My very very late posting of the Akhbar article that Laila kindly translated (thanks and sorry Laila)
The International Travel Fair is being held in London this week. It is dedicated to tourism, with international travel companies exhibiting their new wares and countries competing to attract tourists from all over the world.
This year, the Arab Spring had its corner in the fair. One of its sessions brought together the private and government sectors to discuss the ramifications of the Arab uprisings on a sector that is now a major source of income for a number of countries in the Middle East. This particularly applies to Egypt and Tunisia, where tourism is 12% of the national income. This percentage fell considerably after revolution shook those countries and brought down their rulers.
An Arab participant in the fair, told the BBC, his voice full of regret, that the Egyptian economy has suffered a major blow that has shaken it to the core as a result of the decline in tourism after the Arab Spring.
This kind of talk brings to mind the frivolous stuff we still hear from the anti-resistance faction. They still accuse the resistance of being responsible for pulling the plug on the tourist season in Lebanon during the war with Israel in the summer of 2006.
They choose to turn a blind eye to the fact that Israel destroyed infrastructure, factories and agricultural land in Lebanon. They also choose to ignore the fact that the resistance achieved what no Arab thought possible, defending their land, people and country, expelling the occupiers and causing them huge losses. This led to the imposition of a new geo-strategic balance of power, which Israel and those who support it are working hard to change through conspiracies and agents and by fueling internal conflicts.
Here we are in Lebanon today, busy voting for the Jeita Grotto to be chosen as one of the wonders of the world, employing all the naivety we can muster, hoping to encourage tourism in a country where the rent economy has become the catechism of the state.
If only they would spend all this effort developing the countryside, reforming agricultural land ownership and advancing the small farming sector! If only they would recall the victories of the resistance and be proud of them in the same way they eulogize Jeita. This is how wonders are made: at the hands of humans.