COUNTRIES like Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore, Finland and others which have no natural resources would not have developed and progressed if they did not utilize their human resources in all aspects by leaving behind traditions and norms that constrained their societies and have authority exceeding religion.
In fact in some countries, religion is applied in favor of worn-out norms, especially in preventing half of the population of a community to participate in economic growth and work.
This was the situation in such countries before half a century or so. They lagged behind and experienced crises not only because such traditions went against human nature and religious teachings; but they superseded everything. This is the reason why many Arab countries have been suffering for decades.
However, the balance changed when these countries found great leaders. Women were given the right to participate in accordance with the Islamic religion which urges people to work and states that women should be partners of men in production.
In the Arab world, we have several examples of countries which were able to catch up with modernity by liberating themselves from traditions and norms.
Here we are, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which preferred the future over grimness of the past. If the past remained, we would not have witnessed the successful and unique experiment. We would not have witnessed the mega projects and development in all aspects.
Also in the Kingdom of Bahrain and State of Kuwait, women have been partners in production for a long time by taking their natural role in all aspects. They turned a deaf ear to voices against this participation because such voices fear development of the society.
Undoubtedly, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a great nation in all aspects. It possesses massive capabilities which made it one of the effective countries in universal decisions. Given that countries which depended on their human resources managed to achieve major progress in all aspects, especially in the economy; how great would a society that possesses immense wealth, massive human abilities, and above all, a great leadership?
Observers of the development movement being witnessed in Saudi Arabia, especially in the past two years under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, will notice the ongoing organized and wise merging of creative abilities and natural resources, in addition to utilizing all social elements to serve the course towards the future.
This was highlighted recently in the royal decree on allowing women to drive; thereby, widening their scope of participation in production. There is no doubt that this would not have been achieved if customs and traditions continued to dominate the society.
For instance a few years ago, we saw those who attempted to control the society as if people were not born and raised in a proper Islamic way, such that need to be goaded in order to prove their faith and piety.
Such attempts prompted the Saudi street to jubilate when their horses were stopped from controlling the society. This is the same jubilation over the royal decree welcomed by various countries in the world.
Throughout the past decades, Saudi women participated – within available capabilities – in building the nation. They even reached high positions in various establishments, let alone having a role in the Shuraa (consultation) Council and major companies.
Women occupied positions that require them to handle billions of riyals in the stock market which is managed by a woman. Despite all that, they were held back by restrictions imposed by traditions and norms, which led to the increase of financial burden on a family.
In every attempt to get rid of worn-out restrictions, the fanatics undermined efforts to cancel the role of half of the society in order to maintain the dominance of men, and not as they brag and claim that they are doing so in respect for women.
Given that Allah helps those who help themselves and unity is strength, the Kingdom today needs support all its people – men and women – in its growth movement. Based on this belief, the decisions taken in the past two years were aimed at preparing the people for the implementation of Saudi’s 2030 vision which will lead to a huge shift in all aspects.
All these positive developments are the outcomes of strong hands which have been writing historic decisions. These are the same hands that we witnessed in the “decisive storm”, “operation restoration of hope”, opening the market for investors and the Arab-Muslims-America Summit through which the Kingdom brought 54 countries together.
Because of all these, we are able to say that since January 2015, we have been seeing good surprises from King Salman and his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. All these decisions proved to be in the interest of the Saudi society.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah – Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times