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Arab world needs will to introduce change

14.12.2004
General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defence, today opened the Arab Strategy Forum and delivered the key note address in the presence of a large number of heads of states, experts, academics and senior officials.
The following is the full text of Sheikh Mohammed's speech: " This forum is held on the first day after the end of the mourning period on our dearest departed Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan AI-Nahyan, may Allah have mercy on his soul.
As we resume our official activities by welcoming this honourable gathering about the future of the Arab world, the greatest presence among us is the philosophy, school of thoughts and attitudes of the late Sheikh Zayed, whose heart and mind were inhabited by Arabism, which he crystallized in his conduct and life, in his morals, commitment and generosity.
The late Sheikh Zayed used to react to Arab events as if they happened in his own house. He was happy for any Arab achievement, no matter how small it was. He was saddened by any mishap wherever it took place. He was the pioneer for the good deeds, and was repulsed by dissension, hypocrisy and mean acts. We were always concerned that his heart may not withstand this overwhelming love, a heart that was over laden by the situations in the Arab world, that caused anxiety, grief, and pain.
Had Zayed's philosophy been followed by the Arab nation as it has been followed in his own country, and had the Arab leaders adopted this philosophy, our Arab situation would have been different, and our way to the year 2020 would have been paved and cleared.
Some of you may say that Sheikh Mohammad is overwhelmed by his emotions, and perhaps he is over-reacting in his speech. But those of you who knew the area in the fifties and earlier would realize that the unification of seven emirates, with all their governors, tribes, their harsh conditions and historical heritage, in one constitutional state, leading them to their present situation, is one embodiment of a major operation of change and reform in the history of the area.
The late Sheikh Zayed 'had achieved this great success by good rule, sharing advice, sincerity, dedication to work and service of his country and nation, and concentration on development in every field, and openness to human civilization in all its components.
The late Sheikh Zayed had a vision for change, and the will to introduce that change. This is exactly what we need in the Arab world today. We are clever in talking about change - but our will is shaky or weak. For decades we have been talking about unity and cooperation. But the talk in some parts of our Arab world today is not about the unity of the nation, but about preventing the falling apart of some of its states.
Since globalisation knocked at our doors, we have been constantly talking about its dangers and effects, and about the need for the Arab states to stand together to face the evils of that globalisation. But is it not more urgent that the Arab states should start with themselves, to secure the cooperation of all vital powers in their communities to provide a hope to get out of the stagnant state, and enter into an active one, in order to make Arab cooperation possible and profitable? In fact, globalisation does, not make cooperation inevitable for the Arabs only, but for all nations and peoples of the world, to face the problems of poverty, disease, global warming terrorism, extremism and dissension in the field of knowledge.
All geographical communities in the world are on the lookout for common denominators. Quite recently, a gathering of Latin American states materialized. So, why do we in the Arab world disperse our common d nominators, and not behave, even according to geographical logic? Had Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Rashid, went on talking about the sweet dream of unity, without genuine intention and courageous will, no change, reform, advance or development would have taken place.
MidEast.ru
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