Tunisian opinions on delay of Arab Summit

Tunis postponed the two-day Arab summit due to start Monday 29th saying some countries rejected its proposals for democratic reforms. The foreign minister said his country regarded those issues as “non-negotiable.”

Tunisia’s decision has been hailed by its intellectuals as “the right move,” saying it was aimed to force other countries to seriously consider popular calls for democratic reforms.

It is time the Arab League took radical steps to get the Arabs out of their “miserable situations” by introducing genuine reforms, said academician Mohammed bin Omar.

“The reforms should include political plurality, promotion of women’s rights and encouraging scientific research,” he said at a forum held a day after Tunisia postponed the summit.

“The Tunisian decision came at the right time,” Omar said, adding that it would help “shake the current status quo,” and “launch serious debate over the necessity of urgent reforms” in the Arab public opinion.

“Someone should have had the courage to do that a long time ago,” said Mustpha Madani, another university professor.

“But unfortunately the Arabs disappointed us. They seem to like things the way they are,” he added, saying time will “prove Tunisia was right.”

It is now for the Arab “masses” to hold their leaders accountable for rejecting the Tunisian proposals, he said.

Poet Abdul Salam Lasaileh said he was “not surprised” by the summit suspension. “If the last 50 years have taught us anything, it is that the Arabs will never agree on anything,” he added bitterly.

“Honestly, I will not lose any sleep over it. I was certain that one day the Arabs would expose their real selves to the world – a divided and spineless nation,” he added.

Tunis “succeeded twice,” said literature critic Sahbi bin Mansour. The first time when it succeeded in hosting the 22 delegations in the run up to the aborted summit, he added.

“And the second time when it put on the table a real plan that would take us all into the 21st century on equal footing with other nations of the world,” he said.

When the Arab leaders have “something worthwhile” to do, “they are welcome in Tunis anytime”, said Mansour.

“Let’s be frank,” said poet Jelaidi Ouieni, “I am glad the government didn’t want to be part of the usual charade that is called the Arab summit.”

[Source: Gulf News]