The world today finds itself before an excitingly unpredictable future which holds tantalizing promises beyond what we can hope to foresee, said the Prime Minister of Egypt, H.E. Eng. Ibrahim Mahlab, while delivering the keynote address to the Arab Media Forum in Dubai today.
He thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, saying it was “a joy to be in Dubai”.
He said Dubai has, “through the tireless labours of its sons and daughters and the visionary policies of its leaders, evolved to become a true crossroads of culture and civilization, a tourist haven, and a center of commerce and trade,” in the world today.
H.E. Mahlab described the Arab Media Forum as “one of the most important gatherings in the world for journalists, politicians, and intellectuals to reflect on the intricacies of the present and contemplate what awaits on the horizon”.
Reflecting on the state of the world, the Egyptian Prime Minister said ever-evolving and unstoppable changes and transformations have come to define our moment in history.
“I am sure that you would agree with me in saying that ours is truly a new world, a world in which humanity itself is being redefined, dwarfing all other ages of change development.
“We find ourselves before an excitingly unpredictable future which holds tantalizing promises beyond what we can hope to foresee, a future in which every hour and every minute carries the capacity to astound and defy all expectations.
Arc of History
Speaking about the pace of change, H.E. Mahlab said “today, the arc of history has outstripped the pace of our fervent dreams, as this age conquers our fantasies and bursts through the very limits of our imaginations.
He pointed out that it took Britain 150 years to double its production. It took Germany 60 years to achieve the same feat, and the United States only 30 years. It took China a mere 15 years. This compels us to wonder: What will be next? How much faster can the wheels of progress spin?
“We find ourselves witnessing a revolution in technology and information which continues to shape and mould our world even as we struggle to keep up with it,” the Egyptian Premier said.
“The older generations witnessed the birth of the Egyptian radio in the 1930s. My generation saw the launching of the Egyptian television in the 1960s. Today, we watch as new television channels, newspapers, websites and radio broadcasts emerge every day, not to mention online accounts and pages.
“In 2010, there were 700 Arab satellite channels, 34 of them news channels. After only three years, there are now 1,320 channels including 66 news channels.
“This expansion is only overshadowed by the state of constant revolution in which the internet exists. Today, roughly half of the world’s population revels in exploring the bottomless depths of the global network, taking in the myriad Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and Instagram images, and navigating the endless streams of Youtube videos, only a quarter of a century after the sparsely-populated internet housed but one single page,” H.E. Mahlab pointed out.
He said electronic media is now among the central aspects of daily life. In some countries its advertisements reach tens of billions of dollars in value, and recently an electronic publication was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.
“This does not, however, make printed media any less relevant. Despite the closure of many newspapers and magazines or their conversion into exclusively electronic publications, global circulation for printed publications reaches approximately 400 million every day.”
Information Revolution & Arab Spring
The Egypt Prime Minister said that the information revolution was a significant factor in the Arab Spring, a major wave of which Egypt underwent on the 25th of January, 2011.
“Millions of Egyptians took to the streets, striving towards the foundation of a new Egypt embodying their hopes. They found disappointment and despair, however, as the hateful forces of extremism forcefully took their dreams, their hope, and very nearly their future.
“It was then that the bright light of hope was triumphantly reclaimed by the people of Egypt, who displayed historic courage and determination by filling the streets in unprecedented numbers during the revolution of June 30, 2013.
“The Egyptian people stood defiant in the face of an insidious war of psychological attrition waged against their national identity, and they emphatically reaffirmed their character as a people who are religious but moderate, a people whose resolve can never be broken and who will never accept regression and darkness to be forced upon them.
“I fully comprehend my country’s exceptional place in history, and I fully comprehend the civilization stature of all of the Arab peoples across the entire Arab world. I also appreciate the global message of Islam graciously carried by more than 1.5 billion Muslims from Jakarta to Casablanca.
Moderation the Anchor
“It is our belief as Egyptians, that moderation has been the anchor of history, and that tolerance, nobility, and righteous means have always constituted the essence of Egypt’s character,” H.E. Mahlab said.
He said Egypt has gone through extremely difficult times. “We appreciate those who stood by our side. The media was always there in these tough times, enlightening people and conveying messages of hope, with a mixed record of errors and success of course. But I still hope that it will continue to play its role as we move from revolution to state, from destruction to construction.
“The future will not be built by economic power alone. Values, ethics, religion, love and tolerance are no less important for a brighter future,” the Egyptian Premier concluded.