Young people will change the Arab world – Tarek Osman

Young people will change the Arab world – Tarek Osman
16 September 2011

For the latest one hundred years, the Arab countries have experienced the range of crushing defeats in nation-building domain. Tarek Osman, a writer and analyst, author of “Egypt on the Brink”, expressed this idea during the discussion about the Arab revolutions at the 8th Annual Meeting of Yalta European Strategy.

“Arab liberalism was an inspiring start, but it failed. Then, the Arab countries turned into strictly structured, aggressive, authoritarian states. This strict structure did not work. A distorted form of capitalism, which was in place in the Arab world for some time, also did not work. All social and state-building experiments have failed in this huge portion of the world,” Osman said.

Tarek Osman attributes the 2011 events in the Northern Africa and the Middles East to the specific weight of youth in the population structure in these countries. “The Arab world numbers more than 190 million people under 30. There are 45 million young people in Egypt only. Nearly 56% of youth is under 20. Once serious economic problems started, the youth understood that they suffer from the problems, which they are not responsible for, which they have not created,” he said.

Since “the Arab Spring” is due to deep social factors, Tarek Osman does not exclude further escalation of the revolutionary movement in the region. In particular, according to him, most monarchies in Africa and the Middle East anyway would evolve into some new systems. “In 5 – 10 years, the monarchy in its present form will not exist,” he said.

The most important problem, according to the analyst, is that the economic model used in the Arab countries remains rather obsolete and does not encourage people to be initiative. “The state remains the largest employer. 35 million people in the Arab world live on less than 1 euro per day. No steps are taken to extend the middle class. If the economy stops supporting the poor groups of population, the middle class will be capable to earn their living.”

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Marina Abramović
Marina Abramović
Artist, 14th YES Annual Meeting, 2017
«Politicians need to have a big picture, but artists need to have even bigger picture because they are oxygen of society. And we are free, we don’t discriminate, we don’t belong to anybody. We can do whatever we want.»