Post 1 – Ambiguities between Arab Revolution and Renaissance

The Arab nation has unanimously agreed on supporting its revolution, and “changing the regime’ was its goal. Can we with precision and consensus find within the known definition of renaissance an equivalent to the aims of the Arab revolution?

We ask ourselves, what are the achievements of the French revolution? What did the French revolution produce? Did it result in the rebirth of the French nation or led to its destruction and demise?

Revolutions throughout history have been known to tear down existing governing structures and institutions and seldom do they have the required methods and tools to build alternatives and fill the resulting void. If we take the Soviet Union’s revolution of 1991 as an example, the command and control systems collapsed and the production and distribution networks were irreversibly disrupted. The Soviet Union relied on an oppressive centralized governing structure to effectively manage the day-to-day running of the Union and thus when it collapsed crops and vegetables in the fields did not have the mechanism to find their way to the hungry in the cities.

Egypt lived crucial and difficult days after the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936. At the time loyal Egyptian youth were united in identifying and setting suitable strategies for Egypt. However they were faced with sever differences in their perception of what is best for Egypt. This deadlock resulted in them approaching one of the most respected thinkers and professors in Egypt at the time, Mr. Taha Hussein. He was presented with the following reality:

“The Egyptian youth are united in their love and devotion to Egypt, but they have not been able to reach an agreement on a common vision and strategy to set Egypt on the correct path. They find contradiction and ambiguity in their perception of a common path”

We can immediately draw similarities from today’s events to those of yesterdays when the Egyptian youth were faced with similar dilemmas and questions. They do however have the wisdom to sense, appreciate, and comprehend the following:

  • Their vital role in shaping the future of Egypt and the need to harness this newly created momentum in setting clear objectives and defining the medium to fulfill common goals.
  • The important role of thinkers and other qualified elements of society in helping to navigate the future for Egypt.

In deductive observation Mr. Taha Hussain explained that at the time differences existed in the schooling and education systems that reminisces Greek, Italian, French and English culture and logic. This resulted in the Egyptian youth mirroring this taught perception as brought upon them through these various education systems. They were conveying opposing methodologies with the same common aim. Taha Hussain as a result published his book, Mustakbal Al Thakafa fe Misr, in 1938, “The Future of Culture in Egypt” to clarify and document the above conclusions. Having said that I would like to note that even though I agree with the above observation by Taha Hussain I would like to state my overwhelming difference of opinion with much of what was brought across in his book.

Now the following question presents itself. How do we prevent differences within the Arab nation’s youth? Whether in Egypt – the heart of the Arab nation – or Tunisia – its Jasmine flower -or in every other Arab nation on their path of renaissance?

Major companies and certain global institutions around the world have answers: Those organizations are successfully managed and run by people of different languages, nationalities and faiths with more cultural contradiction than today’s Arab youth? How do these organizations achieve such great success and internal consensus and harmony? Do these global organizations and countries achieve growth and development through a specific methodology or particular science?

The examples set forth by South Korea and Singapore are clear and obvious. We witnessed South Korea’s developed over the past fifty years from an underdeveloped nation into a fully industrialized and vibrant nation striving to achieve excellence in education, industry, agriculture, sports and arts.

We also see successful multi-cultures in many countries around the world such as Australia and Canada. They continue to excel and point to their multicultural society as a major contributor to their success. So what is the secret?

Today developed nations outpace the underdeveloped in research, development and value creation, and this gap is increasing. The steps are not clear or obvious of whether it is possible for the underdeveloped to compete with the developed. It is neither evident whether imitating or copying these specific tools and methods without adjusting them to fit our particulars with specific environment and cultural considerations would work.

From afar it seems as if there is a single unifying formula for success and when a nation masters this formula we see progress in all walks of life, racing against time and turning distances that seem endless into short paths with clear goals.

For current Arab revolution to move towards progress and development and not destruction and failure we need to draw inspiration from both relevant existing knowledge and expertise, and put in place our own formula for success. This needs to include the specifics of our culture and be built on a platform of clear dynamic strategies integrating people, tools and processes. Aiming to bring out the best of the Arab nation and illuminating their revolution allowing it to become a beacon for people and leaders of the world. This formula has to contribute to the development of the human race, working hand-in-hand with all nations. As stated in the Quran, “Al-Hujurat” after the name of God the Merciful;

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”

“يا أيها الناس إنا خلقناكم من ذكر وأنثى، وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا، إن أكرمكم عند الله أتقاكم” – صدق الله العظيم.

In subsequent posts I will try to present to you, for common participation and discussion, what I think are the issues and building blocks required to start our renaissance, discussing methodologies, human capital, tools and culture. Hoping for everyone’s contribution and sharing of relevant knowledge and experience.

The time for silence has passed and if we do not contribute now then when?

The Arab youth have achieved difficult triumphs and sacrificed their lives for freedom. They have provided the people of the world and history with great examples of loyalty, belonging and morality.

My next post will try to address the question “How do we begin our renaissance?”

We ask God for help and guidance.

Khaled Kilani

7 responses to “Introduction

  1. Mohammed Kashour

    Very intellectual, looking forward to reading the next post.
    As enlightened as ever 🙂

    • Kashour, Thank you for your support, I look forward to have more input from your generation. Please pass the word, we do not know where the wisdom and guidance is waiting for us to uncover and find.

  2. Yousry El-Kassaby

    Dear Khalid:

    What a mature patriotic start. Yes, I concur, why do reinventing the wheel when successful systems exist. We need to harness the massive energy generated by the youth and direct it to the benefit of the Arab nations. Experience is precious and can not be acquired overnight, let us exploit the wisdom of our veterans who excelled against all odds.

    God Bless and I look forward to reading the next blog.

    • Dear Dr. Yousry,
      Your words are so precious and encouraging, coming from a world class scientist and researcher.
      To those who do not know you I got this from google” Dr. El-Kassaby is currently Professor and Senior Industry – NSERC Research Chair, Applied Forest Genetics and Biotechnology at the University of British Columbia, Canada.”

      Dr. Yousry; the Arab and friend scientists like him; are willing to help. They have obtained world wide knowledge and recognition. These are our enlightenment and are our hope to bridge the gap with the advanced countries.

      Please think with me, he is a Research Chair of Applied Forest Genetics, in the 33rd best university world wide; University of British Colombia; UBC; in Canada.

      Who can better lead our dream, of foresting our poor desert area with modified trees. Trees that are selected by “Breeding without Breeding; BWB”‘. a technique that was invented by Dr. Yousry and the term was coined and owned by him. Forests that can stand our harsh environment?

      On such experts we build our nahdah, in various sectors. They will come back to an attractive environment, an environment that welcomes and supports R&D, let us prepare to attract them back”

  3. Sari Otaqui

    Factoid of interest: About 35 years ago Pakistan and Korea were at par in most respects, Korea put all there emphasis on the primary education and Pakistan on its Universities. See were they stand today

  4. sari

    For leaders to hold their ground they need to know
    what their ground is. To be able to offer stability
    and wisdom to others, I need to be grounded in my
    own wisdom. I need to know where I am going as an
    individual, only then can I provide leadership for others.
    Today let me lead my own life by grounding myself in
    my own truth.

  5. Sari Otaqui

    Hi Khaled

    It is from meditation and if I were to put it in simpler terms it would be “Leaders need to know what their ground is to be able to lead others”

    For your Nahdat methodology think of what was done to Iraq but in reverse

    Embargo VS sufficiency
    Destruction of museums Vs national history museums
    Destruction of infrastructure Vs
    Dividing into many identities
    Importing your laws and constitution Vs
    Murdering or frightening away teachers the further the better Vs
    Maintening a state of fear Vs
    Dependence on foreign power Vs
    Eligitimate governance Vs
    Malevolent deeds Vs
    Ruled by the Army Vs
    Working just for the money Vs
    and a thousand others if we remember how the events proceeded


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