The Mirage of Saudi Reforms

05/10/2010

King Abdullah, the Custodian of the two holy mosques, is widely popular in the country. I clearly recall when he became the King more than 5 years ago that many Saudis demonstrated their deep strong feelings towards him by voluntarily posting the King’s photo on their cars with slogans praising him. Today I see such photos much less frequently.

Changes took place in the country during the past five years. Yet, I hardly can identify any which directly impacted majority of Saudis in their daily life. I can claim that the changes were either in the appearance or satisfactory to a factional “war”. How?

Some of the most important changes that the King pushed for are in education and juridical system. Fruits in such areas need a lot of time before being felt. Yet, indications especially in education are not promising, I believe.

Another tool used to enforce the change were the Royal Decrees Some of these Decrees created hope when announced, while others created controversy to say the least. After the death of 120 people in Jeddah back in November as a result of moderate rain followed by a flood, a very strong worded Royal Decree was announced ordering detailed investigations of the reasons of the tragedy. It really cooled down the public mood which was so shocked of what happened. However, it is been almost a year and no real action took place against those involved in corruption that killed innocent people. What is more important is that the investigation results are still not published and kept secretive.

Though the King seemed supportive to dialogue (including dialogue between religions) and local newspapers got more critical of the performance of the ministries, the Royal Decree dismissing one of the members of the highest religious council after criticizing KAUST because of the mix of sexes in the University caused a lot of argument and was considered as a factional victory for, the so called, Saudi Liberals. Few weeks ago, another Decree was announced limiting the public fatwa to the members of the highest religious council. Keeping in mind what happened to their colleague few months ago, I doubt that the council will be in position to announce any fatwa that might not be liked by the King.

The two controversial Royal Decrees demonstrate to me that Saudi Arabia is still far away from a period of real reforms and that many things happen behind the scene causing a high level of public anxiety and create a feeling of uncertainty of the future.

When would reforms in Saudi Arabia be real reforms and not the gift of the King?. It is when those reforms focus on finding solutions to the real issues of the country rather than creating more fictional wars. On my personal view, the list of real life issues include, but not limited to, unemployment (currently at 10%, at least), homeownership (at least 40% of Saudis do not own their houses), the inflation especially as a result of greed and lack of regulations over monopoly. That might be just the tip of the iceberg because of the chronic issues such as; lack of transparency on the government income and spending, lack of public participation in governance and the accountability and finally the separation of the authorities in the country.

In a country with more than 50% of the citizens below the age of 25 years old, challenges can be turned into opportunities by taking the right strategies and inclusion of the young generations into building their own, and the country’s, future. However there is no enough evidence that such thinking exists among the ones leading the country.

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Gaza is still waiting

17/06/2010

It is amazing how one event can change the course of prior events. The Freedom Flotilla sailed from Turkey towards Gaza in a peaceful attempt to break the Israeli siege on Gaza is one of such events. It was really great to follow, through the social networks sites Twitter and Facebook, the support to the mission of the Flotilla and the strong condemnation of the Israeli crime attacking the Mavi Marmara ship which resulted in killing 9 activists.

Yet it really seems odd that the Gaza siege is been there for almost four years. It was supported by the quartet in addition to the Egyptian government and the other so called moderate Arab governments. What happened now to make the siege of Gaza inappropriate and useless? Is it the fact that 9 Turkish citizens were killed? Are they really more worthy than 1.5 million humans living in Gaza? Was it twitter & social media? Or it might be the impact of President Obama (though he is been in the White House since the begging of the year). I’m not really sure, but glad that the world realizes now how unfair is the siege.

Writing more than two weeks after what happened allows a more rational view, I hope. The siege was unethical since day one because it was politically motivated and yet clearly directed against the people rather than the de facto government in Gaza. Resorting to a siege against the winner of a free election, this time happen to be called Hamas, sends the wrong message to the Arab World saying “Either you elect political parties that are up to the Western desires and wishes or you’ll seriously suffer”. The people at this part of the world get lectured a lot on the importance and value of dialogue, yet find out that the lecturer is unable to walk the talk.

On the other hand, I think that the wide delight over the Turkish Prime Minister Mr.  Ardogan action seem a little exaggerated and immature. However, in the Arab World we lack leaders who‏ ‏show much of value or even respect to their citizens. As a result, Mr. Ardogan’s reaction seems heroic. What I’m sure about is that Mr. Ardogan is a professional politician, regardless of his possible ideological drive for such reaction.  He’ll care most for the reaction of what he says and does in Istanbul much more than in Riyadh, Cairo or even Gaza.

Maybe it is very important to mention that the Israeli aggressive action against the Freedom Flotilla demonstrates the normal daily aggression faced by the Palestinians for as long as Israel existed. These actions keep shattering any real hope of diverting the position of Arabs opinion in favor of peace, someday.

On the other hand, some of the newspaper writers in Saudi Arabia who are, rightly or wrongly, considered as liberals did not feel that good about Turkey’s strong reaction to the incident and went into bazaar explanation such as their usual pointing to Iran and showed their worries over the Turkish involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli problems. Their highest concern goes to the worry over the potential influence of Turkey in the region in a manner that makes the reader feel like Turkey is a stranger to the region.  Such point of view reflects the anxiety of some of the regions governments over losing their regional influence, if much of it is really left.

What happened resembles a very strong humanitarian call to everyone around the globe to reconsider their view of what is happening not only in Gaza but also to the Palestinian cause and the usual Israeli claims that keep failing once they face reality.  Individuals can make a difference and collective efforts of individuals in the form of civil societies such as Free Gaza are able to create greater impact. It is true that in Saudi Arabia we lack such societies, yet we can learn and adopt such practices and in the same time create greater pressure into our government to allow the formation of such societies in the near future.

As it is important to realize how much the new media and social electronic networks allowed people to know what happens anywhere momentarily. It is important to realize that it makes it more difficult to be honest and sure about the news that goes around. I must admit that a point of time, I re-twitted a message saying that more than 40 people were killed as a result of the Israeli attack on the Flotilla. Killing one person or ten is surely a crime. Yet, being objective and reliable must be part of using such wide reach communication means.

It is been more than two weeks since Israel killed the nine activists, yet nothing changed much for the people of Gaza. The pressure to lift the siege shall be maintained to allow the people of Gaza to live at the minimum of proper human conditions.


Under Media Attention

06/05/2010

The Economist published lately a piece talking about the changing situation of women in Saudi Arabia. It is not the only time you may read such articles in Western media. It seems like a hot topic that gets the attention every now and then. I have to admit that the situation of women in Saudi Arabia is very exceptional compared not only to other women around the world but to the men in Saudi Arabia itself. The prevention of women from driving cars must sound very odd to people around the world. It sounds so to me as well. However, I never felt that fighting for women driving in Saudi Arabia is not the one of the things I want to put my heart and effort behind. One of the obvious reasons for such attitude is that I am not a female who suffers from not being allowed to drive. Yet, I feel some of the pain since I personally have to take care of many things that could be done easily if my wife is driving.

A less selfish reason is my belief that resolving root causes is more fruitful in the long term. Not allowing women to drive is just a septum that gets the attention away from other rooted issues that deserve to be resolved. Saudi Arabia faces a long list of critical issues which are forced, in a way that seems sometimes to be intentional, to be away from the public attention due to the nonstop fighting over smaller issues, such as allowing women to drive, while issues like the public participation in running the country and transparency in spending the public money.

On the other hand and regardless of how much I try, I cannot take such attention to the Saudi women driving issue in the world’s media at its face value. Why? Because the human rights issue in Saudi Arabia goes way far beyond the issue of women driving in the streets of Saudi Arabia yet it gets less attention by the same media. When such attention is given to the right causes such as people who are in prisons without trials for many years, I’ll feel that the media coverage is candid, fair and objective.

I just wonder how many times Saudi Arabia will appear in the international media if someday oil runs out of our wells or the world finds a better source of energy.


Removing the Veil on the Streets of Paris

01/05/2010

The Veil war, as I like to call it, in Europe and specially France will keep creating a lot of discussions and different points of view. In this post, I am re-publishing the opinion of Abdulrahman Al-Rashid the General Manager of Al-Arabiya TV based in Dubai and the former Editor In Chief of Al-Sharq Alawst Newspaper. He is considered one of the well known liberal voices in Saudi Arabia while some Saudis consider him a voice of the West in Arabic.

In any country that boasts that it respects freedom, the laws have never been tested as they are tested today with France starting to ban the wearing of veils covering the face by women in public institutions and when driving. Is it a law that protects freedom on the pretext that it refuses the veiling of women? Or is it a law that is hostile to freedom because it deprives a woman of wearing the veil, which she considers to be a religious necessity, or at least a personal choice?

Who is harmed? In the French Muslim community a minority of women, who wear full cover over their faces, has emerged within the conservative religious tide that reached that community. Conservative Muslim women in France used to find it sufficient to cover their hair only, and the majority of Muslim women in France from the beginning did not wear veils. Now the Niqab, i.e. covering the entire face, is one of the characteristics of the new women hardliners in France, and they are a minority.

Moreover, those harmed by the new law are the tourists coming from the Gulf countries, where the Niqab is the rule not the exception, especially in Saudi Arabia. However, this is a limited harm, because tourism includes a big world, and the women banned from wearing the Niqab can go to nearby Britain rather than France. Thus, the problem is limited as long as the European Union does not adopt the French law and impose its implementation on all EU countries, which currently is a remote possibility.

Who is behind the new legislations?

Most probably it is the women societies together with some human rights societies, which consider that a woman would not cover her entire face unless someone forces her, such as her father or her tribal society. Therefore, these organizations consider that the law ought to protect women from total veil, even if the woman says that she is covering her face voluntarily. These organizations consider themselves engaged in a confrontation with the hardliners, and will not allow women to implement the hardliners laws whatever their justifications might be.

There is a group enthusiastic about the ban that has a less ideological opinion, which considers the ban as its tactical goal. This group considers that the banning of the Niqab limits the spread of the phenomenon of extremism, which starts with clothes, and progresses to rejecting the society, and even rebelling against it by using violence.

Banning the Niqab will not become a major issue in France and most of the European countries, because the number of Niqab-wearers is a few hundreds, while the number of veiled women is in the thousands, and it is difficult to ban the veil.

The truth is that the issue is not the harm, but it is the principle of banning, which includes a clear violation of personal liberties. Whatever is said, and whatever the justifications might be for the hunting down of wearers of the Niqab, which has started, the truth is that this is a violation of the fundamental principle on which the European systems are based, namely the respect of personal liberty. This liberal principle is collapsing at the worst possible time, as the Muslim woman is being prevented from practicing her right to be veiled at a politically-suspicious time. Had this happened at a different time, perhaps it would have had less negative reflections.

The only justification that can be accepted for banning the Niqab is the security fear that terrorist or thieves might disguise themselves as women wearing Niqabs; such incidents indeed have taken place. However, the new law has not said that, as it has generalized the ban everywhere and at every time, while it would have been reasonable to impose it at the points of entry into the country, and at the security-sensitive places.

However frightening or disturbing the Niqab might look in the eyes of the feminist organizations, it remains an individual issue that falls in the domain of the right of the individual to choose. By oppressing the Niqab-wearing women France becomes the same as the rest of the countries that are accused of oppression and of limiting freedom. It is true that the Niqab is merely a cover, and the number of those harmed by the law is a few dozens, but it is an issue of principle. We all know that the most difficult issue in the concept of freedom is tolerating the others when they practice their freedoms.

http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=2&id=20727


Collateral Murder: Two Points

07/04/2010

The lately leaked videotape by Wikileaks that showed a war crime executed by soldiers of the US army in Iraq back in 2007 will generate lots of discussion and point fingering to the US Army and before that foreign policies and practices. I will not doubt that it is worth to highlight the cold blood execution everyone saw in the tape and I personally believe that it is not that only incident when innocent Iraqis, and in other places innocents human beings, were killed in a similar brutal manner. However, what strikes me is that many around the world and more specifically in the Arab and Islamic countries receive such tapes with shock and strong condemnation of what happened, while such attitude is not strongly shown when the criminals are either Arabs, Muslims or not Westerns.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, many innocent people died because of attacks carried out by either Al-Qaeda or Taliban or any other “Islamic” group. Always there are voices that condemn such unjustified killings but such voices are neither widely heard nor well accepted.  I do not doubt the right of Iraqis and Afghans to defend their country against the American occupation but I clearly see a difference between liberating a country and killing innocent people in the markets, buses and around religious shrines. Killing an innocent person is a crime regardless of who is behind it.

In Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda attacks caused many causalities yet I can claim that the tone of condemnation is rarely as strong as when the media leaks some of the wrong doings of the US either army or investigators. I personally hate the unjust practiced by the US in many places around the globe, yet I do find it unfair to look to the mistakes of others while we are not dealing with our own mistakes.

On the other hand, I was listening last night to the BBC program “Have your say” and one of the guests was an American journalist who kept saying “it is war, what do you expect?”. Honestly what I heard him saying was “They are damn Arabs, why shall we care!”. Why? Because I cannot imagine the same attitude and unemotional tone if the victims were Americans. Overall, the tape shows a real disrespect to human life represented by: 1)Firing on unarmed individuals who were trying to help an injured person who cannot be a source of any threat, 2)The eagerness to fire at the van and 3)the laugh. It is war but even then I don’t think human should turn to be inhuman.

Such incident shows how the importance of media and its role in exposing things that many would like to keep under the carpet. In my country, I wish we can clean up so many things and keep nothing under the carpet.


Living out of the bubble

22/03/2010

For about 13 years, I lived in one of the best compounds in the country. It was not the best only because of the excellent infrastructure but also because it saved me the hassle of morning crowded streets and gave me a chance to sleep till 6:20 am and yet I can get to the office by 7:00 am.

Less than a week ago all of that changed. I moved to a new house I bought benefiting of a great home ownership program supported by the company I work for. As I started experiencing more of the life outside the camp, I realized that I used to live inside a bubble. Many things used to be easier and well organized. Today I need to take care of things I almost never worried about before. I need to make sure that the water tank is full and if it is not, I have to coordinate with a company that delivers it for a fee. The water I used to get in that compound is not the best but the municipality water I currently get is actually underground water and not the desalinated water that gets processed in a plant not far away from my new house!.

Other points that I noticed since I moved to the local community in Al-Khobar are:

–          Yesterday and for an hour the electricity was off in the house. No one informed the residents of the neighborhood that such thing will happen. During about 13 years, it happened only twice in the compound I was living at.

–          The highway between Al-Waha district in Al-Khobar (where my house is located) and Dhahran (where I work) turned to be a racing arena for many drivers regardless of what time I drove on that highway!.

–          It is very normal to drive the car in the wrong direction when you are in Al-Waha district

I believe many other things will happen within the coming months which will be enlighten of how much of a life I should expect out of that compound.

Trying to think deeper into the situation, I felt that anyone can live inside such a bubble. We can choose to experience only the easy things within our comfort zone and, more risky, develop perceptions that direct the way we look at life. As such views of the world, which might not be based on actual experience or deep knowledge/ thinking, get deeper into our system, it becomes very difficult for them to change.

For example, many Westerns develop their perception of Islam and Muslims through what they watch on the media either in the news or the movies. As such picture gets deepen into the unconscious and less challenged by other views, it becomes very difficult to be changed. An individual can choose to live within such bubble and refuse to challenge it. Others, who want to be fair and logical, might start to be cautious of such views and start to look for parts of the reality. The same can be said about how many Arabs and Muslims look at Westerns and life there. Many depend on media provided info and short trips visiting the West and expect that we know it and can develop positions on almost everything happening there.

It might be time for each one of us to grow less sensitive to what we believe and be more open to life outside the mental bubbles we create.

By Ahmed Ba-Aboud


One more reason

12/03/2010

Since the tragedies of September 11th 2001, the question “Why do they hate us?” kept coming in the minds of Americans like never before. It is a very legitimate question. I cannot see how a person can hate a whole nation just because of the mistakes of a minority, though such minority consists of the leaders and the ones who are in control. On the other hand, it is somewhat difficult not to hate America. I won’t start talking about the unlimited support to Israel, Afghanistan or Iraq. Yet, when I look to the history of American policy in South America and Vietnam, it was never clean or ethical. It was always dirty business.

But even today, the US policy makers insist in touching the wrong buttons in the hearts of millions around the world, not only the Arabs or Muslims but many others who see the clear double standard and the injudicious support to Israel. When I read the speech of Vice President Joe Biden in Tel Aviv University, I wondered should not he feel ashamed and make his citizens feel so as well. Vice President Biden clearly repeated that he is a Zionist which was considered till 1991 by the UN General Assembly Resolution as a form of racism. He said that though the Israeli Government announced a day ahead of that speech that it will go ahead with a plan to build 1600 new settlements in the East Jerusalem. Is not that a spit on the face of the so called negotiations Mr. Biden was visiting the region to re-initiate? I think it was, yet Mr. Biden had the guts to go in public and reiterate what many other US politicians before him said which comes down to one thing; Israel can do whatever and American policy will be there to support it.

Such thing happens while the invasion of Iraq was based on absolute lies but so far neither Bush nor Blair admitted their mistake or paying any consequences for their actions and the human death toll resulted from the war on Iraq.

Then you wonder why?

By Ahmed Ba-Aboud


Israeli Apartheid Week

07/03/2010

Saudi Blogger Qusay suggested publishing his latest post “Israeli Apartheid Week” in Alternative Saudi Voices blog. I am delighted to have this post in the blog since it touches in an important subject for many around the globe.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for a while now, and what better time to actually write it and publish it than during the Israeli Apartheid Week.

Let me be clear, I do not hate Jews. I’ve had Jewish friends, we talked, we ate , we celebrated, we got into heated debates about this and that, we helped each other on homework and projects and I have some good memories of some of them, and bad memories of others. I have never subscribed to the idea of grouping people into one category, and I was never comfortable with generalizing a whole community and demonizing or exemplifying them.

Now that I have that out of the way, Israel is an apartheid, just like South Africa was, and worse in my opinion.

Many years ago, when I was not even in high school, I read about Israel not accepting the African Jews of Ethiopia into the Israeli society and imposing restrictions not imposed on Jews of other nationalities who get almost free admission into the settlements, and let’s not forget that they push the people who’ve lived on the land for hundreds of years off the land to build the settlements and call upon Jews from all over the world to come and get the Jewish aliya (literally “ascent”).

One of the reason I’ve loved blogging is because it gave a voice to people, those who I’ve never heard of, saying it like it is. Israel hates Arabs so much that they not only attack Arabs and treat them bad, but they also treat their Jewish people with disdain for looking like Arabs, this is a post by an Iraqi-Jewish-Israeli scholar, Ella Shohat telling it like he lives it. “The discrimination Mizrahi Jews face, like their Palestinian brethren, is a testament to the racist nature of the state of Israel.”

I saw a 60 minutes report a few months ago, some good Jewish people who work for the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem in a remarkable project called Shooting Back. They live on the land gave some poor Palestinians video cameras so they can video the attacks (watch this), and then they take the footage from them and upload the videos for the world to see. I have to say that I am proud of them, I hate discrimination, I even wrote a post about it, and these people stood up against it, thank you.

I really do not care who governs the land, but what Israel is trying to do is copy what has been done to the Native Americans and the Aboriginals and the Africans, but they were a few hundred years late, plus the area was not living in the stone age so they can not just push the natives off the land (which somehow humans intend to do even to inhabitants of distant planets if they have the chance, seen the movie Avatar?).

I write this post, to include my voice in a global movement that I hope will change the situation for an uncountable number of people to the better, and raise awareness.

In a previous post I said I hope I have the courage to speak up against any discrimination I see, and I could not resist to speak up on this one.

The Arab stance was once that as written in a letter by Prince Faisal Hussaini King of Syria and Iraq to Felix Frankfurter in 1919, which I quote here “We Arabs, especially the educated among us look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.” (full letter and correspondence)

It started with a welcome, and went through many genocides, I hope it ends soon.

Haile Selassie in his eternal 1963 Speech delivered to the United Nations and popularized in a song called War by Bob Marley said it well “That until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned: That until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation; That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race; That until that day, the dream of lasting peace and world citizenship and the rule of international morality will remain but a fleeting illusion, to be pursued but never attained”

The Israeli minister was grilled on apartheid issues that “he made a confounding claim that Israeli Arabs may have “full citizenship,” even if they do not enjoy “full rights.”

There is no excuse for this type of discrimination to keep going on at all.


What is next?

06/03/2010

A friend of mine asked me: “What is your problem with Saudi Arabia?” Well, I said: Justice, Equal Rights, Choice, and Trust

We live in a country where people abandon their rights because they believe they will never have them. We lack trust in our government, and we lack trust in our judicial system.

I don’t want to force people to follow my believes, yet I want to have the freedom to follow my own. I want to be able to walk in the street without covering my face and without others whispering behind my back: “Astaghfor Allah,” Muttawa shouting at me, and people judging me based upon what’s on my head! I want to have the choice to go out with my cousins to any restaurant without fearing that Muttawa would come arrest us and sentence us to 50 lashes each. I don’t want to be judged because I don’t fear putting my pictures on Facebook. I don’t want to be judged because I deal with men. I don’t want to be judged because I don’t mind appearing on TV. I don’t want to be judged because my father allows me to travel alone. I don’t want to be judged because I sit with my male cousins. It is a choice! I am not bad because I am different. I am just different.

“Your father trusts you,” she said. “But the society doesn’t.”

“Show our women that you trust them, as much as you in fact depend on them” Woodrow Wilson once said. You should trust that we can, and will make the right decisions. Trust us, because we are your partners in life. We gave, we sacrificed, we suffered, we accepted, we listened, and we obeyed. Why are you willing to make us partners in suffering but not in rights?

Now is the time for us to be full partners. Trust us, and believe in us. Having our rights doesn’t mean excluding men from our lives and disrespecting them. It means sharing the responsibility and become equal partners.

The problem is that women are afraid. Afraid of the responsibility, because they have been taught and they believed that they are useless, and that they can do nothing but cook, clean, and raise children which I think the biggest responsibility of all. Women want to be in the safe side, and they rather not face the world as long as there is someone who can face it instead of them. Well, one day there won’t be anyone and you will have to do it on your own.

Rights are taken, not given. And if we don’t take them by force we will never have them. Sitting behind our computers and writing these blog posts and making online campaigns will do nothing. We tried it and it didn’t work.

What is next?

By: Najla Barasain


ABC in Saudi Arabia, meeting the experts and knowing the target

03/03/2010

I received an email from the Saudi blogger Mohammed Awlia asking me to share a post that he recently published in his own blog. Below is the post and hopefully more will come from Mohammed.

Today we [Saudis] dwell on how unfortunate our current situation is, how the previous leaders failed to meet the demands of the rapid development of the 20th century, how education is poor, how unemployment is rising, how bribery became an everyday habit and finally how connections make life  easier!

It is, in no doubt, an extremely significant thing for us to admit that we are mistaken. Our ice-breaker discussion today is just how unsuccessful we are (whether true or not) and begin comparing ourselves with the old Islamic Caliphates, to the United States and recently Japan.

Very good! You would think we are comparing ourselves to know where we stand and where want to be. However,  we are now experts at pinpointing the errors, today everyone utilizes various coefficients in an equation that underscores our situation, whether economically, politically or academically … but at the end we all deduce an exact single result; failure. Some blame it on how we lost our everyday ethics, how dishonesty emerged, that we are too spoiled or living in poverty.

Our main objective, if there is one, is to jump from point A to point C without passing by B. It may be possible, but it is in fact not advisable. The question, therefore, emerges: What is point A, B and C? My humble answer to this modest question will be: Sorry there is not only a single answer but a million! One million! Yes, because to every situation there is an alternative way to tackle it with this so called theory of ABC

We utilize this theory conditionally to an obstacle we face. For instance, let’s employ this analogy in the business world; how would A, B and C be implemented.

Before I start with an example, it will be my honour to introduce the experts that will provide us with their assertions that would balance the reliability or the credibility of the example chosen.

  1. Dinner evening specialists (DES); a group of people who meet for dinner and usually end up discussing the welfare of the nation, the negatives, and at sometimes they end up celebrating the achievements of a minority in the country.
  2. Afternoon singles (AN); a group of singles who usually hang out at a café’. Unlike DES, the afternoon singles discussions vary, sometimes it is about the country, stuff they must buy, stuff they wish to buy, football and what’s wrong in their lives.

Back to the example:  Point A may be an individual’s qualities in the workforce; leader, hard worker or organized, teamwork…etc. – simple stupid. So far point A is clear? I hope so.

Point B is putting these qualities in immense action, receiving hard tasks, working with foreigners (unfortunately subconscious racism)… Point B is the area where an employee may get demotivated, feel he is fed up.

Why would such a behaviour occur? On the one hand, according to dinner evening’s specialists (DES) in this particular situation assert that this shift in behaviour is due to the fact that they are given an easy ride in school, in other words there is not much challenge in school, therefore, getting used to studying a day or week before the exam.  On the other hand, according to the afternoon singles (AS) it is as a result of being spoiled, getting used to things coming easy- life being easy… until you suddenly encounter difficulties and thus back off. Valid argument, obviously not to all… but to some at least

Point C, Maslow’s hierarchy’s self-actualization, being an executive, a CEO… Aiming high! Another argument by our team of experts, DES claim these high ambitions are, in fact, due to the notion that they are being pressured by society’s expectations, and hence wanting to meet their anticipations. However, AS give a dissimilar theory, their thesis states that these high aims particularly go hand in hand with the love of tangible materialistic things, meaning the idea of owning the best car, a big house and travelling first class.

Therefore, to conclude, we may say that these points, in order to effectively employ them we must follow them chronologically, rather than jump from different points. If an individual jumps from A to C, in the example used above, it may mean the individual did not experience B (the hard one) vividly and is thus not able to perform well as a C – a CEO. This, therefore, draws the line that distinguishes where the real mistake is:

  • Blaming the government: 50% effective – The government can provide everything but it is for you to follow up… We cannot all be CEOs.
  • Blaming bad teachers: 10% effective –Teachers are put at a halt, perhaps because they are not satisfied with their salary, with the weakness of the syllabus and unmotivated students.
  • Blaming the family (Society); 30% effective, blaming the country for not being trained to encounter difficulties, such as getting used to living economically and to cut costs.
  • Attend the dinner or chill at the café’: 0% effective all you will do is sit down moan and hope one day things will turn around.
  • Blaming yourself; 88% effective, making the change you seek in the world… nevertheless an evident loophole may be falling into depression.

Hence, not only the government, the private sector, the health sector, the education sector, the industrial sector are all responsible, but also you are, by all means, responsible!

May Allah bless all.