The Mecca Conference!
If you cannot recall then imagine -or go to the Travel Channel- a rugged, scrubbed, and dry terrain, rendered in some of the colors on the warm side of the spectrum, with mounds of sand dunes punctuated with some shabby palm trees, such hallowed and harrowed environment is no other than the Godforsaken landscape of the Arabian peninsula . Amid the dusty Desneyesque version of a Las Vegas urban jumbles scenes of surrealistic movies populated by what could be only some alien creatures whose features -matching the hellish environs- of either tall, haggard wrapped heads or completely cloaked pudgy ghostly apparitions (as a reminder of the scary tales of one's tender years!) Come close to approximate some humanoid figures. That's the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where until relatively recent date was a land with no name (known by the geographic appellation of the Arab Peninsula or otherwise seat or house, of the holy places) until the eponymous family of Saud took it, by hook or crook! and baptized it with its now well-known and infamous name. A country, for a lack of a better term, appears, to the rest of the human stock, not only to have gotten stuck in some long and forgotten historical epoch, but worse to be located on another planet! If not for the oil, its unrelenting service to the imperialists of all stripes and creeds, its genuine flare for anything gaudy, and its stubborn resistance to anything that smacks of Arabism, it won't be a flickering speck on anyone's screen. What the world sees in that landscape: images that alternate between officially sanctioned noble and happy savages and journalistic and amateur photographers's captions of some Hollywoodish clowns scampering with their SUV's in the desert! Its strutting spokesmen convey a mixed sense of pity with good does of self -linflicted humaliation. With these in mind it's not outlandish to say: It ain't anymore only self-hating Jews, Arabs have joined the self-loathing stock(s) too, and even left many who'd preceded them, way behind in hating their own breed!
In the holiest city, the birthplace of Islam, Mecca, where, if its Islamic University gives any indication to matters of time and location, is even remoter than the piece of real estate to which is attached. The "mother of all villages" remains a true to its name, a mere village, still to today, despite or because of, God had chosen to build His only House on earth! -maybe He chose the spot just to contemplate on what went wrong with His creative faculties? After more than 14 centuries of the birth of the Message that supposed to tame the wild and civilize the barbarians -that's, the latest and most up-to-date version of God's holy writ- of how to be virtuous and conduct a virtual -oops, slip of the finger, pardon! virtuous life, the least untouched by civilization, of all places on earth, is still where Islam took its roots or spread its message! And if someone wants to know why, there's plenty of stuff that would give some idea to the causes and reasons behind the unresolved and perhaps unresolvable conundrum!
Just think of what happens when 57 or so of the most backward and haunted states on earth get together in an "Emergency Conference" under the umbrella of the O I.C [Organization of Islamic Conference]? One wonders what's there left to talk about and what were they expecting to achieve? If your guess is just another of their usual pow-wows where screaming and wailing were substitutes for substance and the sullen grinned faces -in front of the cameras- were the only signs of determination, you're absolutely right! Another round of empty talk. If kvetching about the injustices besetting Islam or the reminiscing about its lost glories were ladders to anywhere most of the participant states and their delegations would have long been dispatched into the blackholes of history. Unfortunately for the conferees, more of the same wouldn't add to anything substantial and would only make them look more like a bunch of raving lunatics, in front of those who're apt to berate them as ineffectuals, spitting their anger and howling at the moon. As to their peoples? Well, if those drowsy hordes were any different this time, they'd have thrown the rascals into the trash dumping refills along with their scant leftovers. But the mob is no different than the thugs who monkey with their leashes according to the whims of the moment or the mood of the thugs-in-chief.
The declared purpose of the Conference was to moderate the outlandish claims of the message and to find a way to make the work of the group more effective. The final declaration was no surprise! It reiterated, once again, the same hackneyed verbiage drivel so often heard these days and long before, that's "Islam has been hijacked" by the wrong people! and fringe groups. The problem with such a strategy is: first, it's becoming cliche; and second, it's never been spelled out who're the right people to ransom the "hostaged religion" back and gives it its right formulation and due-ful place. The implicit saviors presumably are the same regimes that have created and thus are part of the problems which are behind the havocs sweeping through the lands of Islam. Of course, one expects from such regimes to say what they're saying and to pretend to 'rescue the Faith' from its dislocated dais, only to get in turn appropriated by them to be used to push further their agendas that of suppressing any dissent that would shorten their staying power, which will result in mainly keeping the faithfuls in more deep sleep.
In the normal course of events when more than a quarter of the world states and with one-fifth of its population get together, must cause a stir in the mechanisms that affect the world -no one expects a full blown storm but at least a whiff of air or a din of sound- or preoccupy its weather monitoring screens and their eaves-dropping sound tracking systems; instead not a waft of air nor a shriek of a sound disturbed the hums and chugs of its not-so-smooth-running-gears! And the reasons are not so difficult to understand: Why such an impotent organization has no effect on the world arena? Because empty rhetoric, circumlocutions, and pomposity were the only known tools in its arsenal so far! The Conference accuses this and that of having the wrong understanding of the "true Islamic message", or laments the "hijacking of Islam" by the wrong, again, groups, but it never looked closer to itself and its member states, never raised a constructive critiques to the practices of the Faith nor ever pointed toward a way out of the dead-end path these societies and their states are on! It's one thing to vent out what's on one's chest and to point the fingers, but it's another to take responsibility and say the buck stops here.
The problems of Islam are numerous and most of them, if not directly caused, are certainly exacerbated by the hijacking that occurred when the police states, though not incongruent in their essence to its historical practices, appointed themselves as the moral guardians of its dictates and used it to further justify their repressive practices. The chickens have come to roost for Islam. What was vaunted as strength has become its Achilles's heel! Perhaps its simple militaresque like discipline was once deemed easy enough to not demand a hierarchical command structure with a general staff and a commander-in-chief. Certainly things have changed dramatically since those early days, the world had woken up of its trance and has started inching few notches up the scale of civilization and life has become more than supplications and entreaties to the one High up in the sky. And thus the lack of a center and guardians to the message have become a big hole not easy to fill. In the present conditions there's no one qualified and authorized to speak in the name of Islam. Thus one asks: Who's going to issue the final verdict on matters religious and moral and who is going to say who's going to sift through and find the right interpretation from the wrong? With what appears a frozen and no less rigid religion and parasitic states, Muslim populations are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Between police states and their sworn enemies: the intransigent and no less potentially oppressive religious alternatives.
So one asks where we go from here? Nowhere. Unless and until we put an end to the marriage of convenience, affected since the foundation, between Islam and its state. A parting of company where each pursues its own development. A complete divorce, where each follows its own path and agendas without the interference from the other, is only a start. For the rest becomes a bit easier to approach. When there're no more whereabout circumlocutions, double entendre and treble talk, parsing of the sentences and hairsplitting of the words, then and only then plain talk and clarity, if they don't become the sin quo none, may have some chances to be invited to take a seat at the table. When accountably rests on the individuals responsible- without the excuses that only make what's an already fuzzy atmosphere an even muggier environment- there's no room for mincing the words or blaming the sky. No more God willing or only God knows. Only you and me baby, no other in the closet! In other words we become humans and question each other's intentions, deeds, and motives; and if they don't meet the par then sayonara Messrs. tin-pot dictator or big- pot kleptocrat, little-silly-hypocrite, inflated-selfish-opportunist!