Former Kuwaiti Information Minister: Liberalism Is The Solution For Arab Countries

In his column in the paper Al-Anba, former Kuwaiti information minister Sami Al-Nisf wrote that liberalism and pluralism are the solution to the problems of the Arab countries, rather than nationalism or socialism, which lead to failure. He added that the Arab liberalism that prevailed in the 1920s-1950s yielded achievements for the Arab countries, unlike the revolutionary regimes and the political Islam movements that emerged later.

Sami Al-Nisf

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]

“During the golden age of Arab liberalism, from the 1920s until it fell [victim] to the barbaric coups of the 1950s and subsequently, the [Iraqi cities of] Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul were united and a constitutional monarchy was established in Iraq; the [Lebanese] Rachaya, Hasbaya, and Western Beqaa districts were united, greater Lebanon was established, and its territory was expanded…; Sunnis, Druze, and Alawis rejected the autonomy that had been given to them [by the French colonial power as part of a divide-and-rule policy]and modern Syria was established; the liberal regime in Egypt preserved the unity of the Nile valley, that is, [between] Egypt and the Sudan; and, likewise, King Idris Al-Senussi [Idris I of Libya] united the provinces of Barka [Cyrenaica], Fezzan, and Tripolitania (which for a while was a separate republic) into a single federal kingdom, which he later transformed into a united kingdom.

“The revolutionaries of the 1950s and 1960s raised the slogans of Arab unity and combined them with [the slogans of] socialism and even of scientific Marxism. They called for unifying the proletariat and succeeded very effectively in destroying the unity of the Arab countries under their control, by persecuting religious, sectarian, and ethnic minorities who voluntarily chose to remain part of the nation state. It made no sense for a party raising the banner of Arab nationalism to control a country with non-Arab nationalities, like Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and for an Islamic party to control a country with Christians or pagans, like the Sudan… which eventually led to the breakaway of South [Sudan]…

“In later periods, the political – not religious – slogan of ‘Islam is the solution’ was used to arouse the sentiments of the simple folk. This was despite the fact that those using the slogan knew that it alone was not going to solve the problems of the various countries, and that the [devil] is in the details. Therefore, when the people who used [this slogan] rose to power in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere, the slogan was downplayed and replaced with the establishment of parties that raised the banners of revival, justice, and peace – none of which were realized.

“Life experience and today’s reality show that it is liberalism and pluralism that are the ultimate solution to the problems of Arab countries – countries that are currently torn by civil wars both open and invisible

“Raising the slogan of ‘liberalism is the answer’ [i.e. instead of ‘Islam is the answer’] will lead us to the same ultimate conclusion arrived at by the modern world – the conclusion via which it has achieved social peace, progress, and the pinnacle of glory. As for the other slogans: The religious ones used in Europe during the Middle Ages, the nationalist ones used by the fascist Nazi regime and the Ba’th regime, and the leftist [ones] used by the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have all made us begin at the same place as others – so that we can, long decades and centuries later, arrive at the same failed results.”


[1] Al-Anba (Kuwait), August 20, 2014

August 21, 2014 | Comments »

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