We now resemble an alien people, with unfamiliar customs, a culture with no roots in our land and no chance of blossoming here. Thus all we have is stillborn, in our politics, our culture, and our daily life. We are about nineteen or twenty million people, 75 percent of whom live in the countryside, or in tents or huts, following ways from the dawn of creation, ignorant of new values, condemned to the relations of lord and serf, unfamiliar with the machine, having primitive tools and the corresponding food, fuel, clothing, and housing: the plow, barley bread, cow dung, tent cloth, and straw huts, respectively. The only things Western that have penetrated this region are the transistor radio and the draft, and these with more deadly effect than dynamite….
From Chapter 5 (“The War of Contradictions”) of the book OCCIDENTOSIS: A Plague From the West by JALAL AL-I AHMAD which can be downloaded from HERE. (for a background see Gharbzadegi).
BTW: The title of chapter 7 certainly reminded me of our leaders. It is:
“Asses in Lions’ Skins, or Lions on the Flag”
Of course it wasn’t only the title that mirrored them. Here’s a small excerpt:
Would that we had only to deal with those of the nation 5 leaders who have studied abroad. Instead – to put it allusively – the lumpens from every trade and class customarily come to power -that is, the misfits, the idle, those with no will of their own. The most unreliable merchants of the bazaar manage the chamber of commerce. The most idle of the cultural elite are directors of culture. The most bankrupt money changers are the bankers. Either the most lifeless members of society or the most gangsterlike end up as the representatives to the Majlis. (As I have said, set aside anyone you regard as an exception.) The general rule in this land is to give power to the shiftless, the characterless, if not the crooked and the depraved. Whoever holds the right, speaks the truth, sees rightly, and keeps to the straight and narrow finds no place in this system. According to the rule that one must follow the West, here to attain to leadership one must be unscrupulous, must not be steadfast or principled, cannot have roots or have his feet planted on the ground of this land.
Thus our occidentotic leader rides the waves and never comes to rest on solid ground. It is never clear where he stands; he can’t seem to take a stand on any issue or problem. He is bewildered and unsteady. He has no will of his own. He doesn’t come to grips with anything. He flatters and appeases to get around every obstacle. Accordingly, no crisis or upheaval threatens him. One government goes — there’s always the next. If I don’t get on this commission, there’s always that seminar; if not for this newspaper, then for television; if not in this office, then in that ministry; if not as an ambassador, then as a minister. Thus however much the situation changes and governments come and go, you see the same old occidentotic leader sitting in his place like the Rock of Gibraltar. This occidentotic leader is devious as well. No matter what, he knows where he is living in the world. He knows one dare not breathe. He knows the wind blows ever from a new quarter. Without a compass, he knows to which direction the magnetic lines of power are aligned. Thus he is everywhere–in the party, in society, in the newspaper business, in the government, on the educational commission, in the Majlis, in the contractors’ association. And in order to be everywhere, he must consort with everyone. And in order to consort with everyone, he must be polite and know how to handle people, not step out of line, be humble and tractable, and forbearant. He must even write articles against factiousness. He should be versed in philosophy and speak of “freedom.” For these reasons, perhaps to show off as well, sometimes he gets the idea of showing some character and doing something. But because he rides the waves of events, by the time he gets up steam, the time to act has passed. He is left beached. And he learns fom this that he must not show the least sign of life.