The fact is, Arabs don’t all look alike or think alike. But we are often pushed into a kind of groupthink, a kind of self-censorship that hinders our development and our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
We are not a universal group. But some of us believe in a simple universal truth: that every Arab deserves to live in freedom, wherever he or she might call home. Some of us want Arab countries to be more like America and Israel, places where the individual can flourish.
Say those words to many Arabs and they are shocked and angered. Soon, words like imperialist are thrown about, and the subject turns to Israel. Always, it seems, it turns to Israel.
Why the anger when I hint that America and Israel might have something to teach the Arab world? I thought about it for the longest time, and only recently stumbled upon the answer.
It is all about Arab self-doubt. It is all tied to a profound lack of cultural self-confidence, and a deep-seated fear that maybe, just maybe, Arabs won’t be very good at the self-governance thing. That Arab nations won’t be capable of building democratic cultures that engender the flourishing of human freedom, and that these nations won’t have the ability to tap the God-given talents of their people the way Americans and Israelis do.
That maybe, just maybe, the Arab world will never measure up to America or Israel...It won't--not as long as it uses sharia law as its operating system. A harsh truth, but an obvious one.