following appeared in the Jordan Times Newspaper
By Daoud Kuttab
A quick survey of the success of Arabs at the Olympic Games shows an important phenomenon. With the exception of the bronze won by the Saudi equestrian jumping team in the 2012 London games, none of the nearly 100 medals won by Arab countries represents a team sport.
Some of the Arab individual medal winners include athletes like Taoufik Makhlouf, 2012 gold winner of the 1,500-m race, Syria’s Ghada Shouaa, who won the 1996 heptathlon in Atlanta and Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj, who won gold in the 1,500-m and 5,000-m races in the 2004 games in Athens.
In the World Cup, the best that Arab countries have done is to reach the 16th round before faltering.
Winning individual medals takes a lot of effort and dedication, but winning a team sport requires added sense of cooperation, sacrifice and selflessness.
Our failure at successful teamwork is not limited to sports.
We excel in family businesses, but do poorly in the corporate world.
Family businesses make up over 85 per cent of the whole Arab world’s non-oil GDP, according to the Emirati 24/7 publication.
Some of our successful companies are doing well because of a certain individual or family at its head.
Public libraries in the Arab world are like haunted houses. Arabs who boasted about the Alexandria Library have abandoned the public sphere or book sharing and book exchange habit, with most of our intellectuals having huge libraries in their homes but not bothering to bestow their book collections to any public institute, often resulting in the trashing or even burning of these books. Continue Reading »