My understanding of the political significance of this divorce between political and demotic Arabic and the key place of writing in the perpetuation of despotism crystallised when I read the work of our great poet Adonis, entitled The Book. It is one of the most revolutionary books I've read in Arabic literature. Apart from its provocative title, it lays bare the truth of our political history as having been a series of assassinations in a struggle for power. But it's written in such a high style that it's a difficult text even for the educated, without taking into account the vast majority of illiterate folk. So, it's no wonder that The Book has remained a 'dead letter'. I may say that I once heard Adonis declare that he won't ever write except in 'grammatical' Arabic because he prefers writing in a 'dead language'. One may wonder if his choice doesn't also represent his method for dealing with the condition [the German-born American political philosopher] Leo Strauss describes in his Persecution and the Art of Writing. The authorities are happy to ignore such books because in the unlikely event that they themselves have understood them, they know that their message will only reach a very limited number of people.A tempting hypothesis in some ways, this idea that Fusha acts to insulate the majority of the population from the debates of intellectuals, keeping the powers that be safer from ideologically-inspired opposition and the intellectuals themselves safer (in the short term!) from popular reactions to their speculations. But is the issue really that people have trouble with the language, or just don't read much? Both are true to some degree, but in an era where TV shows and news programs in standard Arabic command large audiences across the Arab world, it's not plausible to blame everything on the difficulty of the language.
Elsewhere in the article he is said to imply that giving the colloquial greater status will "reduce any feeling of powerlessness as a result of a lack of formal linguistic expertise". That seems harder to argue with, given that many (probably most) people who can understand standard Arabic fine can't put together more than a sentence or two without mistakes, and certainly can't sound as eloquent or clear or at ease in it as in their colloquial language. But then again, what power does speaking standard Arabic well actually entail, when plenty of ministers and millionaires can't? Only the power to take part in debates that seem to have remarkably little effect on the society around them?