Our Arab mess [Archives:2005/828/Viewpoint]

March 28 2005

Almost every editorial and political column in the Middle East is covering the recent Arab Summit in Algeria. Most writings revolve around the outcomes of the summit and how it has become a joke, or how Arab leaders have made fun of themselves and the issues they are supposedly fighting for.

For me, this is no joke. In fact, it is rather sad. It is sad because we – as Arabs – seem to fail in every attempt we make to prove ourselves. And what's worse is that we keep on repeating our mistakes again and again.

The credibility of such summits, and even of the Arab League as such, fades with every failure.

The second article in the League of Arab States Charter states: “The League has as its purpose the strengthening of the relations between the member states, the coordination of their policies in order to achieve cooperation between them and to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and a general concern with the affairs and interests if the Arab Countries.”

Ironically, the opposite of this is happening. Instead of wasting money on such events, it was more important for the Arab leaders to take serious steps within their own countries to improve governance and reduce poverty.

Strength of countries is measured by the empowerment of the people and the welfare of the nations. The USA is not the supreme international power it is because of George W. Bush's muscles or how much he has in his bank account.

This is a critical era for the Arab world. A bad decision would not just hinder development of the Arab countries; it would risk their independency, sovereignty and accountability. The Arab mess of today is a result of short sightedness of Arab governments. Unfortunately making a political mistake has long term consequences that cannot be undone.

I have always believed in the great potential of Arab states. Financial and human resources, rich cultural heritage and the historical wealth are factors that could be used to take us from this mess. There is no excuse why the situation should be what it is today.

We have every potential to grow, and reach higher positions in the international stage. If we could only break out from the mental barriers that have been imposed on us willingly throughout the years.

There is no need for another summit, meeting or conference to realize who we are and what we can do. It's just a matter of having a living conscious and a clear vision. All Arab citizens have a shared responsibility with the governments to improve their nations.

The starting point comes from within, to hold the responsible ones responsible, or in one word: accountability.