Age of Enlightenment in the Arab Countries May Arrive in Half-Century.
What makes me estimate the half century, is the Tunisian and Egyptian revolution, if liberals continue their struggle to defeat theologians illogical obedience of cultural norms and mores in managing the public domains. Blessing of Prophets to send water and food (Man was salwa) by God Orders, are no more accepted, while millions remain in poverty and illiteracy. Therefore, The Egyptians and Tunisians will come to a change where theologians have no place to worship and dictate or control people other than their homes and mosques in the name of God. Reason in that time, will rise.
To satisfy theologians, I might add a non-working cultural blessing term: (with God wishes-or Insha’allah)
In this article, the attempt is made to see the possibility of behavioral social change on the grounds of reason. Therefore, the question : Is there an age of enlightenment in the Arab countries? before answering the question, let’s see what we have of information. The persistant fact is that Arab culture is part of Islamic culture. In other words, Islamic culture in theory controls Arab culture.
Arab countries, include a large number of minority groups, Christians, Armenians, Caucasians, (Shishan from Russia) , refugees, Bedouins, and of course immigrants who have no hope for citizenship. Just workers with no rights. All these minorities are accustomed to norms or habits, of relations with each other, on the one hand, and with the state government on the other.
Some minorities, especially Christians, and Bedouins have priority of having positions in Government, army officers, and public offices by appointment by governmental personalities such as the governor, the District Manager, called, “Qa’im Maqam, or Muhafiz, or Ra’iees Baladiyyah). These people with no sense of reason deal with management on tribal or familial grounds. They have budgets from the Government Head, and they are the sole manager of people and resources.
The land was the cause of changing people from poor to rich in short time, the rich put their hands on land, mountains and meadows free. Then they sold it to the poor. The more they got money in hand, the more they have power in the government. Those who cheated the government and became very wealthy, became Ministers in the Government. In two ways, by false election, or by favoritism. Division of families, not division of Labor was the factor to get a post in the Government. Few families in Jordan, which I am familiar with, as well as Kuwait, have control of military power, intelligence Bureau, finance and resources. The public (mostly ignorant, low class manual labors) was accustomed to respect the status quo, the owner and the giver of the laborers salary. This relationship and negative treatment from the owners (the wealthy, or those who have authority) was never checked. The poor people were always wrong, and have no right to look up in the eyes of land or company or Army Officers, representing the status quo, Otherwise, prisons for punishment were the house of deviant people from irrational customs and habits. The absence of reason was the normal act toward those who ask for justice. Belief and faith, unfortunately stand against the public, Religion and traditions were used to suppress the people in they question injustice, which mistreatment of those who have, the wealthy, or the government personnel. Most cases were flapped from right to wrong, by accusing people of dissatisfaction with Government, or standing against the Noble Governor, or the Army Officer.
Bribery was also common for promotion in the Military, the police Department, and the Ministries. Those who use bribery get up on the ladder much faster than those who use their mental abilities and intelligence.
While Islamic culture is strict in viewing ethics according to (right or wrong) beliefs, Arab culture is a follower and obedient product of Islamic culture, which can be described as following orders from above in terms of authority, or age or sex.
Norms and mores control people behavior, the small and big, the young and the old. People give much importance of their reputation, and reputation can be easily circulated in the community or the village, or the district in the city. In general among the less educated people, which distinguishes most Arab communities in villages, and urban cities.
For a long time, to earn your bread from your sweat, is an honored principle for the poor. But never was made to question the wrong practice of those who have over those who have not. From my own experience, when I was sixteen, I worked as stone carrier from under the stone breaker, the dust was closing my lungs, the goal of my fellow workers was to keep the job, rather than ask for work state improvement.
as we know it hinders the thinkers from changing methods of thinking, living, and social change. Debate was doomed by the power of older person, women were suppressed as a second person consulted in the male decision making power.
The Father, is the sole person of making decisions, mothers usually say, when your fathers comes, ask him. Or in case of deviant behavior, when your father comes, I will tell him. Let him deal with you!
Age of reason is far from attaining in the Arab countries. The age of reason means no place for faith in the decision making toward life activities of persons or groups or services provided on small or large scale. But reason is absent when it comes to culture. Even the proverbs are used to suppress any expectations or dreams. The workers son will never be rich, therefore, God has destined people to what they earn, education, food, employment, or whatever comes in the public dreams. This idea of God controls people’s behavior and acts became a window to escape from responsibility and questioning. Governments as well as those who are beneficiaries from Government pay too much attention to culture. Because culture help them to control the weak, the poor, and the young.
Organizations with no responsibility or accountability of misuse of power of financial expenses. First, leadership of these organizations or associations have no credibility of expertise in the association management business.
Take for example, the non-for-profit organizations, most of them are charitable, therefore, they belong to rich families ( male or female), but who manage the business affairs? Certain persons are appointed by the head of the state, or head of the family branch male or female. The officially announced services is very much less of real services provided for those who need it most. For example, Gaza fund, millions of Dollars were collected, but very small amounts reached Gaza Strip. Few hospitals or clinics, few buildings, but never supported manufacturing firms and workshops.
Feeding people and clothing them are may the least cost for charitable efforts and in the charitable budgets. Few trucks full of presents or basic food materials like sugar, rice, vegetable oil, and sacks of flour are needed for advertisement rather than satisfying the needy families and groups.
Investment and Governmental loans are made by the rich (persons or government agencies like development banks) who look for return. Even though the intention is to develop certain economic aspects, like water, electricity, and transportation. But large proportions of investments or loans are wasted on Management and leadership and equipments, bribery also is involved. While some attempts were sincere and serious in developing poor nations or sectors, like the Kuwaiti Fund and Qatari fund for development, many other funds established to favor those who are in the circle of obedience or political alliance. In both cases, reasoning was left behind, and emotions and cultural practices were followed to control the situation in almost all countries.
Until today, there are no signs that irrational cultural practices are moving away from public life, the only sign, unfortunately comes from those who have no power to make decisions in the public sphere. Journalists, college professors, marginal persons, and minority persons, who usually educated in Europe and the United States. Who call for civil society, led by civil management, and modern expertise, not tribal sheikhdom appointees who lean on emotional cultural norms and status quo rules more than attendance of reason to be the judge on disputes, mismanagement, and mistakes or problems (local or national)
In conclusion, Islamic culture has to give up the way by force, or education, to let reason stands to solve the communal, social and economic problems. In other words, to let the liberals rule over associations organizations and government offices, where laws are the measures for decency, rather than , the theologians rule, who are like any other humans imperfect, and are prone to be corrupt in using nepotism and favoritism in dealing with public affairs.
After all God, does not solve life problems, even if we believe that. We solve the problems personally and collectively by reason, nothing else, by applying justice and law, GOD is not a psychologist or sociologist, or political scientist, as many like to believe. God has nothing to do in human behavior, Drug dealers, or Government sheikhdom or monarchy or Emirates. We believe, the mercy of God gave humans the choice to be good or bad. God, unfortunately, does not own money or food Banks or daily decisions concern large number of people, Believing that everything in life has connection with God, suppress freedom given by Him. God gives the best ever in human’s creation, the mental ability to reason and act as human not animal. I think it is the big mistake, to reduce the power of mind, which as a result prevents the age of reason to rise in the Arab countries, this, however, does not reflect the fact that God is the Creator of all . www.hasanyahya.com