THE situation in several Arab countries was unexpected … and what was expected of these countries has become a dream. This is due to the fact that the ruling elites miscalculated and misread the situation that their countries could reach when they left its affairs on a serendipitous strike.
They did not tackle the challenges faced by the people in a serious manner, or they left matters to be handled by their aides and advisors, or they selected unqualified officials to run the affairs of the country.
For these reasons, development has retreated and retrogressed in various fields. Transparency has become an iron curtain that renders the future more oblique. As for democracy in some Arab countries, it has turned out to be a war and like rivers of blood, as if the COVID-19 pandemic not only affected people, but rather destroyed the systems and institutions of government, and weakened their immunity.
Hence, there are Arab countries living in a terrifying situation. If their leaders do not rectify the matter and rush to reform, the coming days will be similar to Hell. These leaders need to initiate reforms, even with surgical calculated objectives and without anesthesia so that the pain could serve as a wake-up call to encourage people to progress forward.
Perhaps the leaders of these countries should carefully read the Andalusian (Spanish) experience, which is not that different from the current reality, either during its glorious times and its renaissance led by its founder Abdul Rahman Al-Dakhel, or during the time of its weakness when the conviction of acquisition prevailed among the princes of Andalusia and made them divide the state among themselves until the state became fragile and on constant fear of either foreign invasion or internal conflicts.
Even if these conflicts were behind closed doors, they weakened the mini-states and led them to their demise, given that the princes of certain mini-states hired their enemies, the Franks, to overcome their own countrymen. The last of them was Abu Abdullah Al-Saghir, who did not know how to preserve a legacy built by his forefathers.
After Al-Saghir was expelled from his Granada, he stood on the hill where he used to perform his escapades. That was when his mother said to him the famous phrase — “Weep like a woman for a kingdom you could not defend as a man.”
The call to contemplate such lessons is not for entertainment purposes, as the rulers do not have time for entertainment. They are intended to ensure constant work for the good management of the country without any complacency, but with the speed and firmness of decisions.
It is a fact that people adhere to the principles of their leaders. A diligent leader is the one who makes victory available to his soldiers. He is not the one who is inactive in their affairs, as this is how corruption becomes common in his country. This is where the plague of the countries is found; the countries that were supposed to become more democratically advanced and well-established, and their institutions are managed in a transparent manner.
Unfortunately, the Arab rulers have had a conviction for decades, which is to take the opinions of their advisors who are often unqualified or uncultured. They perhaps place their own interest above the interest of the state.
There are many types of Isabellas and Fernandos in this world who lie in wait for the Arab countries in which the plague of the old age of administrations have spread, according to what Ibn Khaldoun said.
This aging could be due to the luxurious life the ruling elite indulge in. They dazzle in bliss, forgetting or making themselves forget the pain of their people.
Such ruling elites resort to armed forces to silence the people whenever it deems necessary, while corruption becomes rampant, the society divides into ethical, creedal and sectarian fragments, and looting becomes a norm.
The question that begs to be asked here is — Can some Arab rulers learn lessons from the Andalusian past?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times