The Human Fraternity Document, signed in Abu Dhabi in 2019, calls for promoting a set of human values such as tolerance, rejection of hatred and acceptance of others irrespective of religion and beliefs, protection of places of worship, rejection of terrorism, protection of children and the elderly, ensuring women’s rights, promoting cultural exchange and dialogue of culture.
Yet, the economic aspects of this historic document are no less important, as they come together into a harmonious whole. The humane aspect of this charter also support economic relations, which in turn increases interdependence between nations and its peoples and gradually reducing tensions and conflicts of all forms.
History has taught us that stability of relations and respect of others are the most important foundations of economic and social development. Engaging in direct or indirect assault on others, attempting to impose one’s beliefs on them, and forfeiting their rights lead to severe economic damage for all.
This always leads to failure and this is what exactly happens during global, regional and civil wars. For example, the Iran-Iraqi war, which lasted eight years because of Iran’s attempts to impose new sectarian agendas, resulted in the complete destruction of their economies. To date, they are suffering the aftermath of that painful war.
Moving to Lebanon, the 15-year civil war affected the Lebanese economy along with its basic social structure, and ever since, Lebanon has not been able to get out of that swamp. Things are still getting worse due to attempts by a certain party to impose its agenda on others, more so as the so-called Arab Spring gave room for the devastation of four Arab countries that were stable and making progress in their development march.
Events taking place in the region since 1979 have significantly fueled the deterioration of economic relations and mutual cooperation, and caused huge losses that are still accumulating as a result of attempts to impose sectarian agendas and seeking to build weapons of mass destruction.
No end to this
This will undoubtedly lead to a costly arms race, without learning lessons from the Cold War between the two former giants, the US and the Soviet Union, which resulted in no gains and cost their economies dearly. Those funds could well have been employed for more development and eliminating unemployment.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Iran was a top destination for Gulf tourists, generating hundreds of millions of dollars to the Iranian economy. The economic cooperation too was at its peak, but all this has gone down the drain after the Iranian revolution.
Implement in word and deed
If we correctly fathom what is meant by the Human Fraternity Document signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh of Al Azhar Al Sharif, and implement it sincerely, we will see radical change taking place in relations between countries involved in different conflicts. Resources will be channeled into development and improvement in people’s living standards.
It will also help create more jobs and eliminate economic backwardness. This document can be adopted by various peoples and governments the same way it was embraced by the United Nations, which dedicated February 4 of every year as an International Day of Human Fraternity to celebrate the occasion and honor prize winners.
It is necessary to comprehend its components with rationality, tolerance, and optimism about the future, and leaving behind the past and its painful events. The humanitarian goals contained in this document - when it happens - would definitely help build a more stable world dominated by the spirit of tolerance.
- Mohammed Al Asoomi is a specialist in energy and Gulf economic affairs.