Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Are the Arabs Apathetic?

A Short Comment
By Tony Sayegh

These questions keeps arising: why are the Arabs so apathetic and quiescent? Why is the whole world changing except in Arab countries? Why are the only absolute monarchs and dictators Arabs? Why do we find a young American woman, growing up in Olympia, Washington motivated enough to leave a comfortable life to go and join the ISM and try to protect a Palestinian home in Rafah, and in the process get crushed to death by an IOF bulldozer, while countless similar Arab youth would not even think of doing the same?

This is one quick and partial explanation, in my humble opinion.

I am not a behavioral scientist by training, but I know a little bit about what motivates human beings. Abraham Maslow (I think in 1943) defined a hierarchy of motivators, in a pyramid form.

At the lowest level, what motivates people is simple survival: food, shelter, etc.

Next comes safety: security of body, family, property, employment, etc.

And up the pyramid it goes. At higher levels, humans are motivated by power and wealth to control others.

Finally, at the highest levels we are motivated by esteem and self-actualization: confidence, respect of and by others, creativity, self-sacrifice for others, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts, etc.

I think that one explanation is that perhaps 80-90% of Arabs today are at or near the two lowest levels. Another 5% or so, are at the level of exercising power (military, police, or financial) over others.

Finally, less than 1% may have reached the highest level, and many of those have already left to other countries, where they can exercise their freedom, creativity and self-actualization.

I know that this is not a full explanation, but I hope that it sheds some light on this important subject.

I would like to read your comments.

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