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Arab nations and the false hope syndrome

Arab nations and the false hope syndrome

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Thursday 24 February 202201:10 pm

Huge efforts were made recently to rescue a little 5 years old Moroccan boy, sadly the boy died at the end. Rayan fell in a 32 meters narrow well. He remained there for almost 5 days. Tens of thousands of people around the Arab world were praying for his safety, the boy succeeded in uniting hearts, where all governments have failed.

The rescue operation was very difficult, workers kept digging around the clock, by bulldozer and by hands, a rescue tunnel to reach the little boy. They sent him oxygen and water as well. The fear that the walls of the well may collapse on Rayan because of the soil sandy nature made the situation much worse. The workers bulldozed first a vertical trench parallel to the well, and then they tunnelled horizontally from the trench toward the bottom of the well. They had to turn around when they hit a barrier of solid rock. A medical helicopter was waiting to get him to the hospital.

According to a statement by the Moroccan Royal Court “it was the Almighty’s will,” the statement stated that Rayan had died. This statement in itself makes me wonder, was it God's will? Or was it recklessness and gross negligence?

According to a statement by the Moroccan Royal Court “it was the Almighty’s will,” the statement stated that Rayan died. This statement in itself makes me wonder, was it God's will? Or was it recklessness and gross negligence?

The child was from a small village called Ajran on the outskirts of the northern Moroccan city, Chefchaouen. A multidimensional poverty study, in 2014, showed that Chefchaouen is one of the ten poorest regions in Morocco. Ajran lacks access to basic human needs and services such as water, electricity, roads, health care and educational facilities. The uneducated poor child did not attend school, according to his grandfather.

People are forced in such places to dig their own wells due to lack of access to clean water. Rayan’s father owned this well. He told the reporters previously that he had been in the process of fixing the well when Rayan fell in. No one had realized the disappearance of Rayan at first. The whole family searched for the child when they realised he was missing. Locals joined the search process without any progress.

Last month, nine children in Egypt died in a car accident in the Nile River. The children, the oldest of whom was 15, left their homes in a village in the Menoufia to work to provide for their families because of their difficult circumstances. The children worked as labour on desert road farms to collect fruit and vegetables. Egypt suffers from the worst forms of child labour, “Including in commercial sexual exploitation, sometimes as a result of human trafficking, and in quarrying limestone,” according to US department of labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs.

So to make matters even more difficult, the body of a 13-year-old girl, Shorouk, one of the nine victims, was missing for a week. Her mother was sitting on the bank of the river daily waiting for her body to show, after the rest of other victims’ bodies were recovered. The girl was working for 50 Egyptian pounds (LE) per day (less than $4). Poor children are leaving schools at this age to work for a few pounds. Thousands of people were angry and bid her farewell in a huge funeral. However, a desperate attempt by Egypt’s government to save face was made to disburse LE 120,000 (about $7,500) as financial compensation to the victims’ families, while Hayat Karima initiative for rural development decided to disburse LE20,000 (about $1200) for each victim as well.

Ironically, this car accident happened simultaneously with the entertainment show “The magician” that was attended by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and senior officials in Egypt at Sharm El-Sheikh Forum.

In all cases, our hearts keep struggling in hope. We wanted to believe that miracles still could happen. This is what psychology scientists call the false hope syndrome. This syndrome happens when you have unrealistic expectations and goals of self-change and persisting in repeating yourself over and over again. Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. We keep doing the same mistakes repeatedly, believing in the same governments, expecting miracles to happen.

We wanted to believe that miracles still could happen. This is what psychology scientists call the false hope syndrome. This syndrome happens when you have unrealistic expectations and goals of self-change and persisting in repeating yourself over and over again

It is time to learn to distinguish between potentially feasible and infeasible change that could happen while using the same techniques in order to avoid false hope, and eventually to failure and distress. Rayan and Shorouk united our hearts in hope, later our hearts were broken and united in grief.

We all have the right to life. We are all born free and equal, worth the same, and have the same rights. We have the right to live, to be free, and to feel safe. We all have the right to have our basic needs, and should have whatever it takes to live proud, and become who we want to be. Our governments should do everything they possibly can to make this happen. This is human rights all over the world. For how long in our countries will we keep wondering about these rights?

We need to fight back against discrimination, and uphold justice, even at this most difficult times. As Dale Carnegie once said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all”.


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