x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Arab League's new order of business

Arabic editorials also deal with job opportunities for Emiratis, global unrest and Egypt's future.

Events revamp the Arab League's role

Since the start of this year, which has been marked by unrest across the Middle East, many observers have maintained that the Arab League is going down a blind alley, opined the Saudi newspaper Al Watan in its main editorial.

Member states have enough concerns for the time being and will lack the focus to act in unison. However, the Arab League has been unified beyond all expectations in tackling a number of issues.

The League has played a great role in crystallising Arab attitudes with regard to the situation in Libya, and in supporting the Palestinian move to gain UN recognition as a fully sovereign state. This shows that there exists a certain collective will by Arab countries in relation to the region's core issues.

Yet, the League has been criticised for being less active on the Syrian and Yemeni unrest. On Sunday, the emergency meeting of the Arab foreign ministers, upon a request by the GCC countries, belatedly discussed the situation in Syria and was seen as an important step by the League to clarify its position.

The meeting highlighted the League's concern about the continued violence in Syria, but also marked its return to the Arab scene. To fulfil its role effectively at this critical juncture, it needs sustained support by all member states.

Some Emiratis are without a job by choice

"If any Emirati looks assiduously enough for a job, they will most certainly find one," the editor of the Emirati newspaper Al Emarat Al Youm wrote in his regular column yesterday.

"Sure, Emiratisation needs a new boost and continuous government pressure to ensure that new graduates find suitable jobs," he observed. "But this doesn't mean that every young Emirati without a job is in such a position for reasons beyond his or her control. We must admit that there are those who are unemployed by choice."

For years, Emiratis have been working at food cooperatives, for instance. Today, you walk into the Union Co-op Supermarket at Etihad Mall in Dubai and "it warms the cockles of your heart" to see Emirati citizens sitting proudly behind the tills or supervising the isles, the editor went on.

"Point is, there are some who turn down jobs and some who actually turn their noses up at them … And there are those who blame everybody else for their own failure."

The state so far has done what it has to do, the editor argued. It not only created an advanced investment environment that generates thousands of opportunities, it also passed laws that privilege Emirati nationals in the job market.

"All we have to do is rid ourselves of negative attitudes."

People want a new economic system

"Once again, there is talk about the urgent need to revamp the global economic system," the Dubai-based newspaper Al Bayan stated in its main editorial yesterday.

The protests of last Saturday, which spread from the United States and Europe to eastern Asia, prove that people everywhere have grown weary of the omnipotence of capital and the hegemony of big corporations.

Americans are trying to occupy Wall Street today like it has occupied the lives of millions of lives for so many years, the newspaper said. "The West in general, which is the bastion of capitalism, is calling for genuine democracy, not one that is subservient to the interests of the large companies and the banking system."

Commenting on the same subject in an editorial titled "Global Anger", the Sharjah-based newspaper Al Khaleej observed yesterday: "After decades of economic globalisation and theorising about the concept of prosperity, societies in the developed world are waking up to the fact that growth pours into the pockets of an ever-smaller elite, whereas the job-seeking crowd is getting ever larger."

These protests, which turned into riots in Rome, are not just against the policies that brought social hardships to ordinary people. They are also against the rescue-the-big-fish solutions perpetually proposed to remedy a structurally dysfunctional situation.

New Egypt has to look forward to the future

Egypt continues to be preoccupied with past and present conflicts, not to mention future challenges, noted the Cairo-based Al Ahram newspaper in its main editorial.

Egyptian elites, wrote the paper, have to assume an even greater role in helping people overcome past events and address future challenges. They should especially channel their efforts towards creating social and economic development.

Advancing education is essential in this process. And in order to achieve this goal, scientific research must be one of the top priorities in any government plans. The concerned authorities need to adopt scientific findings so that they can provide the necessary theoretical and practical tools to overhaul the educational system.

But the most urgent issue remains combating poverty, which affects a large section of population. More than 40 per cent of Egyptians live under the poverty line. It is worth mentioning that poverty has always crippled the development of education, and is responsible for causing the quality of living in Egypt to deteriorate considerably.

What has been said is not novel, but the new era offers opportunities for all Egyptians to seize, and target directly the source of previous ills, concluded the paper.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk