The wave of popular uprising sweeping the Middle East is indicative of a rising empowerment of people dissatisfied with decades of corruption, poverty, lack of democracy and the freedom of expression.
Commenting on this, Anas Altikriti, Chief Executive of The Cordoba Foundation (TCF), said “What we are seeing is a raw and basic example of people power that has come to symbolise turning points in world history. The people can be pushed into a corner so far until they start pushing back”
TCF endorses the appeal made on 27th January of more than 2200 Arab scholars, politicans, activists, from over 20 Arab countries, issued an ‘URGENT APPEAL’ to the US Administration for the defence and consolidation of human rights and democracy in the Arab world. TCF also appeals to other Western governments and institutions to support the popular movements against the embattled regimes. According to Altikriti, “We in the West also have to bear the brunt of responsibility for sowing the seeds of discontent that led to these riots. We have continuously supported these illegitimate regimes who have suppressed and tortured their own people leading them to extreme poverty whilst the ruling elite lived in luxury. We cannot simply pursue our interests at the account of suppressed and subjugated nations, and assume that there will not be a backlash“.
It is clear that these demonstrations have culminated in the emergence of a new ‘people-based’ power throughout the Arab region, which calls for an open dialogue to be developed ifor the futures of the region and its relatoinship with the West. As a result, Britain and the West’s responsibility comes from seizing the opportunity to create new dynamics for this relationship based firmly on the essential support for the Arab people and their political aspirations.
The Cordoba Foundation calls for:
- All stakeholders (including leading dissidents; exiled figures; women,student and youth leaders; civil society leaders; academics; business leaders; religious leaders) to be involved in a serious and open dialogue of mutual recognition which involves all strands of political, social, cultural, ideological and religious life. It is of great concern that already some commentators from Britain and elsewhere are calling for the exclusion of some groups from any future discussions thereby not only betraying a naive comprehension of the root causes of unfolding circumstances on the ground but also ensuring challenges for peaceful future Arab-Western relations.
- A sufficient space to be provided and facilitated for these discussions to take place without any external interference. TCF strongly believes that given the space and support, people will be able to find the solutions to their own problems and thus we should not attempt to ‘influence’ outcomes according to our desires and preferences.The exiled political figures and dissidents who have spent invariably lengthy periods of time abroad and particularly in the UK, to be urged to unite with the popular tide within their respective homelands in setting a national agenda for progress and are made use of and fully included in the process of rebuilding their countriesThe British Government and Western Governments in general, to support the development of these countries through supporting the people’s choice in ensuring a smooth transition towards better governance and democratic principles as well as providing aid to support the people who have suffered during these tough times.
The Cordoba Foundation, in its vision of thriving and striving for the common goal of understanding, celebrating, respecting and accepting diversity, will continue its dialogue with the main stakeholders involved in events unfolding throughout the countries of the Arab region in order to ensure a peaceful outcome that meets the peoples’ aspirations and ensures a smooth transition to a better and more human reality. TCF will also continue to advise various governments throughout Europe and beyond on methods that are best in dealing with the present fluid situation and its possible outcomes.