We are people of tunnels. We were born in tunnels and we forever stay in them. We drink from their darkness and feed on their humidity and rottenness. Our schools are tunnels and our universities are too. Our books are closed tunnels and our minds are locked tunnels too. In those tunnels lie hysterical tensions, tense armies, obscure parties and labs of deception.
We have never had a nation. We have always had tunnels lurking, waiting for the right moment to take over other neighboring tunnels. Should an idea arise, we attract it to the tunnel, and should a Spring approach, we send the tunnels for its assassination.
The news was fun and useful. The broadcaster was nice and clever. Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, landed on the red planet successfully and started sending images of the planet eight years after the NASA program to discover the second smallest planet in the solar system started. It appeared clearly that the Unites States managed to occupy the Red Planet forty years after the “occupation” of the moon in July 21, 1969.
As soon as the robot rover landed on Mars, President Barack Obama congratulated NASA saying, “It is an enormous step forward in planetary exploration. Nobody has ever done anything like this. It was a great performance and an achievement we will always be proud of.”
I closed my eyes before the TV screen. I thought of how great it would be if an Arab channel broadcasted an Arab leader calling Arab scientists and congratulating them for a scientific achievement in favor of the progress and welfare of their country and the entire humanity.
I feared to drift even further with my imagination so I channeled my attention again to the screen. The nice broadcaster read the news as if she was apologizing at the same time. Maybe experience taught her that the viewer thrived on hot and exciting news; such a viewer would definitely not find any meaning in such side news. Not when such a viewer is used to learning about at least two hundred people killed per day.
When the news ended, a strange fear took over me. I feared that the broadcaster would bring a number of analysts in, those analysts who keep “recycling” and repeating their words inflicting harm on the viewers’ minds and feelings, and disturbing their sleep. I feared that one of those analysts would appear and deny the whole Mars landing, saying that the scenes were fabricated in attempt to promote the corrupt West.
I feared that a certain analyst would go as far as saying that the whole Mars operation was not innocent and that one should watch out for Mossad involvement in said operation. Why? Because the Mossad failed to enter Arab countries by land, so it decided to spy on them from Mars. I also feared that a jihadist group would denounce the American occupation of Mars and announce the doors open for volunteers to be sent as suicide bombers to Mars in a bid to cleanse the planet from the rover and its suspicious operations above. I can’t deny that I was also afraid that Iran would unveil a new generation of missiles able to reach the “Great Satan” locations on the red planet.
From the Mars robot rover, we were back to the Middle East. Images from Aleppo and other similar cities break the heart. Corpses dumped on the streets…Blood pools on house floors…images of terrified families fleeing with their children to the nearest camps in neighboring countries…an Arab would not cry for the threatened history of Aleppo -- he would weep for the threatened future of Syria.
Even more dangerous than the sight of those demolished houses was the view of the torn Syrian texture, and the “divorce” among its components. Should the Authority win in Aleppo, it would not exit the tunnel. It would go even deeper into the tunnel instead. The flow of wandering fighters and the practices of some fanatics threaten to push the Syrian opposition to the tunnel as well.
Other news was not less dangerous. It was about a crime that targeted Egyptian border guards south of Rafah. It was clear that the attackers wanted to throw Egypt into a terrible tunnel by seizing the borders and shaking the image of Egypt and its army, and its capacity to control the borders and meet its commitments. This attack revived the tunnels dossier and left it wide open. Tunnels cannot be limited to those dug on the borders of Gaza. Tunnels are an even more serious and dangerous issue.
Further news shows images of Iranians arrested by the Free Syrian Army. It is quite obvious that the Syrian tragedy led the Iranian policy to a tunnel deepening the sectarian strife in the region. Furthermore, we see Davutoglu's visit to Kirkuk and the latest developments in Kurdish Syrian villages on the borders with Turkey, which shows that the regional Turkish policy has also entered a deep tunnel.
When some are sending robot rovers to Mars, we are sending our children to graves or to tunnels, where we train them in preparation for approaching civil war. Watching the news is quite enough to see our catastrophic position in the “global village.” We are people of tunnels. We were born there, and we shall forever stay there.
The writer is a prominent columnist. The article was published in Dar Al Hayat on August 9, 2012