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THE State is based on a decision made by people, who are a mixture of leaders, ministers, parliamentarians and even those in the middle positions. These people share a common factor, which is the ambition for their country to be at the top level of progress and civilization. There are some who retreat if officials do not have the opportunity to realize the size of the sacrifices they have to bear, while others advance and take steady steps forward. In the countries that are progressing, one does not hear the argument that this or that is futile.
Rather, there are those who deal with their problems with a decision. Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong, but the wheel of reform is always in motion. Undoubtedly, all countries went through difficulties, even the United States of America, which paid a heavy price in its beginnings, but George Washington’s determination to unite them made them victorious, as did Abraham Lincoln when he launched the freedom march for slaves. Therefore, only a few of its 46 presidents were mentioned in history, such as Harry Truman, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush. That is because they accomplished what no one else did, and they were decisionmakers.
No one in the region can forget the late Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah who campaigned for the independence and protection of Kuwait. No one can forget the late King Abdulaziz bin Saud who unified this great kingdom, or King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Prince Muhammad bin Salman for what they did to achieve reforms, or the late Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed who revived the Sultanate of Oman and made it a pearl of civilization and knowledge with a silent work environment where you only hear the noise of machines working. The same is the case with the United Arab Emirates where the leaders worked to establish a state from scratch. The efforts of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed, who was a legend in building, are unforgettable.
This is what Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and the current leaders of the Emirates did in the modern renaissance after they found a solid infrastructure. Likewise, the leaders of Qatar did not say, “It is difficult for us” but they instead overcome all difficulties in order to achieve the highest levels of development in their country. This was what the Kingdom of Bahrain did, which is why it is today one of the crown jewels of the Gulf Cooperation Council. They did not look at their countries from ivory towers, but were among the people.
They still walk among them without a helmet, because they know they have done everything their people need. Similar is the case with Singapore with regard to the presidency of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who found an island drowned in illiteracy, corruption, ignorance, and unemployment. He neither relied on the status quo, nor did he say, “I cannot because the parliament opposes me.” He instead made every effort to make the per capita income in Singapore one of the highest rates in the world, and within 30 years, he transformed the country into a global financial hub.
By the way, all of the aforementioned leaders are not geniuses; all they had was ambition for their countries to be an example to mimic. On the other hand, what did Kuwait do? To this day, the Bedoun issue is still stuck somewhere, the education sector is going from bad to worse, the health sector needs a medical team to revive it, and the loans issue has a negative factor every day. As for the infrastructure, it is better to do patchwork, and drag the problems in all state institutions on a tractor, due to the absence of a decision.
In Kuwait, we always hear repeated slogans and rhetoric, but we have not seen any moves. If you ask, you will be told this is the price of democracy, from which we have taken nothing but insults and accusations, conspiring against each other, as well as corruption and bribes, and we end up asking, “If it was futile, there isn’t anyone to work on it?” Can’t we emulate the countries that rose because of determination and will, or will we keep crying over spilled milk?
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times