01 Jan 2007

Why the Arab World is a Mess

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Pierre Heumann of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche spoke with Al-Jazeera Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Sheikh in Doha last month, and elicited a response expressing perfectly the characteristic irrationalism and ressentiment used as an excuse for Arab barbarism, violence, and sloth. WorldPoliticsWatch

How do you see the future of this region in which news of wars, dictators and poverty predominates?

The future here looks very bleak.

Can you explain what you mean by that?

By bleak I mean something like “dark.” I’ve advised my thirty year old son, who lives in Jordan, that he should leave the region. Just this morning I spoke with him about it. He has a son and we spoke about his son’s education. I’d like my grandson to go to a trilingual private school. The public schools are bad. He should learn English, German, and French — Spanish would also be important. But the private schools are very expensive. That’s why I told my son to emigrate to the West for the sake of my grandson.

You sound bitter.

Yes, I am.

At whom are you angry?

It’s not only the lack of democracy in the region that makes me worried. I don’t understand why we don’t develop as quickly and dynamically as the rest of the world. We have to face the challenge and say: enough is enough! When a President can stay in power for 25 years, like in Egypt, and he is not in a position to implement reforms, we have a problem. Either the man has to change or he has to be replaced. But the society is not dynamic enough to bring about such a change in a peaceful and constructive fashion.

Why not?

In many Arab states, the middle class is disappearing. The rich get richer and the poor get still poorer. Look at the schools in Jordan, Egypt or Morocco: You have up to 70 youngsters crammed together in a single classroom. How can a teacher do his job in such circumstances? The public hospitals are also in a hopeless condition. These are just examples. They show how hopeless the situation is for us in the Middle East.

Who is responsible for the situation?

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most important reasons why these crises and problems continue to simmer. The day when Israel was founded created the basis for our problems. The West should finally come to understand this. Everything would be much calmer if the Palestinians were given their rights.

Do you mean to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?

I think so.

Can you please explain to me what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with these problems?

The Palestinian cause is central for Arab thinking.

In the end, is it a matter of feelings of self-esteem?

Exactly. It’s because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West’s problem is that it does not understand this.

Hat tip to PJM.

4 Feedbacks on "Why the Arab World is a Mess"

bird dog

They are in their Dark Ages, a bit like Europe in the year 800, I think.

Dominique R. Poirier

Yes, indeed. Unmiskably, we have here the case of a man whose actions are truly justified by mere resentment since several of the statements he made are either totally irrational or, to the least, translate a poor knowledge in political science. Even some statements he made make him, de facto, a dangerous fanatic and, in the legal sense of the term, a terrorist.

vera fonteyn

I see no hope for this planet – there is too much greed, too much cruelty, too much materialism, too much envy,too many disparate belief systems,too many religions fighting one another for men’s hearts and minds, too much competitiveness, too much misplaced ambition – sum total: too much confusion. I think this planet would be a better place if those powers with nuclear power were to all simultaneously explode their nuclear bombs and render this plant extinct because mankind is not worthy of this planet.

these are the thoughts of a lost, and sad christian soul.

Beth Starr

the only hope for mankind is Jehovah’s kingdom


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