Friday, May 11, 2007

Opinion (Spengler): Are the Arabs already extinct?

"We [Arabs] have become extinct," said Syrian poet Adonis in a March 11 Dubai television interview transcribed by the Israeli media monitor MEMRI, [1] but ignored by the mainstream Western media. The prognosis by Adonis, the only Arabic writer on the Nobel Prize short list, for the Arab prospect has become more bleak over the years, and his latest pronouncement has a Spenglerian finality.

"We have become extinct ... We have the masses of people, but a people becomes extinct when it no longer has a creative capacity, and the capacity to change its world ... The great Sumerians became extinct, the great Greeks became extinct, and the Pharaohs became extinct," he said.

Poets are given to hyperbole, to be sure, but Adonis (the pen-name of Ali Ahmad Said) makes a deeper point in his writings on Arabic poetry. He argues that Islam destroys the creative capacity of the Arabs, who in turn do not have the capacity to become modern.

Read the rest at Asia Times