Feature

Lebanon: Why can’t Arabs improve our lot?

The U.N. just released its annual Arab Human Development Report, and it&rsquo;s a depressing read, said Rami Khouri in <em>The Daily Star.</em>

Rami KhouriThe Daily Star

The Arab world is stagnating, said Rami Khouri. The U.N. just released its annual Arab Human Development Report, and it’s a depressing read. Ours is the only region besides sub-Saharan Africa where the number of malnourished people is increasing. The gap between rich and poor is enormous, and our economies grow on average less than 0.5 percent annually. Far too many Arabs live in fear of personal violence—particularly women, who are frequently attacked by their own husbands or fathers. Even in the wealthiest Arab societies, most citizens live “in a state of chronic fragility and vulnerability.”

This is the fifth U.N. report to catalogue our miseries, but we have yet to tackle the underlying causes of our mediocrity and bring about real change. Perhaps the next U.N. report could focus on concrete examples of those few Arab societies that function well. Then we could “make the developmental leap forward, transcending the diagnosis of our ailments and constraints to move into a phase of overcoming them.”

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