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BEFORE the technological revolution, the means of communication, especially between countries, depended on telegrams and reports of embassies and diplomats, and what the eyes and ears of other countries sent. Every word or phrase had its importance to officials because it indicated something that needed attention.
One day, one of the leaders of the region wanted to know how the decision-making process was in the Abbasid Caliphate, and what the daily habits of its officials were. He therefore sent one of the aides to Baghdad to investigate.
When the man arrived, the night had fallen, and a concert was taking place in the hotel. He attended the concert and saw someone playing a stringed instrument. When he asked about the instrument, he was told that it is called “Qanun” (dulcimer).”
The next morning he went to one of the official departments to clear a transaction and see how the process works. Because the transaction was missing some documents, the employee said, “The law does not allow this transaction to be completed without fulfilling all the necessary requirements.”
So when he returned to his country, he immediately went to the leader and said to him, “They have “qanun” that they dance to at night and rule during the day.”
This situation may be prevalent in some Arab countries, especially those in which the influential seek to benefit from musical evenings to advance their interests.
At night, they use the music of the qanun to amuse the decision makers so that they pass their bids, in accordance with the principle of “scratch my back and I scratch yours” because whoever gets entertained at night will not dare to hold the corrupt party accountable during the day.
There is no doubt that this is one of the forms of corruption practiced by the deep state, especially when it finds that decision-makers tend to have fun instead of caring about the affairs of the state.
Therefore, the economic, social and political paths retreat, and everything in the country becomes corrupt due to the slackness of an official who turns a blind eye towards the corrupt with the hope of being entertained in the evening.
In countries where the law is respected instead of the music instrument, no official dares to turn away from any shortcoming. On the other hand, in countries that are ravaged by corruption, there is no objection to the cost of projects increasing exponentially.
In fact, implementation is deliberately delayed under the term “executive orders”, a heresy invented by the corrupt to increase their plundering of public money.
One of the anecdotes that are told about the corruption of officials in an Arab country is that one of them visited Washington and met an American official. He was attracted by the design of one of the bridges, and asked him, “How much did this project cost you?”
The American replied, “Five million dollars.”
When the American visited the Arab country and met his counterpart, he asked him about the reason for the deterioration of the infrastructure in his country. The Arab took him to the office window and said to him, “Do you see that project?” pointing at an empty land. The American asked, “Which project?”
The Arab official said, “This land is designed for building one of the official administrations, and to this day it has cost us ten million dollars.”
Hence, when the American returned to his country, he wrote in his report: “We can rule the Arabs for a thousand years as long as they plunder themselves and the future of their generations.”
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
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