings of anger and kept silent, then you are considered an opponent, and you may be imprisoned or exiled, as silence became a tool of opposition. We are living in a time that demands for the freedom of silence. The freedom of silence that history did not include in its books. Did I tell you not about the Arab nation’s innovations that humanity did not know? – Translated by Kuwait Times from Al-Rai

By Dr Khalid Al-Saleh

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