I renew my faith that knowledge and progress will light our way toward the future.
I reiterate my conviction that terrorism will not shake this faith. Once again, I call out
for a civilized challenge to the fundamentalism that has sprung up in the name of
religion. Anything that preaches hate and backwardness is not religion.
There is no need for further debate about this.
Had it not been for my deep faith in the initiative that is TAKREEM, I could not and
would not have brought the determination and hope of the last seven years to its
TAKREEM was born as a step on the path towards enlightenment in the Arab world.
Its aim is to insure that in the midst of our agony, we can survive, produce and move
on. We embrace creativity, freedom of thought, human rights, entrepreneurship,
advanced technology, gender equity and the potential of Arab youth. By inspiring
these young people, we also tell the world that we Arabs are doers.
It is time to cease the repetition of the massacres all over, to say enough is enough
when we see broken families, tearful mothers, orphan children, desperate refugees
and displaced persons…to give the whole world a better image of the Arab world…
We are 350 million Arabs. These numbers are powerful but we must be realistic. As we
reflect on the state of affairs across the Arab world, what do we see?
Divided, individualistic, war ravaged, badly perceived by outsiders, lacking any
effective lobbying, in brief, weak and troubled.
“If I had a home, I would say that the nation has no aim but the service of man.”
I borrow these words from Mahmoud Darwish to describe our reality. The Arab
diaspora is large and growing – beyond the longstanding Palestinian travesty to the
migration from and in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. I fear that another Darwish comes
along to describe the reality by saying: “If only I had a country …”
I welcome all of you to the land of civilizations and prophets, a land protected by God,
to whom the iconic Fairouz sung:
“O Egypt, will you recall your past, conveyor of justice and adherence
Your present proudly entails domes lured by domes
You are the cradle of vibrant civilizations gifted with glory
They engraved their stories in your rocks, rocks which generated books
O modern people of Egypt, tomorrow will watch you heading for the Sun”
Let our achievers reflect the face of our countries.
Let our homelands nurture youthful dreams and ambitions.
Let our homelands support creative interaction.
Let our nations be lands of opportunity and prosperity.
Let our primary goal be to serve humankind.