The outcome and topics of the World Government Summit have been consistent with developments in the region. There have been strange and scary transformations, which shook many countries across the region while the United Arab Emirates and Gulf countries remained strong and solid and maintained whatever is left of institutions in the Arab world.
The subject of development was brought up and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid further explained it. He referred to late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s attempts to create a model of a city that resembles Dubai.
His Highness sent a delegation to sit with Libyan officials after an Arab country requested so out of its desire to quit living in the past and enter the present with all its ramifications and difficulties. However, the delegation was shocked of the Libyan officials’ interest in making profits. This made working in a financially corrupt environment extremely difficult.
“If a project costs 100 million, some insist it costs 1,000 million. Why do they do so?” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid asked. He said: “prevention of corruption” is the reason behind Dubai’s and the UAE’s developmental experience and vowed to prevent corruption from infiltrating institutions. “I and my brother Mohammed bin Zayed will not accept corruption in the country,” he said.
Qaddafi’s dream of building a city like Dubai evaporated due to corrosive corruption and destruction, which pulled down institutions due to benefits and favoritism. Development is impossible amid such corrupt circumstances.
One of the other discussed topics was terrorism. We heard the story of colleague Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otibi with Yusef al-Ayeri, the leader of al-Qaeda organization in the Arabian Peninsula.
Ayeri’s eyes were evil as he looked at Otibi the last time they met in a restaurant in eastern Riyadh. During the lecture he delivered at the summit, Otibi said indignation was the most dangerous evil, which ignites terrorism and he cited a quote that proves Sayyid Qutb’s role in nurturing violence and terrorism in the world.
Through strong and systematic education, we can maintain what we have managed to build in Gulf countries and propose this model for the rest of the Arab world – if they choose to follow itTurki Aldakhil
“I will remain indignant. If it were up to me, I’d establish double the schools which the government has built in order to teach people one thing: discontent. If it were up to me, I’d establish a school to teach discontent over this generation of politicians and over those writers and journalists whom are said to be opinion leaders in the country ... I’d establish a school to teach discontent over those ministers,” Qutb said.
As for cultural growth, thinker Ibrahim al-Buleihi spoke about advancement barriers. He’s done a great job describing the problem as underdevelopment is some sort of falling backwards. He voiced the importance of education at correcting and not adding perception as right information is gained through efforts and awareness and not automatically.
Every society thinks it is the best even if it happens to be the worst case of underdevelopment. Education must not guard existing perceptions, opinions and habits but it must take the path toward change and pave other ways that go beyond common patterns and blind indoctrination.
Development, resisting extremism and cultural and educational growth are what we need most in our region. Illiteracy is rising due to wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq, and there are also security challenges. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid noted the UAE’s ability to confront these challenges through appropriate means considering it is ready. As for cultural growth, it entirely depends on societies. Will they walk against history and head for extinction or pave the way of redemption?
It is important to believe in visions proposed about tackling corruption and to be convinced of how dangerous corruption is for sustainable development. Rising from economic setbacks has been impossible for countries rich in natural resources and food industries but drowned in corruption.
The World Government Summit discussed the triangle of hazards, corruption, terrorism and ignorance. Each disease has its vaccine that are transparency, tolerance and openness.
Through strong and systematic education, we can maintain what we have managed to build in Gulf countries and propose this model for the rest of the Arab world – if they choose to follow it. Only those who do not know the impossible know ambition.
This article was first published in Al-Bayan on Feb. 22, 2016.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.