Prince Hassan Bin Talal
This is a message for the nation, for every nation, especially the
academics and intellectuals who bridge the gap between thought and action,
between “ruler and people.” The Arab ideological discourse and the
international human discourse, with objectivity and without bias are for the
public interest. You are the soul and conscience of the nation. You are one
of its bright aspects, who work to show the moderate identity of the nation.
The moderate, reasonable and rational method is our only way to gather
through the interaction and mobilization of our potential. It is our goal to
function as a tribune to enhance democracy and plurality and prevent the
confessional, sectarianism and regional divide, through respecting the other
and the deep-seated differences of public interest and keeping away the
personal agendas. It is our method to gather under the regional and
international common points in order to meet the human values and increase
the respect between Arabs and Muslims.
The moderate and rational tribune calls for settling disputes and
conflicts. It also calls to ameliorate humanity by respecting individuals’
pride, rights, value, interest, welfare and capacity. It exhorts cooperation
with civil society and its institutions and to settle the internal situation
to promote the nation's unity. The nation is a cross regional concept.
The moderate reasonable and rational tribune keeps us away from
divisions. It gathers potential in order to face the challenges and crises
facing the nation: retardation of development, division, unemployment,
poverty, ignorance, unequal distribution of human and natural resources,
especially water and energy, the absence of reference, the occupation of
Palestine, the catastrophe of Iraq and even increasing radicalism.
Statistics are a telling example: the second UNDP report on Arab Human
Development shows that Arabs, who constitute 5% of the world population,
produce far less than 1% of the world's books and print only 53 daily
newspaper copies for every one thousand people, as opposed to 285 copies in
the developed world! In addition, 40% of Muslims live under the poverty line
while wealthy Muslims maintain 1.3 trillion dollars in American banks.
More important is the situation of the Arab and Muslim citizen who is
suffering oppression, frustration, humiliation and internal defeat. These
are some of the thousands of daily frustrations we face.
Millions of Arab children need education, preventive health services and
a quality of life that includes the feeling of the joy of life and the light
of knowledge. Before anything else, they need to feel they are respected and
can enjoy their basic human rights. In addition, while the youth of today
will remain the hope of the future, they are still suffering from
unemployment, emptiness and fear.
When the crises become even sharper, the biggest challenge occurs; that
is to work in the worse circumstances. Isn't it time for our souls to rebel?
Isn't it time for us to adopt moderate and rational ideas from our Arab and
Islamic culture, where common points are enhanced not only between us and
other cultures but amongst ourselves as well? Isn't it time to build our
society and adopt dialogue as a means to avoid conflicts?
What is the role of civil society? The constitution of Al Madina Munawara
is based on a group of civil laws and a detailed plan for Islamic plurality
in addition to rules for other communities so they can live peacefully and
equally. Isn't it time for us to get inspired by this great heritage in
order to establish an Arab and Muslim constitution?
From this tribune, I am calling for a popular, moderate trend established
by every one who believes in moderate, reasonable and rational thought. It
is a trend to the enlightenment of the individual and collective potential.
It is more than a trend. It is a popular movement that brings people
together, addresses the Arab and Islamic thought and assures that the public
interest is the objective of the regime. It is a sort of general assembly
for the citizens that finances itself, includes benevolent people and is
formed of a network of individual and civil organizations that works on
building a civil society on the basis of equality regardless of the
The following are the pillars of this popular, moderate, reasonable and
- Plurality, i.e., enhancing the common points and respecting
- The culture of participation.
- The sovereignty of citizens through giving them powers.
- A constitution for the duties and rights of the Arab citizen in
addition to meeting the other communities within the concept of the
- Enhancing civil society.
- The participation in charitable actions.
- Reviving the international and regional constitutions and documents
and modernizing them when needed.
- No violence or radicalism!
- Shifting from revenge to influence.
- Always looking towards the future.
I have called several times for an international movement biased to peace
and a culture of peace. Yes! We have always called for impartiality but it
is time to change the method and work on the peoples' peace, and a fair and
comprehensive peace by launching an economic and social Roadmap based on the
pride and needs of humanity.
Such an international movement would not succeed unless it is accompanied
by a moderate movement away from any sort of radicalism. Our moderate
movement would be a part of the international moderate movement.
So let's start working because we barely have time.
Source: Al-Hayat December 22, 2003