Double Discourse

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As George Orwell put it in his 1984 novel: “To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

Wherever we look throughout the Middle East we could see that cynical pattern manifesting itself in every level; in political discourse, in social norms, in cultural and ideological output. The blunt absence of consistency and logic, and the inconceivable capability to wear contradicted masks to different events, and to pitch for every entity its suitable talk. When speaking from Washington or any European capital one should use a vivid and intense democratic vocabulary; people there are easily dragged by crypto-Islamic advocates of human rights and freedom and liberty bombast.

To get citizens, governments, and nonprofits of the free world, even homosexuals, to support an Islamic cause like the Palestinian one, cunning Islamists are bound to play by the rules. But no one tells those—far from the battle ground— who support the BDS movement and other organizations trying to undermine and mud-sling the reputation of the only democratic society in the Middle East that Gaza, for instance, is a burial ground for LGBT members, that the level of oppression has become so brutal and feral that those individuals who hold inconvenient opinions or have different sexual orientation than the Muslim majority are so frightened out of their mind that they dare not express themselves even through fake accounts with fake usernames on social media.

One of the major factors that Arab revolutions—which raise slogans such as freedom and democracy—keep failing to achieve their avowed goals is exactly the fact that there is no sincerity at any rate to their proclamations. Democracy was and still is a pretense, an amplifier to get the attention of the world, hollowed of its content.

Would democrats, at the time, have stood by hordes of Nazi dissidents if they had risen against Hitler for his corruption and oppression while those masses had been nevertheless fervent adherents of the same genocidal ideology, and were willing to carry on their master’s plans against Jews and other non-Arian races?

Why! What’s the difference between pan-Islamism and Nazism? What if neo-Nazis had oil and gas? Wouldn’t they be less intolerable, then? Wouldn’t they find a colossus mind like that of Fareed Zakaria’s to commend them to an audience in Ukraine as he had done recently at the 16th Yalta European Strategy (YES) annual meeting where he unflinchingly compared the former Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim to Henry Kissinger? His Excellency was lecturing Europeans on “Habiness!” At the time where the Qataris are still funding terrorist groups spanning from the doves of Muslim Brothers to hawks of ISIS.

Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi dissident in exile, had just published an op-ed piece at the Washington Post criticizing the Saudi regime for spying on dissidents and hacking their Twitter accounts, but Abdulaziz himself is nothing but an Islamist who would have done just the same thing to those who might have criticized Islamic doctrines once in power. Was he questioned about his views on homosexuality, on freedom of conscience, on polygamy, etc.? Indeed, the great endeavor and the magic bestowed upon the thrilling course of toppling dictatorships kept those compromising convictions at arm’s-length, undisturbed like the Colossi of Memnon.

The journalist who was brutally murdered by the government of Saudi Arabia at the consulate of the latter in Istanbul in 2018, Jamal Khashoggi, and who had been contributing to the Washington Post had also maintained a double discourse or doublethink to use Orwell’s. What he used to write in the Post columns is something curiously different from what he had been disseminating in Arabic to an Arab audience. A case in point is the interview broadcast  by the Istanbul-based Muslim Brotherhood channel Elsharq—where he was advocating for a neo-Ottoman vision of the Middle East under an Islamist-oriented Turkey—should give us an idea about that double discourse that Arab activists use while they waggle from platform to platform.

The language gap became a code word, a signal of recognition between Arab activists, even the grassroots have grown quite aware of that sort of double-dealing and refrained from nagging when they heard an unorthodox utterance from their leaders and propagandists. The prophetic Arab proverb has it: Al harb Khoud’a—war is deceit. In the end, one shall focus not on individuals. Rather, the ideology itself—towards which those individuals gravitate—what matters most, specially when the ideology is contained within a rich and wealthy complex structure and its ramifications, or at any rate, its patrons are floating over seas of gas and oil resources.

Tell the West what they want to hear; convince them that you’re fighting for the same causes their forefathers in the heydays of European emancipation centuries past had been fighting for. Tell them about Martin Luther and the enlightenment, pretend to revere philosophers like Averroes and Ibn Tufayl. Tell them that you share all their paganistic values of democracy and individual freedoms and free will—you’ll have them under your thumb. All what remained in their memory about an ecclesiastical order is as feeble and delicate as jelly.

Since you still frozen in state of oppression, never had the chance to rule steadily, to unleash that tremendous force of hate and barbarism, no one can prove anything against you. Who cares to study in depth your ideological literature and your clearly-stated goals written in an intricate foreign language, colossally printed and distributed throughout hundreds of thousands of small libraries and bookshops in the dim filthy back-alleys from Casablanca to Baghdad? who had cared about Mein Kampf when Hitler was running for the presidency? For western narcissism what matter and what actually exists is what one utters in English eloquently fitted to the required liberal standards.

 The difference between incumbent authoritarian Islamic strongmen who took over after the so-called Arab spring, and the masses trying to oust them subsequently, dwells not in applying Sharia law, since this has been already applied (socially the Islamized proles are imposing the Islamic lifestyle and directives on every individual by means of social pressure, isolation and stigmatization, bullying, and ultimately liquidation; and constitutionally the majority of the Arab constitutions are based on laws extracted from Sharia), Islamists may seek only to embellish its syntactic structure to take more of a Koranic form and style and amplify its reach to further domains in life.

Nor did it appear in the struggle to achieve more prosperous, fair and productive societies (since Islamism is concerned primarily with the rights of Allah rather than the rights of His subjects). Instead, the difference dwells essentially in foreign policy, in the eagerness to extend the reign of Islam beyond the abode of Islam to include the abode of kuffar (infidels) through holy war — Jihad.

Glory and popularity go to the ruler who dares rise his voice and declare war against the Jews to liberate Jerusalem, and against the world to bring it to accept the eternal canon of Allah. It’s that what really drive the masses into frenzy, make hysterical vibes shoot through millions of roaring throats with hands up clawing the air in mosques and rallies. And that exactly what propelled an inglorious professor of law in Tunisia—Kais Saied— to become a president; he knew which chord to strike—Jihad and Palestine. “We are at war with Israel,” that’s how he started his presidency. Not bread, not social justice, not democracy, not even dignity.

About the Author
Taha Lemkhir is a Moroccan writer and photographer. Degree in Arabic literature and Islamic studies. Critic of Islamism. languages: Arabic, English and Spanish. He Lived part of his life as an Islamist— until enlightenment flashed through his heart.
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