When the Heir Apparent, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, addressed a conference on ‘Geostrategic Changes within the Context of Arab Revolutions’ in Doha last month, he had a clear message.
He stressed that turning external support for revolutions into intervention in the affairs of the countries where revolutions had taken place was against the will of the people. The real power lay with the people, he said.
He said that after the emergence of the man on the street as a determining factor, Arab politics had become more independent and autonomous, more oriented towards the achievement of justice and adherence to international conventions.
When Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani spoke to Al Jazeera channel last week, he had almost the same clear message, particularly about Egypt. He said Qatar only wanted Egypt to be strong again.
“Egypt is the largest Arab country,” the Prime Minister said. “If Egypt is strong, all other Arabs will be equally strong.”
He said Qatar did not take sides with either the opposition or the government in Egypt because this was purely an Egyptian issue. He added that it was up to Egyptians to choose the political system they wanted and the government they wanted. “Qatar only supports the choices of the people,” he said. “It supports Egypt and its people.”
Despite all this, some columnists in Arab newspapers still talk about a bid by Qatar to manipulate Egypt, glossing over facts about Qatar’s clear-cut regional policies. Qatar stands by the Egyptian people and their government because it always supports stability in the Arab world.
It is necessary for us intellectuals and writers to read history well and understand politics better. We need to understand the will of the people, even if we have political differences. We need to fully understand that sovereignty lies with people who have the final say in everything.
Qatar, a small country in size, does not stand to benefit from supporting one party against another, knowing that it is the people who decide in a post-revolution Egypt.
In Qatar, we are only interested in seeing Egypt become stronger like before, regardless of whether we have political differences with the current Egyptian government or not. We are only interested in seeing the Egyptian people join hands so that they can overcome the current economic hardships. History teaches us that economic hardship always sparks revolutions and fuels their continuity.
Countries of the Arab Spring have to learn a lesson from Afghanistan, where various militias are fighting against each other but all of them believe that “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed (PBUH) is the Prophet of Allah”. Many innocent lives were lost in this conflict. Then came Al Qaeda with its radical brand of Islam to solve Afghanistan’s problems, but instead of solving them, they took the country decades back to the times of darkness, poverty and backwardness.
Arab intellectuals and writers have to understand that conflicts and instability disappoint people fast. The resulting desperation might encourage people to reinstate tyranny in a bid to replace what is worse with what is worst.