The Lost Middle

There is a famous Arabic saying that basically means the best of things lies in the middle. It makes sense, right? The middle is where you find moderation, compromise, and solutions that satisfy all parties to some extent. The middle is where agreements were made to end brutal wars. It is where negotiations succeed in settling conflicts and establishing peace. The middle is what makes co-existence among people exist.

But what has happened to the middle today? No one can be in it without being accused of treason for failing to support one’s people, government, ideology, or religion. No one would believe that you are in the middle. If you criticize one side, this puts you automatically on the other side even if you don’t support the other side. Things have become either black or white. No space in the middle for some shades of grey.

The problem is this lack of middle ground has translated into actions that caused endless death and hatred that would last for generations to come. It does not confine itself to one area or country. It has spread all over the actual and virtual worlds. You cannot post anything on Facebook or Twitter without people over interpreting your intention behind this post. I often find myself forced to explain over and over again why I am sharing an article or a point of view. And even after clearly stating my stance on a certain issue, as long as I am not siding with one group against the other, my views are considered invalid or I am trying to disguise my support to a certain group. As if it is impossible to be neutral!

I cannot help it but wonder when and how we lost the middle? When have we become so extremist? And why the opposition of one side has to be the support of the other?

One would expect living in such an era where information is so easy and cheap to get, people would be more objective and educated. You would expect people who live in a closely connected world to be more tolerant and accepting of each other. You would expect people to use all the forums that modern technology invented for us to listen to each other and learn rather than listen to reply with already prepared answers. You would expect people to talk to reach the truth together rather than debate to prove each other wrong.

I don’t know why we lost moderation and became extremist on every small and big thing. I don’t know what and how long it will take to go back to the middle where we respect and try to accommodate each other. However, I surely know that as long as we are far away from the middle, we will continue to be lost in a world of hatred and darkness.

By Nour Hamed.

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