Why aren’t Arab states more like individuals?

by Rami G. Khouri, The Daily Star, Lebanon

SUMMARY

Sunnis and Shiites, Christians and Muslims, Kurds, Amazigh and Arabs, or any other combination of citizens of different identities have cooperated, inter-married, shared businesses and coexisted respectfully for centuries at the community level all around the region, and this is still the pattern defining most communities not wrecked by war.

When it comes to the business of governance – electing a new Lebanese president, agreeing to parliamentary and constitutional advances in Yemen and Libya, defining who can participate in public politics in Egypt, reforming the parliamentary system in Kuwait or Bahrain – these traditions of communal mutual respect and coexistence break down.

There seems to be a huge disconnect between the solid values of ordinary people in the Arab world in their family and community lives, and the dysfunctional and often violent conduct of political leaders who represent these same citizens nationally. This suggests a strong case for much more decentralized governance systems that anchor power more at the regional and local levels, without concentrating assets and arms in the hands of central governments that have often abused that power in modern Arab states.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Columnist/2014/Sep-10/270133-why-arent-arab-states-more-like-individuals.ashx#ixzz3CzjoWi1v
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Categories: Arab World, Asia

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