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Amin Maalouf, world-renowned scholar and book author, said the coronavirus pandemic gives the world a golden opportunity to think of solutions on how to get out of a predicament in a very rough moment.
In his The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature session entitled Adrift: How Our World Lost Its Way, his timely-released book on upheavals in the Middle East, a global pandemic and economic recessions, Maalouf said: ” We are going through a very difficult moment and because of that we have to think of how to get out of the predicament. It is a good start to look at the future.”
Though the audience felt the title Adrift: How Our World Lost Its Way stirs despair, Maalouf insisted that it is a sign of optimism to look into solutions, stressing that Middle East people, who once lacked confidence, should now be confident as they belong to great civilizations coupled with accumulated experience and becoming global. “They are capable of building now.”
For Maalouf, Covid-19 was not a surprise. He added: “The world was going on the wrong track and humanity was going the wrong way. We could have organized life but didn’t do so properly. Corona is not a surprise, it is like icebergs that the Titanic faced.”
Now, the world is going through threats to humankind with division at the heart of its adversity. Globalisation assembled people together in a world forum but it did not bring them together. “It made us look at what differentiates us from the people sitting beside us. We all look like each other, we have the same visions, aspirations and instruments but at the same time we want to think we are different.
” Many people are also incapable of seeing themselves as multiple identity humans who can help create wider humans, said Maalouf, citing the example of immigrants who force their customs on their children rather than teach them to adapt. “We were impacted by science but we were unable to cope with this evolution, so we protected ourselves by going back to our grandfathers.”
The audience also felt Maalouf actually mimicked the recent racial incidents which happened under the administration of former US President Donald Trump, in one of his 1990 books that discussed mistrust between government and authority, local and international. To this Maalouf said: ” The US went through very strange years and many previous administrations were aware of what was happening but did not do anything. Of course, there were racial problems in the US and I do not know how was this left to deteriorate to this level”, while predicting long years of struggle between the rising power China, and the US, the sitting power.