Study: Childhood Obesity Soaring in Arab World

Geneva- A new international study has warned that childhood obesity has soared across the world and continues to do so in low- and middle-income countries, including the Arab world.

The study led by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization (WHO) said that obesity rates in children and adolescents have plateaued in higher income countries, such as the United States and northwestern Europe although obesity levels remain “unacceptably high.”

Combined, the number of obese five to 19 year olds rose more than tenfold globally, from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016, it said.

An additional 213 million were overweight in 2016 but fell below the threshold for obesity, the study added.

Lead author Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial’s School of Public Health, said: “These worrying trends reflect the impact of food marketing and policies across the globe, with healthy nutritious foods too expensive for poor families and communities. The trend predicts a generation of children and adolescents growing up obese and at greater risk of diseases, like diabetes. We need ways to make healthy, nutritious food more available at home and school, especially in poor families and communities, and regulations and taxes to protect children from unhealthy foods.”

The authors said that if post-2000 trends continue, global levels of child and adolescent obesity will surpass those for moderately and severely underweight youth from the same age group by 2022.

In 2016, the obesity rate was highest in Polynesia and Micronesia in boys and girls, at 25.4 percent in girls and 22.4 percent in boys, followed by the high-income English-speaking region, which includes the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

The areas of the world with the largest increase in the number of obese children and adolescents were East Asia, the high-income English-speaking region, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Among high-income countries, the US had the highest obesity rates for girls and boys.

Video Learning for 50 Million Students

It is not strange that the most distinguished science and mathematics students are from the most developed countries in the world: South Korea, Singapore, Japan and other major industrial countries.

It is also no secret that development and advancement are linked to teaching these two subjects and excelling in them.

It was rather a precious gift of UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to announce the project to translate more than 5,000 videos related to maths and science material into Arabic making them available for around 50 million students across the Arab world.

This will be a candle that lights up the already stumbling path of education in the Arab world, as he put it. He also called for volunteers to step forward and help translate thousands of videos which have been already translated into different languages for teaching purposes.

Teaching physics, chemistry, biology, and maths in Arab schools face a lot of challenges because most teachers are not qualified and most schools are actually poor not equipped with laboratories and illustrative material.

In addition, the atmosphere at home and in society do not encourage students to focus on these subjects.

Video learning and e-learning narrow the gap especially with the fast and widespread use of cellular phones among children.

Of the available models, take India for example. Relying on video learning contributed to overcoming challenges in schools where teachers have weak skills and shortage in potentials.

Education is any nations’ path to progress and transformation and almost all Arab countries suffer from the failure of education policies, and as a result, we pay a high price.

Had the governments adopted education as its own project and focused on it within the framework of a strategy that suits each country’s needs and circumstances, we could have exited the bottleneck we are stuck in and keep up with the advancing world, some of which suffered from failure until recently.

Teaching is a difficult profession and its results are long-term and require a lot of time to yield, with its most challenging subjects: math and science.

Every four years, international institutions study a sample of students from all over the world. They examine the achievements of around 4,000 students in grades between the 4th and 8th, and evaluate each country’s capabilities and predict its future according to them.

This project is for everyone across the Arab world. Granting educational services for free is the greatest gift which can be given to any student who knows Arabic language and has a cellular phone or a laptop or service anywhere.

The project will be presented once it’s done next year. It will sum up global math and science curricula and most of it will be the same for all students all over the world, from kindergarten until the last year of high school.

This marks the first step that can encourage benefiting from technology and using it to modernize education to save time and overcome difficulties. Education in the Arab world is moving in a vicious circle as it requires highly-qualified teachers, expensive equipment, and smaller classes all within a comprehensive policy.

Most of these demands are not available today and 100 years might pass before they are even developed.

That is why e-learning is the solution, not only to teach math and science but to teach all the rest of the curricula throughout all school stages.

World Bank: Reforming Education in Arab World Must Be Priority

Arab

London – The quality of education in the Arab world has dropped in comparison to other regions in the world, which demands immediate reform to tackle development needs and employment in the future, said a recent World Bank report on education in the Middle East and North Africa.

The report urged Arab countries to set education as a priority because it is the basis for any future economic and social development process.

The Arab region has not achieved remarkable progress in recent years in reducing illiteracy, compared to Asian and Latin American countries. The worst in this regard were Djibouti, Yemen and Egypt. Furthermore, the region is still behind from the rest of the world in erasing illiteracy among people above 15 years of age. The numbers of students enrolled at high schools and universities has also not improved.

The World Bank report did acknowledge that the gap in education between the genders in the Arab world is becoming smaller.

One of the compilers of the report said that the time has come for Arab countries to focus their energies on the quality of education and preparing students for the modern job market. They should also train students on problem-solving and critical and innovative thinking. Teachers themselves should also be re-trained in these skills.

Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa lies at 14 percent, which is higher than the rest of the world, excluding some parts of Africa. The greatest levels of unemployment were registered in the Palestinian territories. A third of the population of 300 million is also illiterate.

Young society

The need for reform in the Arab world is highlighted by the youthful society, where 60 percent of the population is younger than 30 years of age. This means that the region will need to create 100 million job opportunities for the youths over the next two decades. Economic development in region relies heavily on educational reform.

The World Bank report hailed the efforts of Jordan and Kuwait to that end, but it did remark that the reform did not reach the desired level. It explained that the relation between education and the workforce remained weak, adding that the quality of education did not improve.

Investment with poor resources

For 40 years, Arab countries spent about five percent of their general domestic income on education and they have achieved several results from this investment. At present, the majority of children benefit from mandatory education and a good percentage of them reach the levels of higher education. The region has also improved in raising fertility and lowering mortality rates.

Despite this improvement, the general progress in the Middle East and North Africa region remained less than others. In addition, educational curricula still produce more graduates in the theoretical sciences than practical ones.

The region has also failed to take the best advantage of its available human resources. Unemployment remains high among graduates and many of them find work in the government The relationship between economic growth, the distribution of income and lowering levels of poverty remains weak. The current educational system in the region does not produce graduates with the necessary skills and experience to compete on the global level where knowledge is the key to progress.

Employment crisis

Despite government attempts to provide education to the greatest number of students through construction of schools and hiring teachers, they have failed in assessing the connection between the efforts of the teachers and the accomplishments of the students and monitoring the educational process.

The World Bank report also spoke of the gap between what educational institutions provide and what the job market demands. This gap does not simply revolve around failing to produce graduates with the demands of the market, but the market itself has not grown enough to accommodate those graduates. In some countries, this is reflected in high levels of unemployment.

The next level of developing education in the region appears difficult to achieve in that it needs to develop an accountability and assessment mechanism. It should also focus on reforming education and the job markets.

This process will not be the same in all of the countries in the region because some of them have taken great leaps in achieving educational reform. All these countries need, in one way or another, to set incentives and systems of accountability that will yield results in the reform process.

Facts and figures

UNESCO estimates that 76.9 percent of the Arab world is literate. The literacy levels in some countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan and the Gulf area, is above 90 percent, while it is less than 50 percent in Mauritania and Yemen.

Other education facts in the Arab region:

– About 100 million people are illiterate, two thirds of them women.

– A UN survey found that the average Arab reads only four pages a year.

– An Arab Thought Foundation report found that only eight percent of people in the Arab world want to improve their level of education.

– The Arab woman still suffers from a lack of education opportunities.

– There is no incentive system to encourage older illiterates to continue their education and improve their academic skills.

– Women face challenges in leaving the house and pursuing an education at schools due to social pressures.

Arab Women Break Barriers with Success

Arab

Many Arab women in different countries have succeeded in breaking barriers and achieving accomplishments in many fields. On International Women’s Day, many stories of pioneering Arab women have emerged to highlight the special marks they have left in their countries.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian women succeeded in making remarkable advancement in many social spheres such as health, education, economic and social work, which allowed them to lead many major institutions.

In the finance sector, three Saudi women were recently appointed in positions in banking and financial markets. Among them was Sarah Al Suhaimi, who was appointed chairwoman of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange Tadawul, the biggest stock market in the Middle East.

Sudan

Sudan’s Awadiya Mahmoud Koukou was selected by the United States as one of the ten bravest women in the world. She endured many struggles, but finally succeeded in founding an 8,000-strong women’s cooperation union, whose members work in serving food and beverages on the streets of Khartoum.

Egypt

Nour Al-Sherbini, 21, the first Egyptian to win the Women’s Squash World Championship in 2016, a month after she won the British Open Squash Championship, becoming the youngest champion to win the title.

Sherbini aims to be a role model for Egyptian women and to motivate them to practice all kind of sports despite the lack of governmental support in this field.

Palestine

Since she was appointed by President Mahmoud Abbas as the governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghannam has astounded her Palestinian community, especially because she is the first woman to serve in such a position in the country, and maybe the Arab world.

People in Ramallah respect Ghannam and consider her the most modest of officials, because she lives among them and shoulders her responsibilities seriously.

Syria

In a country torn apart by war, whose women suffer from displacement and torture, female volunteers of the civil defense service chose to arm themselves with power, patience, and bravery to relieve the people. On the International Women’s Day, Syria’s Manal Ibrahim Abzeed received on behalf of 100 of her colleagues an accolade in recognition of their service in the Civil Defense teams in Daraa.

Manal joined the “White Helmets Organization” in April 2015 and was specialized in raising awareness among people on how to escape to safe places. She also works in the mental rehabilitation of traumatized people.

Lebanon

Joumana Dammous is a Lebanese woman who founded the HORECA Exhibition that focuses on hospitality and food services. In 1993, she launched the first HORECA exhibition in Beirut, which attracted a myriad of businessmen and investors aiming to work in these sectors. The exhibition was soon adopted in many countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait and has become one of the most important annual events.

Dammous was selected business Woman of the Year in 2004 and was honored many times by Lebanese and UN organizations.

UAE

Emirati Amal Al Qubaisi, the first woman elected to chair the Federal National Council, brought together the female speakers of parliament from all over the world in a summit that was held in Abu Dhabi. They succeeded in devising strategies to combat challenges that face the world through the global summit that was held in December 2016.

Jordan

Dr. Reem Akla Abu Dalbouh is a member in the Jordanian parliament who left a significant mark on the former and current parliament. Abu Dalbouh played a major role in parliamentary discussions on laws and legislations. She headed the parliamentary committee for women and family affairs and is known as an activist for children’s rights, who participates frequently in local and regional meetings.

The Search for Syria

Medics inspect the damage outside a field hospital after an airstrike in the rebel-held area, Reuters

Left stranded in the smoke of war, Syrians embark on the ultimate quest of finding a way back to national peace. They have relentlessly hunted down solutions for the six-year civil war in faraway lands such as Kazakhstan’s capital Astana and Switzerland’s Geneva.

Syrians did not stop at that, but they also reached out to regional and international forces for materializing a balanced solution.

Lost in limbo, they toss around accusations like a hot potato after having had their fill with bullets. Alas feeling that the situation has truly spiraled out of control.

Going to war is a decision taken by the people, or at least by a select few. Ending war is a whole other story, especially after having witnessed loss in tremendousness, unparalleled brutality, and the collapse of establishments nationwide.

Syrians look left and right only to find themselves engulfed in frustration and despair. They have arrived at a stage beyond the capacity of containment and resolving powers of the Arab League, a body existing on the sole principal of looking after the welfare of the Arab world. Restoring peace and stability to Syria is a challenge that the Arab league and its Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit are not able to mount.

Referring the case over to more powerful organization, such as the United Nations and its chief Antonio Guterres also proved futile.

The international body along with its influence has been compromised by the Russian veto which on several occasions stood to thwart any attempt at salvaging Syria today.

Similar to a deteriorating patient awaiting an accurate clinical analysis , the swiftness at which resident physicians concede to a treatment is an imperative control to curb the spread of infection.

The world views Syria as an archipelago entrapped inside a strong ring of fire fueled by sectarian strife, disagreement and internal armed conflict.

It is hard to believe that a group of embattled islands are able to independently and promptly restore stability away from the foreign forces entangled in the Syria civil war.

Syria has been ripped apart by foreign influence. The Bashar al-Assad lead regime, backed by Russia and Iran, stretches the borders of its control over 22 percent of the country. Despite Moscow claiming credit on single-handedly preventing the regime from losing its capital Damascus, assuming that Russia is the sole dominant influence over regime territory is short to an exaggeration.

Even though President Vladimir Putin’s Russia operates two air bases in Syria, in Hmeimim and Tartus, Iran on the other hand has camp set up across regime terrain, a commanding room in Damascus airport, and proxy militias overrunning the spectrum.

Iran’s elite revolutionary guard strongly clings to Syria as a puzzle piece integral to its regional expansionist agenda.

Upon a closer look, it is clear that an island making up for at least 30 percent of Syria land is swarmed by ISIS hardliners. Kurdish units and Syrian rebels have rule over 20 percent of land each.

It is worth mentioning that Kurdish-run territory is home to three United States airbases, and that some rebel factions are enlisted for US, Western, and regional support.

Identical intricacy covers Syria’s airspace, the Russian surface to air S-400 missile system reigns over a majority of Syria. Added to the mix pot are the raids staged not only by Israel air forces but by those of the US-led coalition of over 60 countries.

Turkey’s air power also leads Operation Euphrates Shield over Syrian territory. Jordan’s air forces registered an intervention in Syria as well, with the most recent foreign trail left across Syrian skies belonging to Iraqi air forces.

Syria’s crisis is not limited to the presence of the terror group ISIS, it stretches beyond that and will likely remain after ISIS is removed from the picture.

To be honest, ISIS did indeed reshuffle the cards, deepen the schism and added to the bloodshed, but the Syria crisis is far too complicated to be summed up by the terror group.

Finding a Syria settlement is all the more difficult today. How can Syrian territory be stabilized and broken free from its dismantled shape, when the entire world builds up its policy in light of a disbanded and crumbled Syria.

Syria has been spread too thin by the war and become overwhelmed. Where are Russian limits drawn in this divided country? What borders Iran’s role? The American role? The Arab role? And can the Syrians find it in themselves to restore their country?

Each of the abovementioned partakers have costly stakes invested in Syria’s vicious war that can only be paralleled in its callousness to World War II.

The Syria battlefield has registered the horrendous accounts of barrel bombs, suicide attackers, and human slaughterhouses. With losses of such grand scale, parties will not concede to a settlement trivial to sacrifices made or that does not guarantee long-lasting peace.

Both Syrians and Arabs pursue a settlement for Syria, a country that is central to Arab world’s both history and unwritten future.

The Arab world remains frail so long that Syria is a scene for ongoing transgressions sunk in disarray. Only the people of Syria can decide for their country. More so, Arabs want for Syrians to find a Syria that is home to all its diverse factions.

Hop on That Train! Or You Shall Age in Darkness

A vendor moves from one train to another at a railway station in Kolkata

You’d better not go into your ancestors’ attic if you get suddenly sick. The medicine you would find there expired long time ago. Diseases are as much complicated as their treatment.

Let your ancestors rest peacefully. Don’t live under the illusion that you have to visit them every day to show your gratitude and loyalty, and to prove that you are a true copy of them. Don’t live under the illusion that they speak through you and that you carry their wings.

I don’t mean that you have to repudiate them, renounce your roots or regard them as a burden. In your present time and place, you can prove your utmost loyalty to your ancestors by being truthful to your children and grandchildren.

Don’t surrender to the echoes of caverns of past centuries. Echoes of frightened souls and sounds of daggers… echoes of ethnic, confessional and sectarian wars…

Don’t be fascinated by victories based on marginalization, elimination and forced displacement…

Tame that monster crouching in your heart. Don’t engage in wars that bring only destruction, funerals and poverty. Don’t waste your life crying over the beautiful old days.

Bemoaning Beirut, as a pioneer city and a model of coexistence, is worthless.

Tears you shed on the Umayyad Caliphate will not feed the Syrians facing starvation and displacement on the edge of a humanitarian abyss.

Mourning the capital of the Abbasids will not restore hope for Iraqis, who are looking aghast upon their nation, while it sways from a chasm to another, from the scourges of a despot to the ravages of young oppressors.

Don’t waste your time libeling the ‘colonel’ and his era. The past is already gone.

Loyalty to your ancestors can be best fulfilled when you are truthful to your grandsons.

The story is simple, yet decisive. The modern era is calling. Don’t run away, you have to answer the call. Don’t shut the door to the future.

Don’t age in darkness.

The new era is calling you. Take a look at the phone in your pocket. Here you can find all the news about our global village: successive revolutions, politicians’ views and experts’ contact details, photos of explosions and budget figures, poems by Al-Mutanabbi and achievements in the robotics industry…

Don’t live under the illusion that all of these revolutions do not concern you. Don’t fool yourself by thinking that you can enjoy the harvests of this progress without changing your approach, your thoughts and your choices… Lingering in the world of failures if a suicidal behavior par excellence.

We don’t exaggerate when we say that drowning in the world of failures is even viler than “ISIS” and worse than all epidemics. It is in this world that such phenomena and diseases are developed and justified.

Failure to build a modern school… to establish a forward-thinking university… failure to build strong institutions… to keep apace with technological revolutions… and to get out of the dungeons of trepidation… Fearing that the wind of change will sweep away your identity and peace of mind.

The new era is calling you… new wars are being waged… wars against poverty and ignorance. To engage in these wars, you must change, learn and adapt. If you fail to contribute to building this new era, it might turn against you; you might become its victim.

The train will certainly pass. You shall be ready. You must identify the new leaders: the leaders of progress and innovation. You are in fact a citizen of the global village, a citizen of the “Facebook” continent, which is home to nearly two billion members.

You’d better skim through the famous quotes of “Facebook leader” and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, about the network’s major goals.

“Our greatest opportunities are now global — spreading prosperity and freedom, promoting peace and understanding, lifting people out of poverty, and accelerating science,” he said.

The train will pass, no matter how long it takes. To hop on it, you must pay for the ticket.

I understand the charm of the old language, the fear to review inherited convictions, feelings of disruption that might haunt you.

But you’d better hop on that train before it’s too late. Your country should do the same.

Past and present wars should not prevent you from engaging in the battles of the future.
These are fresh wars led by new leaders. Wars, which are fought with numbers and not with illusions…

You have no choice but to hop on the train.

Just like you, I am fascinated by the silkiness of past memories, by the land of my ancestors, by the poems of Al-Mutanabbi and the magical stories of Baghdad.

But hopping on the train is our only choice.

Arabs amid Uprisings

Arabs amid Uprisings

For years now, Arabs have been going through consequent uprisings, on which they can’t cast a blind eye since it is on their land or near it, and affects the security and stability of their states and people.

Matter of the fact is that the Middle East has touched on uncharted territory, bringing the former regional system to an irreversible collapse. It is evident that the current costly state is transitional. Yet, it is early to predict the features of the new regional system as they depend on the result of the wars and confrontations in the region.

The ongoing Syria conflict helped with unveiling new revolutionary agendas and paved the way for grand changes in policies and strategies.

If anything, Syria’s civil war revealed the role of regional uprisings in Iran’s foreign policies aiming to turn it into a powerful country in a region the world remains concerned with its resources despite the talk of its waning importance.

Iran’s program was clear when it refused to change anything in the Syrian episode of this series. At the outset of the armed combat in Syria, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei informed an Arab visitor what means: Syria will remain the way it has always been, or it just won’t be for anyone.

Tehran tried to push its program into a wider and a more comprehensive stage by adding the Yemeni episode to what Iran considers its great conquests in the region, especially after it became impossible to create a loophole in Bahrain as part of its agenda to contain Saudi Arabia.

Iran considered the war in Syria a matter of life or death for its program which seeks a safe passage through Iraq and Syria, all the way to stationing on the Mediterranean Sea through Lebanon.

Indeed, the Iranian project instills fears of disrupting historical balances among the main components of the regions, especially after the Iranian winds managed to infiltrate into the national fabric of more than a state.

Tehran found its golden opportunity when the powerful countries didn’t restrict the nuclear agreement with Iran to continuing the regional revolution, which it resumed after the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The Syrian tragedy provided the Russian Caesar with an opportunity to reshuffle international balance that was formed following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Putin used till the end Barack Obama’s withdrawal tendencies and fear of being involved in the Syrian horror.

Russia intervened militarily in Syria and altered the trajectory of the war. It raised the slogan of “anti-terrorism”, but technically destroyed the dreams of the moderate Syrian opposition.

From Crimea to Ukraine and Syria, Russia sent a message saying that the era of autocracy is over, and so did the time of colored revolutions.

The U.S. seemed distant. Europe was struggling under the burden of immigrants and the increased number of those wanting to leave the European train.

The Iranian and Russian revolutions met on Arab and Syrian soil.

We can’t say that the goals are the same, but at the same time it is too soon to assume that the disagreement on a political solution for Syria and the future of its regime will cause a rift or collision.

Turkey found itself on a demarcation with the Russian and Iranian rebellions in Syria.

Obama’s policy towards the Kurd, and lack of the Atlantic’s motivation, helped in convincing Recep Tayyip Erdogan to turn the page on the past of friction between him and Putin, and go on to a stage of agreements and dancing over the Syrian arena.

The bitterness of the post-Turkish coup times increased the Turkish president’s inclination to go further than normalizing relations with Russia, Iran, and Iraq.

The question raised today is whether Ankara will proceed with its gradual departure from U.S. and Europe, to come closer to Russia and the “new truths” in the region. Or will it wait the options of the new Trump administration in dealing with the Russian and Iranian uprisings?

There is no doubt that hopelessness in an actual U.S. return to the region will make the Turkish changes something similar to a third coup in the region.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s visit to Baghdad two days ago was a reminder of something Dr. Ahmad al-Jalbi said a few years ago. Back then, Jalbi said that the Middle East is heading towards major changes that old accounts are not fit for.

“Put Iran and Iraq. Add to them Syria and Lebanon. Population, oil, gas and a strategic location. If you manage to convince Turkey of joining this group, even if just economically, Russia will understand that it is within its best interest to build stronger relations with such a giant group. It is clear that the U.S. wants a way out,” said Dr. Jalbi.

Arab citizens observe those changes and wonder about the Arab status in the region. There is no doubt that those in charge of the ‘revolutions’ are waiting for Trump to see if Washington would adjust its strategy. Certainly, any U.S. acceptance of the results of the revolutions will double the Arabs’ responsibility in preparing themselves to protect their status, security and stability.

Opinion: “Who Are We?”

In his last speech, the eccentric Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi asked a question that was full of astonishment and amazement and that has stayed with us to this day. The question was “Who are you?” and referred to “strangers” to events in the region who claim to speak on its behalf, on behalf of its people, in the name of its past, present and future.

If this question is important, there is a more important and serious question and that is “Who are we?” This is because an honest and proper answer to this question would be a key to many other answers for us. There is a clear imbalance in identity in general in the Arab world; societies have clearly failed to form a civil incubator that ensures rights and establishes the idea of “true citizenship” for all without clear and visible discrimination.

In western societies, an American historian posed the same question in his important book entitled “Who are we?” in which he pushes western societies to ask this question. Today we see the “choices” of some societies; some of them are inclined to the right like America, the United Kingdom and Italy, and some of them decided to stay in the centre like Germany, Canada, Sweden and Austria.

The Arab world as a whole is still made up of two fundamental forces; sects and tribes, and these two forces are sometimes stronger than the sense of collective national belonging. This is an obstacle for societal integration and assimilation that secures the required peace in society.

Perhaps what is more important than extensive books that deal with this issue is the French writer of Lebanese origin Amin Maalouf. Maalouf himself is a mix of complex identities and personalities and this is reflected in his incredibly important book “Deadly Identities” in which he refers to important points through which the identity of free and confident societies is formed. These societies are not afraid of assimilation as opposed to closed societies that fight and suspect everything that does not resemble them.

An authentic traditional dance has become part of world heritage in an Arab country and some voices of discord have doubts about “all” of this heritage and are fighting this choice. Another country is discussing the identity of its non-Arab residents and has become confused; are these residents considered to be from the country or not? There are other pathetic and disgusting examples.

These are all signs of a clear imbalance in identity and a big failure to choose the comfortable answer. Will identity be “restricted” to what society is used to out of fear of the unknown? Or will identity be “extensive”, comprehensive and accommodating to all in order to become richer, deeper and more knowledgeable?

When this important and “embarrassing” question is considered and answered, it will be possible to discuss real solutions for a deep problem. A state where there is true citizenship is still a long way off, we see only “countries” and not “homelands”, and there is a great difference between the two.

‘Nous ne Sommes pas Seuls dans L’Univers’, a Book to Warn West from Growing Powers of the Oppressed

Books

Beirut – The Arabic version of “Nous ne sommes pas seuls dans l’Univers” for Bertrand Badie, a professor in International Relations in the Political Science Institute in Paris, has been recently released in the version translated by Dr. Jean Majed Jabbour.

The original book was published by the “Maison La Decouverte” French publishing house while the Arabic translation was published by “Dar el-Fikr el-Arabi” with a special introduction written by Badie and dedicated to the Arabic version of the book in which he says: “In this big Arab world, Palestine is the only land which I haven’t visited; its people have been the first victims of all what I have described in my book; victims of the concept which I wanted to highlight, which despite the occupation, oppression, hegemony, arrogance, and the instinct of superiority, reminds me that we are not alone in this world anymore. Therefore, this Arabic version has been dedicated to the Arab world’s struggles and patience”.

The book has reconsidered the world order seeking to correct views particularly “the European or Western Centralization”; this book is one of many other foreign books warning from the unilateral hegemony in the world after it has lead to violence, chaos and ambiguous repercussions.

The book starts its discussions from the modernism era particularly from (the WestValian regime based on the series of treaties adopted from 1644 to 1648 to finish religious wars in Europe; known as the thirty-year wars); this regime led to the creation of state borders and sovereignty, and has framed international relations since then.

However, this WestValian stage that sets the ground for the international western regime, has -according to Badie- led to the emergence of a remarkable contradiction reflected in dedicating the concept of sovereignty, which led the international law to shrink and at the same time exaggerated the militarization of the world order, which drew the frame of the global game based on influence and war.

This regime controlled the global arena until the cold war and led to solve the global problems pragmatically between the two poles: Russia and the United States; however, it has left many issues unsolved like the Arab-Israeli conflict, which was contained instead of being managed by the two super powers to secure their interests.

Bertrand Badie has stressed the importance of changing the view toward international relations based on two perspectives: first, the importance of treating international relations in an independent frame because it is increasingly depending on social facts.Secondly, the bonding of international relations is no longer subject of states’ initiatives, which are increasingly controlled by the response to their communities’ dynamism; this dynamism has been composed of deep changes like telecommunications growth, development, civilized advancement, demographic pressure, reality of immigration, social movements, and social violence in addition to the pressure of humiliation, depression, failure, and anger.

Badie shows that Western powers will never control this new disturbed world because they have became helpless powers, which failed in finishing a real conflict like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Central Africa, and Mali.

Terrorism in Western, Arabic Novels

books

Paris – Over the past two decades, literature has deeply reflected the realities of communities in regard of terrorism; as it has been the reflection of every society and the writer’s inspiration source – from which he chose his tools of expression as tragedy and human conscience, etc. Our Arab world, which has suffered from terrorism in all its regions, has been affected by this type of literature since the nineties starting from Algeria.

In his novel ‘Lolita’s Fingers’, Wasini AL-Araj has discussed how the hero who is the writer’s beloved woman turn to become a terrorist suicide bomber in one of Paris avenues, just like many European girls who join ISIS these days.

The Iraqi Ahmad Sadawi has been inspired by Frankenstein to tell the story of “Frankenstein in Baghdad”, the Iraqi who collects shreds of terrorist bombing victims on daily basis to merge them and create a Frankenstein-like creature who suddenly came to life to take revenge from terrorists.

This literature phenomenon has also moved to the United States after September 11 and shocked the U.S. people who used to think they were secured from terrorism. Many writers have focused on this incident like “Freedom” for Jonathan Franzen and “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt.

France, which was under terrorism threats and attacks since July 2015, has also read terrorism-relates publications.

Many literary novels have seen light like “Nour” by Rashid bin Zein, tackling the story of Nour, who was married to the Fallujah’s Police Director in ISIS; Nour is the daughter of a moderate Muslim cleric who finally rejected the terroristic and extremist intellect and denounced all its draconian acts.

Many publications in the Arab and western world have highlighted the reality of communities living amid constant terrorist threats, particularly western communities that faced such dangers for the first time.