'The Car Is in Reverse!': Jordanian Writer Admits Arab, Muslims Lag Behind Rest of World

He says Muslim societies lag behind the rest of the world, which has bested them by "perhaps millennia."

There are Muslims worldwide who are appalled at the regressive nature of their respective Islamic societies and do attempt to elevate the conversation as best they can. The issue is that their voices are more often than not, stifled or obscured by the very communities from which they hail. 

In January, Jordanian journalist and political analyst Jihad Al Mansi wrote an article in the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, titled, "Careful, The Car Is In Reverse!"

Al Mansi wrote of Arab society's low world rankings in science, human rights, culture and war on corruption. The journalist wrote that Muslim societies lag behind the rest of the world, which has bested them by "perhaps millennia."

Bravely, Al Mansi made a plea to his fellow Arabs to invest their resources in betterment and stop blaming others for their failings. 

MEMRI provides the translation of excerpts from this important article: 

The world is developing, in the philosophical, scientific, social, creative, educational, and cultural sense; it is on the verge of breaking free of backward gender-driven thinking...

This is taking place in countries far from our Arab region. There, they are developing scientifically and culturally, competing for the top position in all human indices. At the same time, we, in this region of the world, remain at the bottom of these indices – and some of our countries are absent from them altogether.

The Nobel laureates in peace, medicine, chemistry, physics, economics, and literature include people from all [countries] – but we Arabs are rarely among them, and for the most part sit in the audience [during the awards ceremonies] or watch them on TV...

The author goes on to state that the problem does not end with failures to win Nobel Prizes, but is also "manifested much more in the fact that we hold no respectable position on any index or metric concerning freedom of thought, human rights, media, gender, environment, water, or war on corruption; our countries often come last in every field."

He also took aim at a myriad other issues including sports, art, politics and enterprise: 

When we participate in the Olympic Games, our countries promote the motto 'honor for [merely]participating.' When we want to try for an Olympic medal, our solution is to grant citizenship to [foreign] athletes to do so. We are not among those on the winner's podium – and if we are, our representation is miniscule. ...billions in income are squandered on purchasing [sporting] clubs, as we refrain from investing in [our own] human, ideological, and athletic resources.

We are regressing, instead of progressing, in all fields: We fail in sports; we have no presence in the arts; politically, we execute the agendas of the superpowers and major enterprises, like pawns that move when expected and remain silent when demanded to do so. Economically, we are not welfare states; ideologically, we are influenced, not influencers; with regard to humanity, we reject the other rather than accept him.

We accuse anyone who disagrees with us of being an infidel, and think that we're always right and the world is conspiring against us, never asking ourselves the logical question: Why would the world do this, when we are of no consequence in global, cultural, and human enterprise?  We avoid the real answer, and cannot acknowledge that it is we who conspire against ourselves, killing each other and shedding each other's blood on pretexts based on a legacy that is 1,500 years old, more or less, [pretexts] that are intended to sow ethnic and religious conflicts among the streams and sects...

The author concludes:

Gentlemen, our car is in reverse, and is not moving forward – as the world has overtaken us by centuries, perhaps millennia. We have missed the boat for this generation, and it is beyond rectifying. Will we wake up and invest our financial and human resources to help the coming generations? Will we?"

Mind you, this man is from Jordan, which far surpasses most Arab countries in terms of its modernity. We often lament the fact that there are so few in the Muslim world who will speak the truth about the Islamic world and its failings. When those rare people and occasions do arise, we should amplify them. 

Issues