Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The concept of "delaying the inevitable" - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

I asked my colleague, who is a fellow media figure: Have you read one of the cover stories for the recent issue of the American magazine Newsweek?

He replied: Is it a feature on the Middle East or the Arabs?

I answered: No, it is a report on environmental changes, such as the claim that our oceans could be depleted within 40 years.

My colleague scoffed, saying: 40 years? Come on. What does it matter to you or me? Can you guarantee to live to see that day?

Of course, my friend did not think of his four children who, God willing, will live to see that environmental crisis.

This anecdote reflects our outlook towards the present and future.

We do not care about the future of energy or water reserves, nor do we pause for a moment to think about the impact of environmental changes in 10 years’ time. We do not consider the potential state of our financial reserves in 2030, nor do we bother planning for the investments of the generations to come. We do not trouble ourselves with the problems of desertification or dredging, or think of how to restructure our country’s administrative map so it can cope with effects of current urban population growth in half a century from now.

We use the same logic as my colleague, who deems any concern about a phenomenon that may emerge in 40 years’ time as a crazy or unjustifiable worry.

As he says, “let us leave these problems for the generations to come.”

This frightening logic was applied previously by our predecessors, and as a result, we are now facing growing cracks in our infrastructure, whether in urban planning or in the crises of water, energy or strategic crops.

Preparations for the Zionist project were in place since the era of Napoleon Bonaparte. China’s renaissance dream was scheduled to take 50 years to be fulfilled, 20 years of which have already elapsed. Israel’s plan to incorporate the population of Jerusalem began back in 1970, and will be completed in 25 years. The Arab school of thought is limited, and the Arab school of planning is very much short-term.

When it comes to decisive issues, some of us delay the inevitable by postponing matters and buying time for several months or even years, until they are passed on to others, regardless of the outcome. All that matters is that we don’t trouble ourselves with such problems, or find practical and effective solutions, regardless of the eventual costs.

The logic and philosophy of “delaying the inevitable” when it comes to our difficult issues is a disastrous one by all means, and something that our sons and grandsons will pay a heavy price for. I’m afraid we will continue to postpone and pass these issues on, but to confront them today would certainly be a million times less costly than to delay the inevitable!