The Middle East Tribune

Centered on Civil Liberties & Political Issues, Human Development & Socioeconomic Matters

The Persistent Demand of All Arab People

Arab Poverty-UNDP.orgMost foreign residents who happen to live or work in the Arab region are accustomed to hear the majority of Arab nationals and expatriates complaining about the living conditions and sociopolitical situations of their native countries. Nowadays Arabs tend to be freer to express their frustration and condemnation of the shortsighted policies of their ruling authorities, hired and fired alike. They often criticize the absence of real human development plans, presence of delusive reform and modernization process, and the continual dereliction of their civil liberties and human rights.

Arab people, by and large, denounce most (not to say all) long-serving politicians, monopolistic business tycoons and all radical religious groups of their countries. They mock we-will speeches and repetitive reform announcements of most Arab leadership and politicos as being full of false promises. They see red as they found out that newly installed Arab Spring governments are amateurishly recasting the corruption, dogmatism and despotism of those deposed dictators. They wonder what Arab governments have missed in their proclaimed hunt for a developed and thriving region.

Actually, this chronic discontent has induced the many of Arabs to become furiously skeptical people as no end to their anguish is foreseen. Yet the current Arab state of affairs has several unremarked factors that have to be equitably examined in order to compile the actual picture of this unsolved puzzle.

By all odds, the roots of this degradation have been crafted throughout a long history of recurring foreign occupations and colonialism, societal armed conflicts, religious fanaticism, tyranny and misgovernance that have imposed undesirable alterations into the geopolitics, cultures, religious orientations, traditions and role of the native inhabitants of this antediluvian land. This, however, is not brought forward to minify the consequences of misjudgments and mistakes of modern Arab leadership, but rather to uncloak the underlying causes and effects of such prolonged strategic disorders.

The main consequential hindrances that are facing the realization of prosperity and stability in the Arab world are connected one way or another to the continuous failure of governments to provide tangible socioeconomic development to common people, like quality higher education for free, decent paying jobs, retirement benefits and costless health care to all citizens.

Indifferent to that shortcoming, most Arab officials affirm over and over to the public that their country is economically developing as a result of the realized growth in the size of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Whereas the largest portion of this alleged economic growth (Business Cycle is more exact) is originated either from remittance transfers, foreign aids and inflationary effects or due to some price increase of exported oil resources, let alone bringing forward the increase of Gross National Product (GNP) in some cases.

To make things worse, these same officials continue to disregard the depressing reality of having around 40% of Arab population including oil-rich countries live below the poverty line ( over 140 million poor Arabs, according to UNHDR 2010), are not benefiting from such GDP increase to improve their living conditions. This manipulative stance regarding human development issues have induced a number of independent economic analysts and intellectuals to put emphasis on embracing the criteria of the United Nations Human Development concept.

To all intents, the initial concept of human development was officially defined in the first Human Development Report (HDR-1990) of the United Nations (UN) as “a process of enlarging people’s choices. The most critical of these wide-ranging choices are to live a long and healthy life, to be educated and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living. Additional choices include political freedom, guaranteed human rights and personal self-respect”

The late Mr. Mahbub ul Haq, a Pakistani professor of economics and founder of the first HDR, premised a simple phrase (“People are the real wealth of a nation”), which became ever since the guide for all human development paradigms and efforts. Prof. Ul Haq stressed that “The basic purpose of development is to enlarge people’s choices. In principle, these choices can be infinite and can change over time. People often value achievements that do not show up at all, or not immediately, in income or growth figures: greater access to knowledge, better nutrition and health services, more secure livelihoods, security against crime and physical violence, satisfying leisure hours, political and cultural freedoms and sense of participation in community activities. The objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives.”

To his credit, Prof. Amartya Sen, a far-famed Indian professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University, a Nobel laureate in Economics (1998) and contributor to Prof. Mahbub Ul Haq’s work, underlined that “Human development, as an approach, is concerned with what I take to be the basic development idea: namely, advancing the richness of human life, rather than the richness of the economy in which human beings live, which is only a part of it.”

Arab Young Girls–worldwidewelfare.org

On that, the essence of human development paradigm was vitiated by misconception and misgovernance through which the focus of Arab governments was directed toward inflating the economy and beautifying the visual image of the country. Whereas, they should have put their forth efforts to develop the living conditions of the poor, impoverished low-income class and lower-middle-class first of all, not to mention creating jobs for the unemployed 50% of Arab youth.

Though building of landmarks and mega plazas, erecting of skyscrapers, creating of oases and world-class golf courses, and the likes are necessary components in the upgrading process of any economy. Yet, Arab authorities should not ignore that the first indispensable requisite to create prosperous and sustainable economies in this region is to develop the socioeconomic conditions of commoners.

With the exception of a few, Arab governments need to initiate, the sooner the better, a real all-inclusive development process that delivers unhampered political and social freedom, equal opportunities, high-standard of state-supported education, full retirement benefits and costless quality health services to all citizens. Otherwise, brace for impact.

Author’s Note: This article has been simultaneously published at Arabian Gazette

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24 comments on “The Persistent Demand of All Arab People

  1. Anonymous
    April 30, 2015

    Geat article, Mr. Moussalli. The best asset a country may possess is people and fortunately there are still some of us that keep remind governments of that undeniable truth. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carla
    May 3, 2014

    You’re simply good. I actually like what you are stating and the way in which you assert it. You make it enjoyable while you say it wise. I look forward to read much more from you. This is actually a quality web blog

    Like

  3. Anonymous
    April 20, 2013

    I enjoyed reading this clear statement and analysis of challenges faced by the Arab world.
    I like trying to relate these current challenges with ones faced earlier by now developed countries.
    Division are in my view one of the major reasons for difficulties to change be they religious, social (classes) or ethnic. They both were Europeans (for instance) issues then as Arab issues now.
    I think the other problem connected to this one is that of the capacity of the people to gather (not just march), organize and work on a vision and political program. People have to be the ones who choose the ruling elite and this must not come from a spontaneous popular and charismatic group that claims change but does not make it.
    Thank you very much for allowing us dear Mohammad to think on these issues.

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      April 20, 2013

      Thank you. Though I agree with your perspective, yet I would have discussed the issue should you have idenified yourself

      Like

  4. Anonymous
    April 20, 2013

    Thank you Mohammad for making a striking light on reality,
    good expression.

    Like

  5. Fatima Ali
    April 16, 2013

    Hi Mohammad

    Thank you for a well written and very balanced article. I enjoyed reading it and your analysis of the reasons for the numerous depredations and violations of many basic human principles by Arabic governments. Unfortunately for the Arab world the near future looks bleak as long as the current ‘corrupt’ ruling elite and their cronies control the majority of their nations wealth and power. However I maintain optimistic about change even if it occurs at slow pace.

    Regards

    Fatima

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      April 16, 2013

      Thanks to you Fatima for your kind comment. It’s to my satisfaction to know that you have enjoyed reading it. You are absolutely right. I’m sure that change will happen, one way or another. I hope it will be in a peaceful manner
      Regards
      Mohammad

      Like

  6. holisticlifes
    April 13, 2013

    Very nice article. Whether the officials will heed or not might depend on how load the people speak.

    Like

  7. O.C. Farach
    April 11, 2013

    Thanks for this noteworthy article.
    The wish is the integration with aims to work for justice and equal right to the entire Arab world, furthermore, seek for broad freedom which may promote equality and facilities to prosperity to all the Arab nations.

    Like

  8. Joel A. Levitt
    April 10, 2013

    I’m fairly ignorant about Arab civilization, but it seems to me that sharply drawn internal divisions must be playing a major stagnating role. If this is the case, I would welcome information about these divisions, how they arose and the potential for reconciliation. Such information might help me to understand the present internal American quandary and what can be done about it.

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      April 11, 2013

      Yes Mr.Levitt, internal divisions have been playing a degrading mechanism as of many centuries before as yet. In brief, the topmost factors that hinder peace and prosperity in this region are two: the lack of real human development (on all level) and religious sectarianism. Most other factors stem from these two longlasting killers. Any nation or organization really wants to make real reform have to address these issues directly and first of all..
      Regards

      Like

  9. michaelharrington
    April 10, 2013

    In full agreement, Mohammad. Good article.

    Like

  10. Dr. Robin Chandler
    April 10, 2013

    Criticism of one’s society is often framed as disloyalty in nations in which free speech is repressed. Dissatisfaction, critique, and discontent is, in fact, a sign of loyalty and the desire to improve living conditions in one’s country. Good for you, Mohammed, and the many others who provide a more prosperous vision for their nations, especially in the Arab world.

    Like

  11. Shahid Hussain Raja
    April 9, 2013

    Reblogged this on Shahid Hussain Raja.

    Like

  12. John Brian Shannon
    April 9, 2013

    Hi Mohammad,

    I must compliment you on this work. It is obviously a heartfelt piece of writing and one which resonates with people everywhere.

    The reasonable hopes and aspirations of our brothers and sisters in the MENA region are as legitimate as the hopes and dreams of people everywhere, and blessed with great oil wealth, there is no reason why the countries of the region cannot thereby bless their people with strong, stable societies, no cost health care and freedom from oppression.

    Part of it is, of course, having citizens informing their governments as to what they want. If citizens do not inform their government as to their wishes, then it becomes more difficult to criticize those governments.

    Voices like yours play an important role in all of this, especially in non-democratic nations, where the ballot box cannot be used to remind leaders of the legitimate hopes and dreams of the people they represent.

    The voice of utterly reasonable request must be heard, sooner, rather than later. And not just in the MENA countries, but especially so in the Middle East, on account of the great oil wealth there, which leaves little room for those governments to say their ‘hands are tied’.

    It was a pleasure to read this essay.

    Cheers, JBS

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      April 9, 2013

      Dear John,
      Thanks to you for sparing some of your valuable time to read this article. The pleasure is mine since you liked reading it. I believe your dedicated GREEN writings deliver a lot of knowledge to the people of this world in a fluent writing style.
      Best
      Mohammad

      Like

  13. Paul "Chip" Hill
    April 9, 2013

    “Spot-on,” Mohammad! Good for you being bold enough to speak to the truth. Chip

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      April 9, 2013

      Thanks Chip. Real reform won’t come unless people know the ugly truth so that to change it
      Regards

      Like

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© 2017 Mohammad S. Moussalli; www.middleeasttribune.wordpress.com ------- Sharing, reblogging, excerpts and republication of this material, or part thereof, are permissible PROVIDED that it's clearly attributed to the author with reference to the original publication.
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