Sajid Javid was appointed home secretary a few days ago in the UK. Javid is the child of immigrants from Pakistan who landed in Britain in 1960 – of course a Muslim family. His father worked as a bus driver in Bristol and the family lived in a modest two-bedroom flat for most of his youth. But despite his humble beginnings, British Prime Minister Teresa May chose him to serve as home secretary (sort of like the interior minister in the Arab world) – not a small position. Of course, Javid is a highly-qualified young man. He served as an investment banker and held several high positions in the government, including as a parliamentary and cabinet minister.
I was laughing when I heard about his appointment, and I thought how people in the Arab states would be able rise to such a high position if their parents had been immigrants who arrived even as far back as 100 years previously. Everyone will be mocking, saying: What’s this wafed holding this position? Are there no original nationals worthy of this position? Does it have to be given to a newcomer whose father was a bus driver?
I didn’t see one article in the British press or one WhatsApp or one social media message on Instagram or Snapchat or Facebook, etc, etc mocking or criticizing Ms May for her choice. This is pure democracy, guys. And this is how countries advance on all levels. First you have to advance in your mentality, in your head, in your culture, in your education and in your behavior. Then you have to respect and honor merit over wasta or connections.
This is why the Arab world continues to stagnate and we are still importing from A to Z from outside. There isn’t a country among us which has developed significant new technologies, let alone old ones like cars. Even the needles we sew our clothes with are made outside, be it China, Turkey or the US. Forget airplanes, cars, industries, medical equipment, medicines, manufacturing, etc. I’m not talking about things we’ve licensed and replicate like simple mathematics. I’m talking about what we innovate or rather don’t innovate.
You see guys what’s the reason. Sit nicely in your home and think wisely and think without racism or without grudges and ask yourself: Am I lying? Am I exaggerating? Or being unrealistic? Or just want to criticize? It is sad, I tell you, the situation we in the Arab world are in. I hope the younger generations will comprehend life better and figure out a way to develop us beyond this stagnant situation.
We have all the potential to do far better than the West, and most of all we have our guiding light from our Prophet (PBUH) and Islam. But we need a new mindset and a new way of doing things.
Have a good day. And congratulations to Mr Javid!
By Badriya Darwish