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Fear - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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If we did escape from the global markets’ fire, we would still be terrified because of the political ambushes suggesting several future battles in our region.

Are we therefore moving from anxiety to fear? What is to be done and how do we learn from the disaster?

We are supposed to have grown thick skins due to the many things we have been through. We are living in a neighborhood of villains and a world full of pirates. One has no choice but to rely on himself and the countries to rely on their sons alone.

Fear is not a solution but confronting and tackling the reality is. The one who works the market is like the one who works in politics. He knows very well that predicting the disaster might lead to it. Fear feeds negativism and this is known as the self-fulfilling predictions. As our popular proverb says: The bogeyman appears to the one who is afraid of it. The belief that we are heading toward wars prompts the regimes to buy more weapons, train to use them, and plan the battles and then war breaks out because of this behavior that is based on a prior visualization. The panic which hits the markets is the one that drags them down and is not necessarily entirely behind the disruption of the markets’ tools.

I do not know what we should expect in the near future. Wars? Or financial collapses? Or, on the contrary, splendid opportunities that achieve peace and probably investment successes? Each one of these scenarios is possible. No one know what will happen to us and the world tomorrow?

We can understand the situation today when we compare it to what happened immediately after the two towers were hit in New York before seven years. New York’s stock market was hit by panic and almost collapsed and the event had immediate economic repercussions, there and in our region. Some said and wrote, despite their belief it was an ugly crime, that it was far from us and would wake up Washington politically to the advantage of the region. What happened is that it caused us more damage than any other part in the world. The Arabs, and even the Muslims who were far away, lived through a series of crises and dangers, even to this day.

Of course, what is happening in the world’s markets is not our fault. Though we are at the tail end of the economy queue, its cost for us might be exorbitant, especially the Arab countries that have taken some steps forward in economic and political reform which might be harmed more than the countries that have done nothing. Here I liked what someone commented in the Syrian “Al-Thawrah” newspaper and wrote: “Our financial systems’ backwardness was the reason we were not affected.” This is true for countries that have not developed their situations. They do not have gains which they are fearful of losing.

The positive side is that the financial crisis might stir the minds of governments in our countries into making more efforts to reform their situations. They must learn from the West and not just watch it, even if its markets collapse, as they did in Germany after the First World War and the recession that also hit the victorious countries. All of them came back and stood on their feet for one reason only, not their assets or armies, but their massive human stock. Salvation from the dangerous crises lies in the individual, not oil or banks. If our governments oblige us with more thinking, finance, time, and courage to reform the education system, then they will build countries not likely to collapse no matter how much they are battered by wars and shaken by the markets’ earthquakes. With their qualified sons, they can stand up after each crisis and start to build again. Other than that, all the buildings, projects, and money will just evaporate.

Let us make this crisis a stage for pondering and correcting.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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