The Middle East Masquerade Party

by Mordechai Kedar
October 1, 2014

A masquerade party is a social event in which participants’ faces are covered, allowing them to say and do all the things they would either be ashamed or afraid to say if they could be identified. A mask frees its wearer from limitations that derive from his status, identity, family situation, past, friends and even the ideas he ordinarily defends. It gives him a new identity, a different one, untouched and free of constraints.

Some participants even change masks during a ball, giving themselves another identity and further liberties that differ from the first false image created by the previous costume they wore earlier in the evening. Masks allow their wearers to lie to others present at the party without anyone being able to notice them blush and blink their eyes. The only way to know the true identity of participants is to tear the masks from their faces. And that is what academic research is supposed to do.

The Middle East is one big masquerade party, and all those taking part in it wear masks that are intended to project a false image to the outside world. Each participant changes his mask in accordance with the masks worn by the others around him, acts and speaks as the others do, even if he said and did entirely different things a day earlier – because today he is wearing a new mask. The truth remains hidden, and can only be exposed by expending much effort on research. There are some participants who wear multiple masks, one on top of the other, until they fall off and reveal the true face hiding beneath them……


Mordechai Kedar on al-Jazeera about Jerusalem & Islam

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