The analogy between the European Renaissance that started in 1423 when the first non-Latin books were printed and the Arab Renaissance about to start with the prevalence of the non-despotic and non-exclusionary language of the Internet is one worthy of our consideration. As books and their varieties opened the minds of Europeans back then, the Internet is playing a similar role in the lives of our youths today.Â
Similarly, as Europe in the early 15th Century reverted to its golden age when Greek philosophers, painters, and writers ruled with their wisdom, Arabs will revert to theirs when al-Khwarizmi and Avicenna ruled with their knowledge and enlightenment.
Italy preceding the Renaissance was a string of many states of which ruined Rome was one leading with a powerful but corrupt Church. Today, the Arab world is a string of many states led by a powerful and corrupt Muslim state called Saudi Arabia.
And as the Renaissance started in Florence with Donatello’s curiosity and Brunelleschi’s imagination, so will the Arab Renaissance start in Syria with the spark of today’s Rebellion leading the way to a wiser era.Â Â
Why Syria? Because it has the disposition, the history, and the Christian minorities still umbilically connected to a western civilization the way Erasmus and Petrarch, very early on, connected with Ancient Greek to fight ungodliness and ignorance.
Standing in the way is Saudi Arabia ruling over ignorance, injustices, despotism, cronyism, and the Dark Ages of our times. The heart of our Renaissance will start beating the day the al-Saud of Saudi Arabia are deposed to yield to full separation of Mosque and State.
While the Medicis in Florence invested in and promoted the freedom necessary to enlighten and to catapult learning beyond Florence, the al-Saud are investing in suppressing freedom at home and elsewhere to extend the darkness Arabs live under. Under Islam ruled by Saudi Arabia, an Arab reads 4 pages annually when individuals in countries like the United States read 11 books.
The US State Department and all the NGO’s funded by the US Congress are spending billions in the Middle East to promote democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights in the region; but it’s all a waste of good US tax money if the US also supports simultaneously despotism in countries ruled like medieval fiefdoms. What is the use of learning about democracy and the rule of law if our people cannot practice it?Â Because of US policies, Arabs have become perpetual students of their values but non-practitioners.
Today, Saudi Arabia is silencing the voices of freedom in my native country. As someone who knows this country intimately having been a temporary citizen of theirs, I am appalled by the vast divide between their introvert actions and their extrovert words. Saudi Arabia is not the country that I knew in the early seventies. It seems the wealthier they get, the dirtier their policies get and the more arrogant their Islamic values become.