Senior Staff Writer
Lebanese economist and former Minister of Finance, George Corm, tackled and analyzed the main issues faced by Arabs, during the Saadeh Annual Lecture “The Arabs: from dynamics of failure to self-destruction,” on Friday, Nov. 10.
After being welcomed by Professor of Media Studies at AUB, Nabil Dajani, Corm began the conference to explain his point of view regarding the constant failures in Arab politics, that have eventually lead to the near-destruction of the Arab World.
In a time during which Arab countries face never-ending crises and civil wars, it is crucial to study and try to understand the reasons behind such dark days in order to properly find a solution, according to Corm.
The speaker explained how he sees cases such as Yemen, Syria, Libya and Iraq as examples of the depth of the self-destructive nature of Arab politics. He believes Arabs should historicize the current events, as they have given up their authority to foreign powers for over a thousand years now.
“We must ask ourselves why Arabs went out of history and how,” Corm said.
He then argued that mixing religious issues with politics leads to the downfall of Arab nations, noting how such a process has lead to divisions among Arabs when it came to their opinions regarding the Ottoman Empire. Corm discussed the 1979 Iranian Revolution, as another example of a topic that divided Arabs.
The Arab way of thinking has been heavily impacted by religion, according to Corm. Arabs are now plunged in a repetitive, never-ending, religious debate. They must therefore remember that the first victims of so-called “jihadism” are Muslims themselves.
He also shed light on the role of the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement of 1993 that redrew the borders of the Arab Mashreq. He highlighted the lack of cooperation between Arabs regarding the topic. Corm then spoke on the presence of Israel and its contribution to destabilizing the region.
According to Corm, even the media was heavily affected by Western terms and ways of thinking of typical Arab issues. He especially criticized the constant use of the terms of “moderation” and “compromise” in the media in discussing Israeli-Palestinian issues, as he believes the rights of the Palestinians are not to be compromised.
Corm also criticized the new economic system in the Arab world and the current flows of following money. The new generation of the region have a habit of reverting to Western cultures and way of living, all the while disregarding the Arab culture.
The misguided priorities of Arab nations was also a point he shed light on. Corm claims countries of the region sent fighters to Afghanistan, Bosnia and Russia to spread Islamism instead of sending armies to liberate Palestine. Mere agreements such as Oslo in 1993 are not enough and were actually more harmful to Palestine, as he puts it.
Corm’s final point was on the destruction of Yemen and how it is the pure example on Arab self-destruction. He added that he does not believe Saudi Arabia is doing the right thing in its recent policies and involvements.
The former Minister of Finance emphasized on the importance of changing the Arab way of thinking, having successful and long-term innovations as well as philosophical independence.