Oppressive leaders, weak nations [Archives:2003/624/Viewpoint]

February 24 2003

Never has the Arab world been in such a weak and pathetic situation. We have come to see with our own eyes a brotherly country on the verge of being attacked, while the whole Arab world is silent. It is even more bizarre to see that some Arab countries find no other alternative but to serve the US plans by offering them their military bases.
How did we arrive to such miserable conditions?
In my opinion, the main cause is the oppression and lack of freedom in Arab countries. First, one could ask why this is the case. But if we look into our daily lives closely and study our habits and day-to-day interactions, we can easily find out that it is only normal for us to be in such humiliating conditions.
In other words, you or I cannot imagine a nation with 99.9 per cent of its population under oppression to be a strong nation. Isn't it logical that a strong nation can only be strong if its people are free?
Might is not that of military power. And even though there may have been past oppressive regimes that were mighty because of their wealth and military capacities, they eventually collapsed because their people were suffering.
It is the people's power that makes a mighty nation. If citizens are too oppressed and weak to express their opinions freely to their bosses, managers, or presidents, how can they participate in building a strong nation?
As Arab countries, we need to fix our own houses from the inside before we can even think of having any role in the international arena.
It seems that our regimes are slowly and painfully realizing the consequences of long years of oppression.
Here's one example of how oppression results in the destruction of a nation. If a family's father is oppressive to his children, beating them continuously and applying no justice in the house, those children would grow up in continuous fear, not only of him, but of everything they do. They lose their decision-making abilities and think that anything they do should be monitored and approved by their father.
After some time, the whole house is filled with fear and weakness. None of the children will present any ideas for change or innovation. They would all be following their father's orders and wouldn't have their own independent personalities.
It is hence very easy to realize that if there is anyone to blame for the weakness we reached today, then it is our leaders. Thanks to them, we are among the least developed, least free, least productive, and least efficient countries in the world.
I would have a little bit of hope that things could be better in the future if our leaders at least would identify this problem and start opening the way for freedom in their countries and leave behind their oppressive nature.
But unfortunately, even that isn't happening.