Questions & answers on the Arabs reality (1-3) [Archives:2006/951/Opinion]

June 1 2006

By: Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb
Has Arab reality evolved into conundrums some try to decipher while others remain bewildered at finding a solution to them? Have our conditions become a crossword puzzle for which we no longer know how to find the proper words or even how to look for them? Moreover, have we reached a day when all questions have piled up in our minds after all those ludicrous and grievous happenings we witness and surprises and bizarre events that dragged us into labyrinths and a world of irrationalism and thus answers for them as part of a locked secret?

These questions crowded my mind while deeply pondering situations of our Arab and Islamic nation and trying to concentrate on finding answers to a limited number of them. Each answer involves a huge title for in-depth research containing the ailment and the cure, the problem and the solution.

A satellite television channel recently raised 50 questions to be answered in one minute. From this hard task, I emerged with a heavy burden of woes which pushed me to communicate some of those questions to readers and researchers to answer them.

One question asked about the most prominent problem facing the nation.

I think it's ignorance, resulting not only from the mechanism, but rather from reality – past, present and future events. It results from neglecting to face facts and learn lessons, lagging behind the procession and accepting reality as it is and by thinking it's the best attitude. Moreover, ignorance springs from misunderstanding the core of our ideology and failing to understand religious Sharia law, which God bestowed upon us and gave us the highest human position.

The second question was about the most embarrassing stages our nation has experienced.

Most stages were critical since the beginning of history to wars and conflicts over power, disintegration, the terms of Andalusia and the Crusades. All are events leading to colonization periods, the Palestinian tragedy, the June 5, 1967 setback, the invasion of Kuwait, the 1994 secessionist war in Yemen, the fall of Baghdad and other defeats, setbacks, bloody events and uncountable mistakes.

However, I think our contemporary history's most critical stage is the one in which we are living because it will be a crucial one. Either we will emerge from it safely to resume the march and create a place for us on the new world map or get lost on the “road map” designed for us by others who are usurpers and become drowned in labyrinths of greed and humiliation, ending in cessation.

The first problem we must overcome is that of disputes that contributed to dismembering the nation. It has eased the task of those with suspicious schemes, concocted intentions and ambitions for our wealth and enmity toward our values and Sharia law. The beginning lies in abandoning single-handed performance and using violence and terrorism to tackle our issues or express an opinion or stance. This approach has harmed Arabs as a nation and people and provided hostile forces with pretexts to implement their plots and achieve their purposes.

The most important issue that must be subjected to dialogue is that related to Arab youths' problems. It's an urgent issue whereupon it's inevitable to begin constructive dialogue and discuss its causes and means of treatment before it's too late. All statistics indicate that the majority of our nation's sons are youth below age 25, comprising 60 to 65 percent of the population, with four million young people annually entering the Arab market in search of job opportunities. The unemployment rate will rise to 20 percent of the Arab workforce's bulk volume.

Youth problems nowadays are too numerous, beginning from wrong education curricula, receding of correct guidance and the role of media and satellite channels and the spacious vacuum they experience in many countries. This leads us to two basic problems to which we must admit when youth reach a crossroads. They will face only two options: either deviation with all of its sins, firstly addiction and extremism, or falling victim to those encouraging terror and accusing family, society and homelands of being infidels.

Prof. Abdulaziz Al-Tarb is an economist and a professor in Political Science. He is the head of a number of professional associations, such as the Arab Group for Investment and Development.