I was amazed when I learnt that a wealthy friend was looking for a job for his 21-year-old son, so I advised him to employ his son in one of his companies or give him a decent capital to establish his own business.
His response was decisive and convincing to me: He said that he does not want to spoil his son, but instead wants him to ascend the ladder of practical life from scratch, just as he had done, so that his son can experience the meaning of earning his own money and learn the value of things. My friend told me, “Money means power and power in the hands of the inexperienced and naive is a deadly weapon. How many children were killed by their loved ones when they lavished money on them indifferently, so they made them weak, failures and pitiful people.”
I think that this is the case in many of our Arab countries: Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Algeria and others, whose people gave blood for independence, liberation and what they called “expelling colonialism”. Sadly, that was only a “leap into the void”. In their fight against imperialism and capitalism, their struggle to achieve independence, they utterly severed their relationship with the civilised Western countries. Still, they were not yet ready to lead the march of scientific, urban, economic, and civilisational development in their own countries, so they came out from under the umbrella of colonialism only to fall into the ugly clutches of dictatorships.
They did not ask themselves why they had been colonised, what their weaknesses were, or what were the strengths of their coloniser that enabled them to outpower them. Instead, they were blinded by their pride and ignored the importance of rational and logical thinking as Japan did after losing in the Second World War. At that time, Japan healed its wounds, took off its traditional kimonos, shook hands with the countries that overcame them and partnered with them. Japan lost the war but won in development and progress. Of course, those who adopt this approach are usually national experts in management and development, not the military, the clergy, or sect leaders who implant feelings of blind loyalty in people’s minds.
I am writing this article considering Libya, which has enormous oil reserves for a population of no more than four million people. But it also had Colonel Gaddafi, the eccentric leader, the author of the Green Book, who decided that the best way to control his people was to drown them in ignorance.
The result was that “The sick man of Europe” found an opportunity, in our Arab region, to restore the glories of his ancestors in ancient times, and to return the Janissary army to the region, taking advantage of the Arab vulnerability in Libya, Syria, and others, relying on extremists as “Trojan horse” to enter our parliaments, media and the minds of our youth.
We were happy with modern Turkey, a secular Turkey that chose the path of science and civilisation, and we were pleased with the economic renaissance witnessed. When I was a student, I believed Turkey to be the Arab gateway to the world, not only as a geographical route but also an intellectual and cultural one. Now, we must support all Arab, Egyptian, Gulf, Moroccan, or other efforts that work to end the Ottomans’ dreams in our land.
The Arab Spring has distracted us from confronting our apparent problems that were worsened against our will. The Iranian and Ottoman expansion in our region and other significant existential challenges have appeared suddenly, like the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the economic collapse in Lebanon. Unfortunately, we suffer the plight of the goalkeeper who faces all opposing players who shoot at him at the same time, almost destroying his net; yet he still insists on standing and saving what can be saved. Nevertheless, we are the people of this land, we went through a lot of hardships and horrors but every time we have emerged victorious.