Saudi Arabian child NurPhoto/Getty Images

De Arabische zwijgende meerderheid moet haar stem verheffen

ALGIERS – Sinds het United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 2001 met zijn werk aan de Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR) is begonnen, is de situatie in veel Arabische landen alleen maar achteruit gegaan. Het lukt de regio vandaag de dag niet eens om de handen ineen te slaan om een nieuw rapport te publiceren. Dat is jammer, want het vinden van een nieuwe, gedeelde visie voor het Arabische volk, in het bijzonder de Arabische jeugd, is een voorwaarde voor het verwezenlijken van vrede en voorspoed in het Midden-Oosten en Noord-Afrika.

In de eerste AHDR, gepubliceerd in 2002, werden drie belangrijke “ontwikkelingstekorten” beschreven die de regio parten speelden, op het gebied van kennis, vrouwenemancipatie en vrijheid. Het rapport, gekenschetst als “geschreven door Arabieren voor Arabieren,” heeft duidelijke invloed uitgeoefend op het regionale ontwikkelingsverhaal en op de manier waarop nationale elites hebben gepraat over de problemen waarmee hun samenlevingen worden geconfronteerd.

Rond de tijd van de eerste AHDR had de Arabische wereld redenen om optimistisch te zijn. Nadat Israel zich in 2000 uit Libanon had teruggetrokken, trok het land zich in 2005 ook uit de Gazastrook terug. Er waren nieuwe Arabische leiders – zoals Abdullah II in Jordanië, Mohammed VI in Marokko en Bashar al-Assad in Syrië – aan de macht gekomen, en dat leidde tot hoop op verandering. Saoedi-Arabië had in 2003 zijn eerste gemeenteraadsverkiezingen aangekondigd, die in 2005 werden gehouden. Egypte en Irak organiseerden in 2005 ook allebei (overwegend) democratische verkiezingen, en de pogingen van Algerije om de interne conflicten te bezweren waren grotendeels succesvol, deels dankzij de hoge olieprijzen in deze periode.

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