IT IS a deep-rooted perception in most Arab nations where revolutions and coups have occurred that the chief enjoys all sorts of luxury, living in palaces taken from legitimate owners. The chief asks people to be patient day and night in facing the crisis. They must stand together in confronting the conspiracy that the country has been witnessing. In reality, conspiracy is created through the ideas of leaders.
This reality made such countries retrogress in every aspect — education, health, development and living standards. Instead of eliminating injustice, the coup leader adopted it as a slogan to gain power. Injustice has flourished and prisons have become congested. Beggars have multiplied. Agricultural land and buildings have shrunk while the unemployment and illiteracy rates have been increasing at an alarming level. The apparatus of such regimes enhances the culture of slogans instead of building the culture of work and production.
For example in Egypt, the so-called Nasser Revolution in 1952 was the beginning of corruption in that country and society; as well as gagging opposition voices or critics through various ways up to the extent of killing, torture and disappearance in prisons for years, if not decades.
The same occurred in Iraq during the 1958 revolution, followed by the coup d’état of Bai in Tunisia. The worst was what became of Libya during the revolution of Muammar Gaddafi when the country crumbled because of the strange politics of the colonel.
What calls for sarcasm in this matter is that all the so-called revolutionary regimes raised the slogan, “Free Palestine,” in order to facilitate stealing from people and looting resources at a time Palestine was being torn into pieces by the Zionist settlers while its factions were used in Arab wars. The wealth of the coup leader grew.
When those leaders enhanced the illusion of ideal revolution and their inerrancy while repeating slogans such as, “Land before Offer,” and “Defending Honor of the People,” they violated people’s honor under the guise of protecting the revolution. They did not develop the land under the pretext of allocating State resources for war purposes. This is why most towns and villages in those countries look like they are still in the 19th century. Their best is still at the beginning of the 20th century and nothing indicates that they will join us in the current century.
It is anachronism to see the entire Europe, despite its different cultures and languages in addition to disputes concerning borders, giving up the limited conception of sovereignty which was the reason behind wars among European countries. Europe declared the European Union, turning the continent into a major power in the world while Arabs are widening gaps between each other although they have one language, one culture and one religion.
Britain will soon leave the European Union. Will it block the tunnel that crosses underneath the English Channel and connects it with France? Will passport control centers be established at the entrances of the tunnel or will it remain as a connecting road between the two old enemies? Unquestionably, it will remain as it is.
One can cross from East Europe to the West and from North to South without going through a single border checkpoint. This is happening while the Arab World is still raising slogans like, “Free the Occupied Lands,” and singing, “Our unity is unbreakable,” stimulating the passion of millions of Arabs. Countless checkpoints are being set up everywhere inside one country. Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya are the best examples. However before these examples, there was Lebanon which is smaller than many European cities yet it has witnessed the establishment of thousands of checkpoints for 17 years. All this is done under the shabby pretext of sovereignty.
The 16th century meaning of sovereignty is no longer valid in the 21st century. Actually, advanced technology has removed the borders; changing the meaning of sovereignty into common interests between different countries, prompting nations to modify their situation. This sovereignty/interest ended up with unemployment, poverty and backwardness.
On the contrary, the old-fashioned sovereignty that is limited to enthusiastic hollow slogans neither secured food for the starving nor supply medicines to patients. It neither brought security nor reduced crime rates. The number of crimes in some Arab countries with revolutionary regimes has reached the dangerous level which prevents any foreign investor from making a small project.
After a long period of struggles and wars, the advanced countries have concluded that common interests fulfill the needs of citizens and turn their ambitions into reality. Creating disputes and struggles over a plot here or there will never be part of people’s favor.
This is the way Arab minds should think if they want to join those dealing with 21st century data.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times