around with the Commies, Palestinians, and the Kenyans they hate the English more than
anyone in the world, except, possibly, the Irish.”
Ayad simplifies the Third Wordlist perspective, and explains their position, “that the First
World has stolen and exploited the Third World’s resources and cheated them out of what
is rightfully theirs. It is also the way the Arabs feel. Our proper role in the world and
what’s taught in Arab schools and media is that we are the perfect people, and the fact
that we have fallen, is not our fault. Somebody has done it to us. That’s how they blame
everybody else for their problems. Those ‘other people’ are the ones that have exploited
us and usurped our power in the world. The only way we can get back up from our pitiful
position is to bring them down, and even teach them a lesson, too to humiliate them, like
they’ve humiliated us. That’s what 9/11 is about. It’s an Arab thing. This fixation on Islam
is way off. This is the latest incarnation of Arabs’ attempt to get back up. It’s specifically
Eastern Arab a part of the world bounded by Egypt to the west, Iraq to the east, Syria to
the north, and Saudi Arabia/Yemen in the south. Pakistan is its own case, for its own
peculiar reasons. The Iranian regime is also its own case. Roya Hakakian, the great Iranian
Jewish writer, says, ‘The Iranian regime tried to Arabize Iran, and they’ve failed.’ That’s
similar to Third World issues. The First World has exploited us and stolen our resources
and brains. It’s part of the ‘redistribution of wealth.’”
The Psychology of Blame Is Unhealthy; Imagining Another Scenario
Ayad feels strongly about Arabs accepting responsibility for their conditions. He adds,
“Arabs are responsible for their world, just as we all are. As individuals and societies, we
are responsible. My political journey coincides with my personal journey. I started
psychotherapy in ’93. I used to blame my mother, and I got it out of my system. I’m
through blaming my mother and blaming America and America takes the place of the
father. 9/11 is a product of the Arab world. But this view that there is someone to blame
for our problems is all over the world.” Ayad’s radio show was an attempt to have multiple
viewpoints and voices emerging from the Middle East, instead of the endless cycle of
destructive blaming. There are many ways to peaceful transformation, but a starting point is
through active listening and engagement.
In Search of a New Tribe; From Detribalization to Retribalization
I asked about his transition from a position on the far left to a more conservative stance.
Ayad notes, “I realized later that I was a warrior for the Arab tribe. I’ve pretty much
detribalized myself. Maybe I’m a member of the American tribe now. I hope I’ve gone from
tribalism to being an individual. I’ve seen this among Iraqis and Arabs all my life. Arab
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