A wake-up call [Archives:2004/726/Viewpoint]

April 5 2004

Arab nations are frustrated, angry, and hopeless about their regimes. Last week's images of Israeli forces storming in the holy Al-Aqsa mosque have resulted in massive outrage in the Arab world, but triggered little motion from our Arab leaders, whose state after the failure to hold the Arab Summit has become pathetic and unjustifiable.
The most religious site in the Muslim world has been attacked and praying men were shot, while the whole world was watching.
Arabs are more and more willing to believe that Arab regimes have lost their legitimacy, their power, their responsibility towards their people, and most saddening, they have lost the respect of their people.
What has happened at the Al-Aqsa Mosque is a serious indication of the carelessness and little regard Israel pays to the Arab regimes. We have millions of soldiers, artillery, oil, and natural resources, but all of this is useless unless there is political will and determination for change.
What we have seen is something incredibly disturbing and should ring a bell of danger and action for Arab leaders. But as many Arab citizens believe, there seems to be little hope that those leaders would ever listen.
In an interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi Newspaper's Editor-in-Chief Abdulbari Atwan on Al-Jazeera, the facts were laid very bluntly and openly: “There is simply no hope in those regimes. They have all decayed and turned into useless objects in the hands of the West. That is why citizens should start their revolutions as they did in Georgia, and Indonesia.”
I do not necessarily agree with Atwan in the solution of revolutions against Arab regimes, but nevertheless, the pathetic and weak situation in the Arab world needs to be handled and waiting will only lead to more frustration and problems.
What has also caused more outrage than ever before is the inability of Arab leaders to bring their acts together and come out with a unified stance concerning the Arab Summit.
Disputes and arguments have continued over the last two weeks between those leaders, who have continued to disappoint their people.
The frustration felt in the street is high, but it will most probably become even greater as time passes and as more negativities appear on the surface. Arabs have come to see that they are now far behind in virtually all aspects and fields compared to other countries of the world.
What is even more disturbing is the fact that, according to Human Development and World Bank Reports, Arab economies are deteriorating, unemployment is increasing, education is marginalized, freedoms are oppressed, and many other problems are still present, and are even worsening.
There is always a way if there is a will. But Arab citizens are slowly losing the slightest hope in a better future, and this will affect their overall productivity and efficiency levels.
After the Al-Aqsa attack, Arab citizens are asking “What next?”. Some are wondering what would the reaction be if foreign forces wanted to attack into other holy Muslim sites that are even more important for them. What will the reaction be, other than condemnation?
This is indeed a time to ring the bell as strongly as possible and stress that it is about time for a wake up call for our leaders.
Will they realize the situation and act? We hope so.