I against my brother. I and my brother against my cousin. I, my brother, and my cousin against the world (Arab Proverb)

Spot-on my friend! We should dispose of hatred and tribalism as human beings and as Arabs. We are meant to be different.

Creator Villa

Arab warriors fighting against the world
Bedouins in Battle.

The sequence in the title comes from a famous Bedouin proverb. The Bedouin were militarized Arab nomads who inhabited the deserts of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia prior to the development and sedentarization of the early 20th century. The proverb captured how human beings have conducted themselves for the great majority of recorded history. Human beings are tribal, and the basic unit of the tribe is the immediate family. Beyond the immediate family, people form loyalty ties based on kinship. However, there is a problem with this system. First of all, it implies people are always in conflict with others. And second, it implies that every human being will have an enemy in the great majority of people on earth. Indian-American novelist and author of The Sweetness of Tears, Nafisa Haji, captures some of this tension.

There is an old Arab Bedouin saying: I, against…

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6 thoughts on “I against my brother. I and my brother against my cousin. I, my brother, and my cousin against the world (Arab Proverb)

  1. Will we ever learn, that we are all one species? That we are all brothers and sisters living on one blue planet our only home. Black or white, Arab, German or American it matters not what we call ourselves. Or what borders we put around our conquered lands that then divides us.

    All divisions within our species have been man-made. We have done this to ourselves long ago and today still suffer the pointless consequences of a world of divided people. Only once united can humankind rise above the shame of in-species hatred, racism, cultural and ethnic differences and war — tribal or not.

    The flower of humanity will never bloom fully until shared equally among the sunlight that is freedom. The freedom of division amongst our own kind. Not until will we ALL see this sharing light can we then grow and flourish as one people, as nature intended us to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If each person were to truly accept full responsibility for his or her action and practice empathy, we would have less anger and envy. Recall when the question posed to famous authors, “What’s wrong with the world?” G.K. Chesterton wrote to say, “I am.” Imagine if people stopped blaming others for their own demise . . . The root of all evil is self-contempt.

    Liked by 1 person

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