One of the banalities of the 21st century is the everyday, boringly routine spectacle of people (individuals and groups alike) trying to help each other “out of despair” though emoticons, hashtags, memes and quotes without attribution to their authors and proverbs without their roots. The pretense of tolerance and mutual understanding is rife, but to the contrary. Perhaps, it’s another way of making sense of the way we live today, by joining a social network cult we believe that we are going to get rid of the monster in our midst. Through a compendium of those generational heuristics – better be called online amulets – we try to “motivate, inspire, unify, love, leave our legacies”, as we think prematurely and present-mindedly claim. While immersed in those “creativities of micro-politics”, where we “conspire to overthrow the evil string-pullers through a spirit of solidarity”, we’ve lost our linguistic abilities to make the “despots” understand and “take seriously”, the kinds of demands we’ve and the kinds of reforms we aspire to see. It’s the order of the day, not to be taken seriously by regimes in power. Because, taking our current state of revolutions, occupying public squares, joining a hashtag cult, an eclectic Facebook Group, we tend to speak in the parlance of what Orwell in his 1984 calls “Newspeak.” We scream out loud, we put our demands of placards, we organize street protests using social networks as platforms where we won’t risk imprisonment (if the assumption is so)…but the problem is that we a speak a kind of language that lacks genuine precision. If our demands are to be taken seriously, we need to be careful about our Freudian slips.
As far as we live in an aeon of states and their parastatals, politico-economic acolytes, it is high time that we force them to listen to what we’ve to say in a very well-articulated manner, or else it’s just another instance of wasting our time. If this precondition is not somehow met, the things that’re happening will go on happening every time we set our foot on the “sacred grounds” of the revolutionary square, be it Meskel Square, Tahrir, Tianmen or Red Square. It’s an obligatory act for us, to speak in a parlance (save the accents) that would give us the opportunity to be taken very very seriously. Doing so, we’ll make sure that we’re not “premature imbeciles” not any more, not as in pop culture, rather with a special reference to our current living condition (dire, monotonous and after all, a purview of many external “morons” aka, Super Powers, the Diaspora and Civil Societies).
As such, I claim, it’s a must for all of us to be authoritative in language. We should provide ourselves with a true authority, an authority that could function without the need for carnages, beatings, amputations, general cleansings, or else endless “Democratic Transitions through assisted reforms.” Hence, the principal rule of the game, the “Hunger Games” or the Government-Sponsored Purges, should be the utility of language, mother-tongue or foreign. If they cannot listen to us while we speak of our miseries, it is in part because of our manner of articulation. As far as guns are the “red carpets” to the palace (instead what some of our friends on Facebook mention, the use of pepper sprays used by the “civilized police” as in Europe), language is the only power we’ve as the “creative, collaborative class” as our power of argumentation – protest and revolt.
We cannot get what we want speaking to them in the context of “American Nihilism” – Whatever! Who Cares! Ridiculous! Awesome! Awful…the list goes on without bounds. Our generational struggle to claim a place in our contemporary setting is one that demands our heads and mouths. As is obvious from the historical experience of the last 30 years of the “Third Wave”, political reforms of those unbearably horrifying days we live in (if we’re lucky enough to survive) around the globe, whether they’re in the “civilized West” or else in the “underdeveloped east and south”, are moments in history that’ll definitely end up in maintaining the status quo. If we’re not taken seriously enough by the powerful ones, if they’re not heeding to our messages, if they’re playing a succession of “democratic reforms”, it means we will definitely go back to the beginning, where everything started or worse to a quagmire that’s harrowing the youth of Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia…to mention a few. Even the ones who promised us with “our democratization” (though it’s not clear what kind of democracy they would like use to adopt) will abandon us in times of our desperate need of support from them, for their Anglo-Saxon intentions are to make states fail constantly so that they could keep the “Holy Grail” of “Civilization” in their backyards.
When we start killing each other, as a result of our age-old, politically correct differences of opinion, using Soviet era weapons – AK47, Migs, hand grenades – they complain about the speed and efficiency of our “minimalist carnage”. For them, a true carnage is the one allows to cleanse an entire population with the swift deployment of drones and the quick training and financing of their ancillaries, whom they nicknamed “Terrorists” but with unforgettable Arabic or Afghan names – Al-Qaida, Taliban, Daesh, Al-Nusra….
So I say, instead of doing the dirty job for them – their sadomasochistic cleansing of people outside their “civilizational world-views” – we better pull our socks and get to the bottom of the story, the strongly felt existential dilemma we face everyday in light of our respective countries’ generational schisms, start the obligatory and necessary project of taking our demands a step further, with a meticulous understanding and employment of the power of language. True revolutions are made possible only when they have the power to be easily remembered and gradually understood, which necessarily emanates from the kind of language they employed.
So I claim (as I usually do), behind every failed revolution (the oft-quoted statement) is another failure, a failure in the use of language itself. But this is not to mean every well-articulated revolutionary manifesto will necessarily result in successful revolutions. Far from it, every demand for a radical change must be buttressed by the sublime beauty and beast of our linguistic abilities. Wasn’t it language that has given Ethiopia to host the OAU/AU HQ since its foundation in 1963? Wasn’t it language that made Gaddafi to fail to achieve his goals of relocating the AU HQ to Libya? By way of a quote, to paraphrase Ludwig Wittgenstein, the limits of my language means the limits of my revolution.