Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rami Khouri: Three demons plague the Arab World

The stark juxtapositions within the Arab world and the wider Middle East-South Asia region were brought home to me one morning this week in Kuwait, where I am participating in a global gathering that seeks to increase the production of indigenous research in the Middle East in order to better influence policy-making. This noble endeavor contrasts sharply with the morning newspaper headlines of suicide bombings in Somalia and Afghanistan, continued military strikes in Israel and Palestine, and the provincial elections in Iraq that happened during a lull between a string of suicide bombings in that country.

Where, in this range of events, is the center of gravity of the Arab world? It is simultaneously in none and all of these developments, for the Arab world is defined both by rampant violence (home-grown and foreign-instigated) and a deep desire to become democratic, productive, and intellectually and culturally vibrant. A key to moving in that direction is understanding the main constraint and the common denominator in all these events. I believe it is the legacy of autocratic, top-heavy, centralized Arab governments that veer into gentle monarchies on the one hand and hard police states on the other.

Read more in The Daily Star - hey! they were broke! nice to see them back again.

No comments: