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INTEGRAL NAVIGATION: THE POTENTIAL OF THE ARAB SPRING

Egypt is the gift of the Nile and the gift of Egyptians to humanity. Blessed with a unique location and history, the Arab nation of Egypt is the heart of the whole world. It is the meeting point of its civilizations and cultures and the crossroads of its maritime transportation and communications. It is the tip of Africa on the Mediterranean and the estuary of its greatest river: the Nile. This is Egypt, an immortal homeland to Egyptians, and a message of peace and love to all peoples. In the beginning of history, the dawn of human conscience rose and shone forth in the hearts of our great ancestors, uniting their good intention to build the first central state that regulated and organized the life of Egyptians on the banks of the Nile. It is where they created the most amazing wonders of civilization, and where their hearts looked up to the heavens before earth knew the three revealed religions. Egypt is the cradle of religions and the banner of glory of the revealed religions. On its land, Moses grew up, the light of God appeared, and the message descended on Mount Sinai. On its land, Egyptians welcomed Virgin Mary and her baby and offered up thousands of martyrs in defense of the Church of Jesus. When the Seal of the Messengers Mohamed (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) was sent to all mankind to perfect the sublime morals, our hearts and minds were opened to the light of Islam. We were the best soldiers on Earth to fight for the cause of God, and we disseminated the message of truth and religious sciences across the world. This is Egypt; a homeland that we live in as much as it lives in us.

Preamble of the new Egyptian Constitution (2014) (1)

INTRODUCTION

ISLAM, HARMONICS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The previous two chapters have established an Islamic "middle grounding", through a re-reading of the Qur'an, and thereafter the more deeply, and broadly based, Harmonic emergence – the latter drawing on the "grammar of harmony" reaching across from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the medieval Arab world as well as to modern Europe and America. Such harmonics are associated today, for Prince Charles at least, with a new approach to sustainable development. The question then is, from our centred perspective, what have the uprisings in the Arab World got to do with this all, if anything?

To address this question, we look back into Egypt's history before we recapitulate the events of the Egyptian revolution that may lead to a new chapter in history for the country and for the region and even the world. In part, we draw on the most renowned Egyptian political scientist, and development economist, Samir Amin (he is actually half-Egyptian, half-French, and currently resides in Senegal) that is on his most recent book: The People's Spring: The Future of the Arab Revolution. We also draw on direct opinions and insights from local people, as well as upon historical and current facts to round up the picture of current reality. Thereafter, taking a more global, as well as local orientation, we position such an "Arab Spring" in the more integral context – incorporating nature, culture, society and politics, and economy – as a means of navigation that is in Islamic tune with the kind of sustainable development to which the previous chapter alluded.

BEYOND WESTERNIZATION AND ISLAMIZATION

If the challenge faced by the Arab people in general today is to be met, Amin (2) maintains from the outset, it is necessary to abandon, once and for all what he terms backward looking illusions, that is, the whole perspective of the “Islamization of society and politics". This does not mean, he emphasizes, rallying to the shoddy goods of "Westernization", which can be perfectly compatible with "Islamization", but rather it means a liberation of the inventive capacities of the Arab people. Indeed we would call such, a release of GENE-ius. This is necessary if they are going to become active agents in shaping the future with and alongside other peoples struggling against dominant capitalism/ imperialism. Moreover, in at least the Egyptian case, we would need to add Ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean European capacities, to those of the Muslim and Christian (Coptic) Arab because historically Egypt has been the meeting point of these civilizations. We concentrate on Egypt because it has always played a leading role in the Middle East, and many Arab countries are watching very carefully because Egypt's destiny affects the whole region due to its large population, central geographic position and strong military.

 
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