What’s the difference?

If you’re like me, you would have always looked at pictures of the Western world and admired the greenery and the cheerful positive faces of their people. I always wondered what is the difference? Why are our societies always frowning, always tired, always thinking, always fighting? Why don’t we admire our own beautiful natural sceneries with smiles? Is it because we live in an area which has been through a lot of crucial changes in the past decades? Wars? Deaths? Torture? Punishment? Captivity?

This may be it. It is maybe because we cannot fight together, form one united front and once and for all eradicate differences and unlawful actions. Those frowns may be caused by a forceful eviction from your own country, or the inability to find a job and feed your family. An angry heart could be from the lack of support you feel from your government and your fellow citizens. A constant miserable face could be a product of losing someone dear to you in a tragic unfair situation, or being pulled away from your loved ones and your land and put in a small cell.

The above reasons may be true, and possibly are. They could be justifications to why there is a huge difference between my people’s pictures and the Western world’s society. But I have found another most definite reason for this difference: how they treat each other and their country.

Don’t tell me because my country doesn’t treat me right, I won’t treat it right either. It always takes two to tango. And from what I have seen while studying in the UK for a year now, the main difference is us.

I was sitting on the bench the other day waiting for the bus to arrive, when a 60-year old construction worker, holding a sandwich and a juice box, it was his lunch break, who was barely able to walk, came and sat on another bench. As he sat down, he spotted a paper wrap on the side of the road, he stood up, bent down and walked to the end of the road to put in the garbage bin. After that, he came back and started eating his sandwich.

Maybe a small meaningless act for you, but it gave me an enlightenment to why we are developing countries, and why their countries are developed. There is no difference, whether it’s a construction worker, a business man or a pupil, they all do the SAME things. They all ride the bus, they all help in cleaning their communities,  not like us when we litter and throw things out of the car. They help EACH OTHER and smile. The Prime Minister rides the subways with the same man who cleans his office. The bus driver goes home in the same bus as the CEO of a multi-millionnaire company.

There is no pulling strings, everyone stands in line, and guess what, when you actually stand in line your turn comes in less than 2 minutes. They have ethics in communication and take it as an offence if the words thank you or please are not said. They are all servants of their country, efficient ones, and that is why they are getting all the success and we are falling apart.

I am not saying we are a rude society with no ethics or respect. Of course not, I love my country and I love the people I live with. I just hope we can live together in the comfort they live in, where we erase the concept of mocking the construction workers and the old men who clean the streets, and understand that there is NOTHING wrong with working as a secretary or a waiter/waitress. I hope we start having respect for one another, especially when a girl whether wearing the hijab, a dress or jeans, and is walking down the street, is not judged and put under the risk of rape, abduction or physical/verbal assault. I hope if we see a little boy being abused by his parents, that we could then call a local authority constructed for these issues, one we could trust the boy would be in good professional hands.

And, I really really wish the concept of WASTA would be demolished from the roots of our community so people would be able allowed to have jobs and opportunities based on their qualifications and hard work.

By accomplishing all of these, we have reformed ourselves, without the need of protests, an Arab Spring or the help of any armed weapons and death tolls. From Kings to the new born babies-we can engrave these principles from childhood into their minds-we have reformed our country.

It really does start within us. 

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4 thoughts on “What’s the difference?

  1. Your article is very interesting. I will try to summarize the reasons of why we are different from my point of view:

    1- Ignorance: You said parents can teach these principles to their children. But how do you expect parents to do that, when the majority are themselves ignorant? This is a circle, where parents transmit ignorance and chaos beside their biological genes and psychological problems to their children. Of course, we humans have something called self-awareness, which can be utilized to break the circle by making firm decisions to change, but unfortunately, this does happen at personal level only. In my opinion, we need a political call that monitors all institutions to fulfill these principles.

    2- Corruption: Starting from the end of the first point, a political call that monitors all institutions needs honest and loyal officials and honest and loyal servants under their hands, who are capable of embracing and forcing well studied solutions. But when the whole hierarchy is corrupted, where personal interests interfere with the general public interests, this is not going to happen. A cleaning person in a governmental institution may do a lot, for example, because he has personal connections withing that institution. Almost for sure all systems in the Arab World are corrupted.

    3- Dependance: Even if we have honest and loyal officials, we need an economical independence to be able to make our own decisions, since the foundation of any political strength is an economical strength. Otherwise, we will be like toys at the hands of great countries like USA, they force what they need, or otherwise, they will cut their help.

    4- Tradition: Another problem is related to the family, which may be more profound in Jordan than in Palestine for example, where the extended family (3asheerah) still exists. This makes things worse, since every one will try to help his relatives and members of his family. Even worse, a small fight between two guys from two different families (3asha2r) will soon become a fight between two families with possible killing each other literally, regardless of the reason why the fight happened in the first place.

    5- Religion: Although religion might appear irrelevant, but I think it plays a major role in the way of thinking for the majority, and it affects the decisions made from the smallest unit of family to the regional decisions like what happen in Syria now. To reach real democracy we need to separate religion from state completely, and begin to accept the idea that religion is a private matter between a human and God, and whatever lifestyle human chooses to follow, there is a God to judge him at that day, as long as it does not affect the general public.

    One final thing, you compared the Arab World with the Western World now, but you did not mention the process through which these countries in the West have reached this state. Every aspect of democracy in the West came in the hard way. For example, women rights. They were not granted, but rather they have been earned. Till this day, women face discrimination even in the West, and what happened with the Australian Prime minister once because she is a woman speaks of this. Today while I am setting at a bench in a Western country, which is very democratic, someone passed by (apparently he was going home from a protest happened somewhere) with a sign asking for democracy. There is a natural tendency inside humans to suppress democracy form one reason or another, and hence it needs a continuous fight (not necessarily physical), even after it has been earned.

    1. I appreciate your input. It’s really not an article, just a blog post I wrote after seeing that old man. I did not intend for it to be written from a political aspect, I was just referring to the difference in ethics and cultural aspects.
      Thank you a lot though, I agree with most of your points.

      1. I know you were reflecting on something caught you, but from that something you asked a very critical question. All theses topics are interrelated: democracy, politics, economy, ethics, cultures, …. Again, the West was once a very brutal and dark place. So, these ethics and cultures have deep roots in a dark and violent history.

        Anyway, I am not involved into politics, and surely I am not pretending that I can correctly analyze and solve this dilemma. I just wanted to share what I have of thoughts triggered by reading your Blog’s topic.

        By the way, I read some other topics in your blog, and I felt an overwhelming sense of humanity, passion, and sincerity. Your writings have the ability to touch the readers. I am following. Good luck

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