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In 1900, the Ottomans established Hejaz railway to connect Damascus and Madinah, to carry pilgrims and soldiers as well as providing some military services. By 1908, the railway was launched. However, but it soon suffered a lot of damage and sabotage during the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in 1917. When Lawrence of Arabia joined the revolution, he urged the revolutionaries to blow the railway up. Since then, the attempts aimed at repairing it have failed. The railway started from Damascus to Basra in the south of Syria and then divides into 2 lines; the first goes to the south via Jordan and the second goes west to Palestine and then from Haifa to Egypt.
The path of the pilgrimage line started from the city of Damascus, crossed the Hauran plain, passed through Muzayrib, in addition to a number of areas located in southern Syria, all the way to the city of Daraa, then to Jordan, where it passed through Mafraq, Zarqa, Amman, and Maan, respectively, then entered the Hijaz and ended in the city!
The Ottomans, almost 130 years ago, also built the first railway, or the “Schmendiver Railway” in Lebanon, linking Beirut with Damascus, and the line subsequently included other Lebanese cities, but its government police went bankrupt with the devastation of Lebanon that began in 1975, but the members of the authority supervising the line continued to receive their salaries from the state until recently, despite the passage of half a century since the bankruptcy of the railway!
Their situation reminded me of the situation of the so-called “Abdullah Al-Salem Center for Leadership Development,” which was established in 1966, and often failed in its work completely, and this prompted the government to transfer its supervision to the Youth and Sports Authority, so that salaries and the rest of the privileges continue to be paid to the supervising authority.
This center, after changing its failed name, to become the Leadership Development Center, could have done a lot to qualify and prepare those chosen as undersecretaries, directors, and heads of organizations, to become worthy of assuming their positions, instead of the very modest level that we find in the majority of those who hold leadership positions.
This center was also able to provide the necessary training for the new deputies, and explain the requirements of the parliamentary work to them, especially since among them there are those who “distinguish themselves from reading and writing”!
It is known that the newly elected members of Congress in America engage in orientation programs, before they begin their official duties, as representatives or senators, in order to familiarize them with the processes and procedures of Congress, and provide them with the resources and support to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
Most of them receive training courses on various aspects of operations, learn about legislative procedures, functions of committees, role of staff, code of ethics and guidelines, resources available to them, get acquainted with experienced members and key staff of the board who can provide guidance and answer their questions, and provide them with necessary knowledge and tools. To navigate the legislative process effectively and to fulfill their duties as Representatives or Senators!
Perhaps we will dream for a long time of such an arrangement and initial training for the new members, which we desperately need, especially for the new representatives, or those who will be elected within days. We also hope that the next Speaker of Parliament will consider approving this idea, as the majority of members are in dire need of this type of training, more than the new members of Congress need it.
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By Ahmed Al-Sarraf