[Administrator's Note: Octavia is now writing articles for An-Nahar Newspaper each Monday and we will provide them here after they are printed.]
I’m happy and proud of the people who imposed change in Tunisia and Egypt. It’s truly a dream come true to witness this wave of Arab revolutions and uprisings sweep the region. However, I worry about the next crucial steps in building democratic and sustainable nations to live up to the dreams and aspirations of the youth that risked a lot to achieve freedom and equality with the rest of the world.
I also worry about the other struggles going on right now and the ones that have yet to erupt. Revolutionaries in Libya facing the wrath of a Colonel who’s unable to relinquish power. Young people braving censors and violence in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen. Jordanians demanding reform with voices that keep getting louder by the day.
As the region goes through this Arab awakening with much excitement and anticipation, now is the time to wait for the true Arab Spring to arrive.
It will be here..
When we encourage people to think for themselves and express themselves freely without jail threat, persecution or harassment.
When we encourage a free flow of information and independent media that question governments and hold officials accountable.
When we treat everyone but especially migrant workers with dignity and protect and defend their basic human rights as we defend our own.
When we don’t look down or talk down to others because they belong to another religion, race, color or sexual orientation.
When we start earning a reputation with hard work instead of bluntly buying one or bribing our way into one.
When Arab nations start boasting about who has the most graduates, most inventions or most published books instead of who has the tallest buildings, largest stadiums or biggest Hummus plate.
When our business ethics equal our word of honor.
When reform means realizing we’re part of the problem and stepping out of the way instead of surrounding ourselves with cheerleaders and promoting ourselves further.
When we hire qualified people instead of family members or friends because they’re the only people we trust.
When we stop clapping and cheering for leaders even when they’re the worst around.
I join you in savoring and celebrating the revolutions and their heroes. But let’s not forget that we have a lot of work to do and a major responsibility to provide the world with a true image of who we are, and what we stand for.
The Arab Spring will be here when we choose to work hard, succeed and be a beacon of inspiration to others. It will be an Arab Spring when we raise curious educated generations who are free to express themselves and their ideas with confidence that their future is bright and full of opportunities.
View this column in Arabic
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