Abu Dhabi: Thanks to the wisdom of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE represents a positive example of an Arab nation that respects the rights and freedoms of its people, a scholar said during a lecture held on Wednesday.
Dr Saad Eddin Ebrahim, Professor of Political Sociology, American University in Cairo, was invited to deliver the talk at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies (ECSSR), with the discussion centred on issues such as democracy in the Arab world.
According to Dr Ebrahim, the aspirations of Arab world are no different than any other part of the world, with the people of the region yearning for their rights to be respected. “Arabs are not an exception, they want freedom and the right [for] self-determination in their countries, despite what some orientalists in the West have argued, [saying] that the Arabs are unfit or incapable of democracy and freedom,” he said.
The UAE is a perfect example of this, he argued: “The UAE is a country with diversity and plurality. When I arrived here I was very happy to learn that the Federal National Council elections were taking place, with candidates having the opportunity to run for political office,” he said.
“I found men, women, and the elderly all taking part and casting their votes for their chosen candidate. So this is a very good example that shows that Arabs are indeed capable of democracy; the UAE has a very good democratic system. Those who argue that the Arab world is incapable of democracy should visit the UAE,” he added.
Dr Ebrahim also praised the high number of female candidates who took part in the FNC elections, and said the UAE is a country that greatly respects the role of its female citizens.
In his closing remarks, he encouraged talks and lectures to be held across the Arab world to highlight the example of the UAE, and what other Arabs can learn from its experience.