As the boat broke through the waves linking the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, I went up to the top deck to marvel Gibraltar. The mountain rock that is Europe's southern edge, on the very edge of which, a huge white minaret stands today.
|Jebel Musa - this is Africa!|
Travels through Andalusia, Portugal and Morocco have shown me an extent of how civilisations really influenced one another, Arabs, Africans, Europeans, Latin Americans, they all have had a stake at building these lands. They've always exchanged knowledge and goods, through colonisation, through trade, through travels, through war, peace and love.
However, today, in a fortress world, the old beacons of prosperity in Europe and North Africa are now exchanged with post-modern, consumerist societies in unjustly banked systems, societies of human-bots under growing surveillance. Yet the future is not beyond hope: emotional intelligence will always defeat IQs and artificial intelligence.
|Alhambra - Granada. A beacon of co-existence during the Islamic|
Empire days in Andalusia.
Before heading to Andalusia, Portugal and Morocco I have been earlier in Jordan and Egypt, carefully witnessing a subtle transformation from authoritarianism to democracy. From Cairo's Tahrir Square, to Amman's coffee houses, to the Medinas and Casbahs of Fez, Tetuan and Tanger, there's an unbreakable urge to re-establish prosperous societies, like the ones Arabs, Moors and Spaniards had in Cordoba and Granada.
The real revolution is happening in the minds of these people, not only in the political circles nor at the voting centres. For the first time ever, during my whole 30 years of growing up in the region and revisiting it often since I moved to Sweden in 2005, there's an abundance of new air around the people of Jordan, Egypt and Morocco - and I can only imagine what it is like in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere in the region.
|Friday Muslim prayers at Tahrir square.|
|Arab spring in Tetuan, Morocco|
The rise of the Islamists is nothing to be too wary off. In the midst of this huge bazaar of ideas, discussions, and with all the feelings that are finally being let out after decades of oppression - the Islamists came out as the only organised former opposition parties - and they are voted in to take command in the haste of having to re-establish order in these societies, which do have deeper roots in Islam than in any other ideological matrix.
The Islamic parties will now have to think in technocratic terms. They will soon have to drift away from discussing sin to think about GDP and GNP, about resources, about climate change, and about trade and welfare. Their success or failure to lead these societies towards the long aspired destination is intensively monitored and scrutinised in social circles, on social media, in traditional media, mosques, and other forums - and they know it, they feel the pressure, and will eventually leave the talk of morality and get into business. They will have to neutralise, or fail.
|Dana village, Jordan. Coca cola knows more|
about non-judgemental global investment than
most politicians today.
The western industrialised world will soon trap itself in a protectionist fortress with high walls, unless it can keep up with the changes in this region and others. China and India are already rising, and the revolutionary fever is breaking through Africa, Latin America, and is even echoing within the fortress west itself. The real challenge ahead is to not to regress into discussions on morality (which entails superiority) but rather not to be judgemental of global changes, and invest in an sustainable manner.
Globalisation is unstoppable, but to reap its real benefits, we will have to move beyond thinking in national terms. Approaching the 2020s, we will have to think more in planetary terms. And in order to do so, we have to invest in forces that align societies together and create wide-spread order based on self-determination.
We need to recreate our societies to allow everyone an equal chance to prosperity, like they did in Andalusia, like they do in many modern nations and other nations of old.
For a closer understanding of the real values and opportunities created by the Arab Spring, watch the Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakol Kurman address these issues during a recent seminar in Stockholm, Sweden. I am helping her with interpretation. Watch the video here: http://urplay.se/167868.