The Dark Dance

Culture, History, Politics


July 8, 2016

By Farah K. Yachouhi

Internal decay and the rise of radical thinking combined with external invasions are the three main factors that have caused the dissolution of many empires and civilizations. It has been as such throughout history and still is so today. We often hear calls for change, but even change seems to have a pattern. What is there to change?

Let’s go back to The Roman Empire, one among many empires that was caught in a dark dance. It tolerated all faiths, ethnicities and cultures as long as the people paid their taxes! As it gradually expanded, it became harder and harder to protect the borders and to govern the territory as a whole. Can you think of a couple of nation states from today’s age that embrace multi-culturalism and pluralism yet others who are still struggling with it!

Political corruption, economic paralysis, social decay and moral backwardness had long started eating up through this magnificent giant before the Dark Ages dawned on them. The Roman Empire became so vulnerable and frail that external tribal “Barbarian” invasions rapidly flowed into its territory and caused its fragmentation.

Yes, Constantine I while still ruling the The Eastern Roman Empire that servived the invasions and fragmentation almost 1000 years after the fall of The Western Roman Empire, converted to Christianity in the 4th century hoping to restore stability, but doing so only gave the radical Christians __ whom would be called terrorists today__a stronger voice in the ruling class. Constantine I’s fear of losing the Empire to a growing group of radicals pushed him to make a few uncalculated decisions, in an attempt to tame the dragon, but he unleashed it instead.

Following that point in history, Europe entered an age ruled by uncivilized fanatics we now call the Dark Ages, but Rome was already suffocating with overpopulation, poor tax revenue, high unemployment rates, a weak army, xenophobia and an incompetent leadership. In fact, with all of these elements in mind, it is safe for one to say that the Dark Ages had started long before the fall of this great empire! What about these elements? Aren’t they lurking in every corner and under every brick we lift?

With that said, internal decay and radical thinking are two realities humanity cannot escape. Aren’t the repeated stories of the rise and fall of different civilizations enough to admit that living in Utopia is only possible in books and theories of romantic dreamers and idealists? It seems so logical and only rational to accept the truth of this unescapable cycle. If one cannot stop the music, all one can really do is learn to dance the Dark Dance!

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