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Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Why Arabs Won’t Rise Up Anytime Soon

September 15, 2013 7 comments

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Building on my humble knowledge, I get to have some observations and analysis of the world I live in. So here’s one for the day: Arabs won’t rise up anytime soon!

My aim here is not to push you  to lose hope on Arabs progress, but rather trying to shed light on certain elements of why are the Arab nations still way behind in terms of technology, economy, civil-rights, and politics, just to name a few.

Yes, I’m an Arab and I sadly got to the conviction that Arabs won’t rise up anytime soon. If you observe how nations grew into world powers you will realize that most of them have two main factors in common: Institutionalization and care for public good. Apparently, those two factors are missing (either one or both) from almost all Arab countries!

We’re mostly an individualistic nation: a nation formed of hundreds of millions of individuals who want to shine individually rather than as a nation. Collaborating together for the common good in a well-structured and institutionalized manner is something perhaps beyond the short-term wins that those individuals perceive.

We dislike systems, processes, policies, procedures, long term goals and the common good when it contradicts with personal gain and hence we try to avoid them as much as we could! So if we can avoid filling a form, not follow a procedure, rule, or policy (or at least get away with it), take a shortcut, or go for a quick win, we’d will go for it.

Examples of what I mean here can be as small as not standing in line whenever there is a queue to not stopping on a red light or following the road signs. It can also be as major as politicians not acting as part of an institution with a system, but rather acting like heads of mafias, bending and changing the rules, the governmental institutions and policies to fit their own needs and desires. The bigger problem is not that they do it, but rather no one actually holds them accountable for what they do. Many people accept such a behavior and thus the issue exacerbates with time. Even with the so-called “Arab Spring” and the people rising to demand for their rights, the same thing was done all over again, “leaders” took charge and bent rules to fit them and their “group”.

Just to be fair, there are some positive deviants from the norm, like in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where they actually plan years ahead, put systems and policy in place, and do proper enforcement and follow up. In Egypt, though millions go on demonstration, they leave the roads clean and ensure things are properly back in place.

Nevertheless, most of us are always chasing the quick wins, the individual recognitions, the shortcuts and the “what’s in it for me” attitude, at least for the time being. So in a nutshell, we’re mostly an individualistic nation, we produce endless shining stars but not a collaborative galaxy!

My recommendation would be to start learning the following, so we can perhaps start taking baby steps towards progress:

  • Willingness to learn, humbleness, and long term strategic planning from the Japanese
  • Willingness to put the nation before self, economic agility and discipline from the Chinese
  • Structuring and building systems, pragmatic thinking and financial wizardry from the Americans
  • Strength and value of team work and communal wellbeing from the Penguins
  • Perseverance, discipline and working as one from the Ants

I’m saying all of this not with a perspective of despair but rather a belief that everything is feasible and if we learn to change how we think and act, we can definitely do wonders.

 

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Arab Spring, the Economy & Social Entrepreneurship

November 6, 2011 22 comments


My dear reader, for a while now we’ve been hearing endless analysis, campaigns and strategies about each one of the above topics individually..from the Arab Spring to the Economy in the Arab world and last but not least “the” topic in town: Social Entrepreneurship.

What I’ll be doing in this article is drawing on the inter-connectivity of the 3…specifically to shed light on the big picture of the current Arab world and how things are heading.

The whole discourse is based on readings, observations, analysis and discussions I had with people across the Arab world from opinion leaders, to CEOs and senior management of companies, activists, governmental officials and so on. Here it comes…

The so called “Arab Spring” started from Tunisia, where Boazizi put himself on fire to revolt in the face of injustice, lack of work opportunities and his sense of hopelessness… he just gave up on his life and on going anywhere but downhill. Yet, Boazizi was not an ignorant man nor a weak person, he was a man of modest education, hard worker and a lot of perseverance. Yet what he lacked was a job, a sustainable and decent income for himself and his family. His story isn’t an “island” but rather a story shared by so many across the Arab world, from illiterates to PhD holders, who are facing difficulties in finding a job…and the unemployment rates are soaring higher than ever.

With the youth bulge in the region, which the World Bank estimated in 2010 that 60% of the Arab world are people under 30 years old, the market is becoming a highly competitive place for job seekers. Millions of Arab youth are working hard on getting their education, graduating and then…the rest is unknown. The funny/sad matter is that the higher the degrees the youth are getting, the harder it is to find a job in their hometown. One asks himself the question of why? How come? …but the answer is simple..there aren’t enough jobs out there…the infrastructure and companies aren’t equipped well enough nor are they growing fast enough to accommodate for this influx of highly educated workforce…and the list can go on.

Consequently, most of those youth who are jobless and are not being heard…have no where to go but the streets…to demand change..to demand jobs..to demand their dignity to be safe-guarded…and when you have thousands and millions of educated people either in low-paying jobs or jobless …they will revolt…they will seek to make things better…one way or another.

Now the case is that many Arab countries, the economic status they have is different, the social behaviors are different, norms and cultures may also be different…yet what all of the revolutions have in common is demanding change..a change in governance…a change to the better…a change to put up leaders who care for the nation more than they care for power…a change that will bring about economic growth, jobs, resources, dignity for the people and a sense of equality and justice.

Now if we take a bird’s eye view on this whole matter, and with some research into past revolutions across the centuries from the French revolution until today…one can simply realize that after every revolution..there comes some chaos before order is restored…and things will look better hereafter, much better.

Moreover, how things will look in the future…is not much of a mystery either…history repeats itself, with minor modifications. The issue in the Arab world is not the lack of money or resources, there are billions of it in cash yet it’s how we’re making use it(or the lack of).

In this context, the future of the Arab World in the coming 10 years will include the following general guidelines:

  • Educated youth will start seeking to create jobs for themselves, rather than seeking jobs. They will starting making some start-ups, capitalize on the entrepreneurial/innovative skills and become more willing to take risks rather than seeking a stable governmental/corporate jobs.
  • Numerous capital ventures, angel investors and impact investors will start popping up to support Social & Impact Entrepreneurs who not only seek making profit but also leaving a positive impact on the society along the way.
  • Arab nations will realize that each country will not be able to sustain and grow on its own … thus cross border/pan-Arab economic and infrastructure projects will be launched. From unifying electric grids, to opening borders for trade and travel, to creating joint ventures, to mega infrastructure improvements to lure more investments and build a ripe ground for further corporate growth. This will look something similar to the Marshall Plan set by the US to aid Europe rebuild itself and prosper post World War II, yet its Arab based for Arab’s benefit.
  • Family based businesses will nourish and especially those that are gulf based, state supported, and/or “royal”. With the rich getting richer, we can expect some major growth in family based conglomerates.
  • Educational systems will start shifting into more specialized degrees, informal learning, on-the-job learning, and major involvement of technology in the whole learning process.
  • Real-estate business will no longer be the major industry in many countries, to be replaced with other industries like ICT, manufacturing , agriculture, telecom, consultancy, tourism, research/think-tanks amongst others as well. Thus requiring a more diverse workforce.

The above 5 general headlines will start taking place naturally, one step at a time, to accommodate for the political/governmental changes as well as the expected chaos in some of the countries. These new opportunities and systems will encompass creating jobs for almost 100 million youth that will be joining the Arab workforce by 2020.

If jobs are not created in the thousands every month across the Arab world…the economies will not grow nor sustain, governments/dictators/leaders will tumble one after the other…until the wealth is more evenly distributed, dignity and financial-independence is secured for the millions who are graduating annually.

Until then…the Arab Spring will continue, chaos and instability in many countries will prevail until the void is filled and nations start rebuilding themselves, one brick at a time.

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Aie Serve: Uniting Youth Through Service

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Aie Serve Logo

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The bellow article is featured on Youth Action Net Website
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What began in Tunisia in December 2010 led to the mass demonstrations in Egypt starting on January 25, and now the rest of the Arab world is following. Lebanon is no exception. On February 27th, many Lebanese youth activists gathered for a demonstration against the sectarian system in Lebanon, demanding changes in both the constitution and the way daily governmental business is carried out.

This rising consciousness and refusal to succumb to the status quo is rooted in the same spirit that prompted myself and a group of friends to launch Aie Serve four years ago. Instead of staying silent, we decided to take positive action.  Aie Serve is a youth-based, youth-managed, and youth-funded organization dedicated to promoting a culture of volunteerism in Lebanon. Translated from Japanese, aie (pronounced “I”) means love.

The idea for Aie Serve came during the aftermath of the 2006 July War on Lebanon and resulted from the sharp polarization of Lebanese youth along sectarian, political, and religious lines. We started brainstorming ways of tackling this issue and agreed that three basic values were missing in Lebanon: Love, Tolerance, and Respect. We espouse love for others based on who they are and not which political background or sect they are from, while promoting tolerance and respect of others’ point of views and beliefs.

Over time, we started gathering more ideas and people, organizing ourselves while focusing on serving our community and society at-large. Aie Serve evolved from a group of friends, to a group of community-service minded youth, to a team and an organization. Examples of Aie Serve volunteer activities include book and clothing donation drives, reforestation and recycling projects, and assistance to orphans and the elderly.

In the last four years, we’ve experienced exceptional growth in the number of projects we do, our members, and our outreach. The impact we see on the ground is both fulfilling and inspirational. We find volunteerism is now contagious wherever we go. What’s more – in keeping with our mission – we find that caring for others is a universal value that brings people together and bridges divides.

Those around me know quite well that I am an optimist and a hard worker and so I believe that with a vision, hard work, and true commitment a small, dedicated group can achieve great things… and the biggest proof is where Aie Serve stands to day!

Afif Tabsh is Co-founder and voluntary President of Aie Serve. In 2011, he was named one of ten finalists selected for the King Abdullah II Award for Youth Innovation and Achievement.

فلتحيا مصر، فليحيا الشعب العربي و لتحيا العروبة

February 11, 2011 3 comments

 

    .نادراً ما اكتب باللغة العربية ولكن في هذه المناسبة وفي هذه الظروف لا يمكنني إلا أن اكتب بالعربي

    هنيئاً لمصر وهنيئاً للشعب العربي في كل البلاد العربية. لقد رفع الشعب المصري رأس كل عربي في هذه الثورة، تمكنت الإرادة الشعبية من أن تنتصر على سنين من الظلم والإستبداد، على حكومات وانظمة متامره ومتخاذلة وذليلة. لقد عاد الشعب العربي يتنفس العروبة والقومية والكرامة والعنفوان.

    .ما ابتدى في تونس تنامى في مصر وكبر وحقق نصراً على عقود من الذل والقهر.  11 شباط يوماً لن ينسى بعد اليوم، ستبنى عليه امالنا وأحلامنا

    .فلينتفض الشعب العربي أينما كان للم شمله وإعادة العزة والكرامة لقاموسه

    !!!فلتحيا مصر، فليحيا الشعب العربي و لتحيا العروبة

Arab Nations Are Awakening

February 6, 2011 6 comments


Mohamed Bouazizi, a name that made it into history on December 17th 2010. From Tunisia, a man self-immolated himself to defend his dignity, his poverty, his own values and principles. This was enough to ignite an already suppressed, angry and dignified nation.

Tunisia, lead by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, a dictator for 23 years with full support from the US, France and the so called “International Society”, has been liberated by the people on the 15th of January 2011.

Days after, the light of dignity and sense of empowerment of grassroots revolution reached Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Algeria.

Egypt’s “Day of Anger”, on the 25th of January 2011, started a wave of protests and demonstrations in the various Egyptian cities asking for the dictator Husni Mubarak to step down. Until this day, the dictator didn’t leave and the protests have not stopped and are infact growing in numbers and power in spite of all the government’s cheap moves.
Husni Mubarak, a dictator that asked his police and secret service to wear civilian clothes and cause chaos, made the police in most cities leave their positions and let the cities be populated with looters and chaos makers to reek havoc in the streets, houses and important historic sites. The government shut down internet and phone connections, turned its back on the jails to let the detained flee to cause more chaos in the streets in an attempt to make the righteous demands and civilized demonstrations of the Egyptians seem more like a war zone. All the attempts to make the people seem like they are thieves and killers, instead of the dignified nation they are demanding for their rights, for democracy, for a government that represents them and their thinking, a nation asking for a leader that works for them and not a corrupt dictator that is failing his country.

Sooner or later, Husni Mubarak will leave, because the Arab Nation is awakening and what started in Tunisia will not end in Egypt.

It is about time that the Arabs shed that old worn-out cloth of humiliation, division, discrimination, dictatorship and so called “leaders” who are puppets in the hands of the US, Europe and Israel.

The sense of dignity, faith in values, and belief in principles will rise again. That once visible and lately invisible line that has always been connecting all Arabs wherever they are on the globe will come back strong and proud.
I am not a fortune teller and definitely not a political analyst. I am a proud Arab, a thinker and an activist that has always been wondering when will this phase of shame in the Arab world depart, and now that flag of dignity, pride and magnanimity is rising… slowly but surely!

May all free men, all the thinkers, all believers in democracy, all supporters of grassroots, all human rights activists stand side by side with the Arab Nations as they stand up and demand for their rights…a new sun is rising!

Time alone will tell…

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