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Letter to the Editor

Finance & Development  

Dear Sir,

The articles in the March 2013 issue of F&D on the future of the Middle East are thoughtful and exhaustive. But whatever is meant by the “Arab spring,” a season for flowering and growth or a time for leaping up or forward, reality belies the title—a monumental misnomer confusing popular upheaval, spontaneous and unorganized, with the need for drastic root-and-branch societal change. The articles' ideas for economic, political, and other reforms are destined to lead nowhere not for lack of trying but for landing on barren, toxic, and unreceptive grounds. Living for centuries under a perverted time warp, countries and the people of the region need first and foremost before anything else a rebirth not unlike the European Renaissance of centuries ago, which, in the words of a recent commentary by the Economist, “broke through the carapace of medieval thought to rediscover ancient learning . . . . The movement placed man, rather than God, at the centre of the universe.” To change the human condition in the region, politicians and opinion leaders should sort out the relationship of their people not only to nature but to heaven as well.


Mehdi AlBazzaz
(formerly of the World Bank)

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