Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!

Sheiks and Generals, Ambassadors and Ministers, filled the hall at the opening of the conference this morning.  I felt a little like Alice looking down the Golden Brick road at the cadre of guests, speakers, and dignitaries at the Doha Forum.  Reverence Jesse Jackson arrived to a rising chorus of excitement and camera flashes.  Handshakes, and kisses, and nose rubs were exchanged as His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jabr Al Thani and   H.H. Heir Apparent, Tamin Bin Hamad Al Thani arrived.

Then it begins.  The Doha Forum, touted as the "world's foremost forum on democracy" opened with H.E. Sheikh Al Thani's statement that "human rights is borne of all religions" and that for the past 5 months, we have been "witnessing the popular revolutions for individual and national dignity, for individual freedom, and for individual security."  "A new player in Arab public opinion" has been heard -- that of the Arab people.  And it is up to the people to "transcend the fear" of change and push forward.

Item Thumbnail
Rev. Jesse Jackson & H.E. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani
Reverend Jesse Jackson reminded the audience that despite the many implementations of the term, 'democracy,' it has but one meaning, "of, by, and for the people."  The Arab awakening of the past five months has been termed the "Arab Spring." But unlike the Prague Spring of 1968, where the Czechoslovakians were forced to endure another 30 years of repression and disappointment, the Arab community, and indeed the world, needs to reach out and support the people in their struggle for their human rights: individual freedom, human dignity, jobs, health care, and education.

So the Doha Forum began.  It will take me days, if not weeks, to absorb and integrate today's information into a more cohesive understanding of events and how they apply to trade, but the second day is now beginning....

No comments:

Post a Comment