Friday, March 4, 2016

Jordanian Writer: The Arabs Lag Behind In All Areas – As The World Moves Forward - MEMRI


Calling on the Arabs to wake up, take responsibility for their situation and stop blaming others for their problems

 On January 6, 2016, Jordanian journalist, writer, and political analyst Jihad Al-Mansi wrote in the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, under the title "Careful, The Car Is In Reverse!", about what he termed Arab society's position at the bottom of global rankings in science, culture, human and women's rights, and the war on corruption. He added that it lags behind the rest of the quickly advancing world which "has overtaken us by centuries, perhaps millennia."
Calling on the Arabs to wake up, take responsibility for their situation and stop blaming others for their problems, he said that instead they should invest their financial and human resources in advancing future generations, because it is no longer possible to rectify the situation of the current generation.
Following are excerpts from his article:[1] 

Jihad Al-Mansi (Source:

"The world is developing, in the philosophical, scientific, social, creative, educational, and cultural sense; it is on the verge of breaking free of backward gender-driven thinking...

"This is taking place in countries far from our Arab region. There, they are developing scientifically and culturally, competing for the top position in all human indices. At the same time, we, in this region of the world, remain at the bottom of these indices – and some of our countries are absent from them altogether.
"The Nobel laureates in peace, medicine, chemistry, physics, economics, and literature include people from all [countries] – but we Arabs are rarely among them, and for the most part sit in the audience [during the awards ceremonies] or watch them on TV...

"Our only way of consoling ourselves is to reminisce and to recall [Muslim researchers and philosophers such as] Al-Razi,[2] Al-Farabi,[3] Ibn Sina,[4] Al-Kindi,[5] Ibn Rushd,[6] Ibn Khaldun,[7] and others. We do so in disregard of the fact that most of these people, in whom we take pride for human and cultural reasons, were not Arab, and most of them were stoned [to death] or imprisoned, and some had their books burned or were accused of heresy...

"Our problem does not end at [our failure to win] a Nobel Prize. It is manifested much more in the fact that we hold no respectable position on any index or metric concerning freedom of thought, human rights, media, gender, environment, water, or war on corruption; our countries often come last in every field.
"When we participate in the Olympic Games, our countries promote the motto 'honor for [merely] participating.' When we want to try for an Olympic medal, our solution is to grant citizenship to [foreign] athletes to do so. We are not among those on the winner's podium – and if we are, our representation is miniscule. We celebrate every gold medal won by a Comoro Islander as if he had liberated Jerusalem. Kenya, Guinea, or Sierra Leone have medaled 10 times and aim for more – while we and our 22 countries rejoice at [winning] just one. This is despite the fact that the income of some of our countries, and maybe all of them, surpasses that of Kenya, Sierra Leone, and others. But [our] billions in income are squandered on purchasing [sporting] clubs, as we refrain from investing in [our own] human, ideological, and athletic resources.

"We are regressing, instead of progressing, in all fields: We fail in sports; we have no presence in the arts; politically, we execute the agendas of the superpowers and major enterprises, like pawns that move when expected and remain silent when demanded to do so. Economically, we are not welfare states; ideologically, we are influenced, not influencers; with regard to humanity, we reject the other rather than accept him. We accuse anyone who disagrees with us of being an infidel, and think that we're always right and the world is conspiring against us, never asking ourselves the logical question: Why would the world do this, when we are of no consequence in global, cultural, and human enterprise? We avoid the real answer, and cannot acknowledge that it is we who conspire against ourselves, killing each other and shedding each other's blood on pretexts based on a legacy that is 1,500 years old, more or less, [pretexts] that are intended to sow ethnic and religious conflicts among the streams and sects...
"Gentlemen, our car is in reverse, and is not moving forward – as the world has overtaken us by centuries, perhaps millennia. We have missed the boat for this generation, and it is beyond rectifying. Will we wake up and invest our financial and human resources to help the coming generations? Will we?"

[1] Al-Ghad (Jordan), January 6, 2016.
[2] Abu Bakr Al-Razi (865-92) – Persian philosopher who wrote in Arabic and was one of the preeminent physicians of the Muslim world.
[3] Abu Nasr Al-Farabi (872-950) – Muslim mathematician, scientist, physician, and philosopher who also made contributions in psychology, sociology, cosmology, logic, and music. He was known as The Second Teacher, since he was seen as second in knowledge only to Aristotle.
[4] Abu 'Ali Hussein Ibn Al-Sina aka Avicenna (980-1035) – Persian physician, philosopher, and scientist who was called "one of the greatest thinkers and medical scholars in history" by historian George Sarton.
[5] Abu Yousuf Al-Kindi (801-873) – Arab Muslim philosopher, mathematician, musician, and physician who was called "the Philosopher of the Arabs" and is considered the father of Arab and Islamic philosophy.
[6] Abu Al-Walid Ibn Rushd, aka Averroes (1126-1198) – Muslim physician and philosopher. Born and worked in Cordoba, Spain, and was highly influential on medieval European philosophy.
[7] 'Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) – prominent Arab historian and historiographer. Considered one of the fathers of historiography and sociological and economic research.



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