There is a defect in our ethical system, and it’s one of values, there is also a defect in our culture system, and it’s one of education. We are not good at managing disputes and dialogue, despite the fact that we hide behind a mountain of slogans and proverbs and verses of poetry, all of which say that there should be civility in disputes, hostility, and even war.
Clashes and political crises take place as a result of football games, and there are insults and abuse in the newspapers, in the corridors of politics and even at Arab Summits, and those who tell lies do so without being held accountable or removed from the scene. Saddam Hussein was removed from power however none of his agents in the Arab world have followed him; none of those who accepted oil coupons, or even any of those who accepted a case of whiskey from him as a gift. He died and we forgot all about them and they remained on the political and media scene…and there are no checks and balances.
This is not all, we can also find amongst us those who sympathize with anybody who bears arms and they even offer justification for them, even if they decapitate innocents and kill those who they have no right to kill. The rivalry over titles in our media and amongst our intellectuals, not to mention the culture of shouting on television programs, and the decline in the language of dialogue even amongst those who claim to be scholars or students of knowledge, has become the common denominator. Takfirism has also become widespread, and this is something that can be seen live on air, where topics like women, minorities, and political Islam are discussed, and this allows us to see the level of our ethical values. This is something that is currently taking place throughout the Arab world from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf, and the issue does not end here, but even the supposed entertainment industry, from television series to films, all this contains is violence, sex, drugs, and divorce, and there is nothing creative or optimistic, and this does not serve to illuminate any positive aspect of our lives, and we [also] do not give creators the respect they deserve, even if one has only painted a picture.
There is a conviction that a major cause behind all of this is the underdevelopment of the Arab education system, and the underdevelopment of its tools, and the absence of a creative dimension in our education. There is no freedom with regards to reading, and there is no stimulation with regards to research and discussion, and there is no revision of the ethical system in line with the variables and challenges of the time. The teachers and university professors forget that they are professional and that it is their duty to develop themselves and incorporate this age into their teachings and expand their horizons. Institutes also forget that the basic principle is to develop education tools prior to developing content; and this requires scientific and financial development. It is true that there have been attempts to implement this, but the reality is intimidating and the future is unknown, especially in light of the steady population growth and the rapidly developing tools of this age.
This is not a sermon or “letting off steam” but rather a look at the reality of the situation, even if it is unequal. Otherwise how can we stand to see a 10 year old child arrested in Iraq wearing an explosive belt? When do we say enough is enough? When do we say no? How can we be silent over women and children being forced to wear explosive belts? How long will we be silent over the bombing of houses of worship and of people and animals and even cemeteries? Did our religion not teach us not to act treacherously and not to kill women, children, the elderly, the innocent, prisoners of war, and not to cut down trees or demolish buildings?
Why don’t we acknowledge that there is a genuine defect, and move [to resolve this] and away from feeble excuses?