Sunday, October 12, 2014

Illiteracy in Arab World Partial Cause of Violence and Terror

Nadene Goldfoot                                                    
There are about 370 million Arabs in the world and about 100 million of them are illiterate. There are 17 Arab countries with just Arabs living there.  The Arab League includes 4 non-Arab States.  Otherwise, there are 22 countries that are Arab.  3/4 of them are from ages 15 to 45.   This is a reason why since the early part of the 20th century, they have produced no technology, medicine or any science, world literature, art or anything regarding intellectual development.  The Arab world has exported instead, Israel-hatred and Jew-hatred and violence.  Now IS is even exporting hatred for everyone not conforming with Salafist Sunni Islam.  The result has been "off with their heads."
Arab countries (listed from highest population to lowest as of 2013 listed with the % who can read and write, and % of females literacy and are: Egypt with 84,605,000-73.9%-65.8%;  Algeria-91.8%, 91.8%, Iraq-80.2%, 73.6%,  Sudan-71.9%, 63.2%,  Morocco-67.1%, 57.6%,  Saudi Arabia-86.6%, 81.3%, Yemen-63.9%, 46.8%,  Syria-79.6%, 73.6%,  Tunisia-88.3%, 80.3%,  Somalia-?, ?,  United Arab Emirates-77.9%, 81.7%,   Jordan-93.4%, 90.2%,  Libya-94.2%, 90.7%,  (Palestine-not yet a state but listed as having 4,432,000-95.6%, 93.1%,  Lebanon-89.6%, 86%,  Oman-81.4%, 73.5%,  Kuwait-94%, 97%,  Mauritania-58%, 51.2%,  Qatar-96.3%, 95.4%,  Bahrain-94.6%, 91.6%,  Djibouti-70%, ?  and  Comoros with 743,000-75.5%, 70.6%.          
                                      Arabic, like Hebrew, is read from right to left.

Note that Algeria, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait's female population had a higher rate of literacy than the male population did.  Algeria and Kuwait had a high level of literacy anyway, which is probably why women were able to read.  "The inequality is quite noticeable except in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, countries in which the majority of the population are immigrants who have been educated in their homeland.  In the whole Arab world, about 50% of Arab native women are illiterate.

The countries that must work on their reading and writing are Morocco and Mauritania.  Those needing to improve are Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Tunisia, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Oman, Mauritania, Djibouti and Comoros.

According to the CIA World Factbook, almost 75% of the world's 775 million illiterate adults (cannot read or write) are concentrated in ten countries (in descending order: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo). Women represent two-thirds of all illiterate adults globally. Extremely low literacy rates are focused in three regions: South Asia, West Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. The global literacy rate for all people aged 15 and over is 84.1%. The global literacy rate for all males is 88.6% and the rate for all females is 79.7%

The little country of Greece has 11 million people and translates 5 times more books from English than the entire Arab world.  The number of books translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years is less than what Spain translates into Spanish in one year.
Much of this is from denying  school to women in their society.  About half of Arab women are illiterate.  Look at what happened to Pakistan when girls wanted to learn to read and write.  Pakistan is not an Arab country, but had a literacy rate of only 55% of which women were only 42%.  A girl was shot for wanting to learn.  That was Malala Yousafzai, daughter of a teacher who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring literacy to girls in Pakistan and elsewhere.

What has been going on in these Arab countries of low literacy rate?  In Egypt, 91% of women and girls must go through female genital mutilation.  The custom of Arabs is that women must wear veils or full-face and full-body coverings known as burkas.  Evidently they don't have to worry about the latest fashions or their figures, but they must feel hot and sweaty under so much material, and are also constrained in their movements this way.  Saudi Arabia doesn't allow women to drive a car.  Females have no equality in many Arab countries.

Violence and terror has been coming out of these countries.  Lies are told about Jews. Note that Israel has about 6 million Jews out of about 14 million world-wide  while the Arab countries have 370 million.  The literacy rate for Israel's Jews is 100% and the USA is 99% while the literacy rate for the Arabs is from 49% to 92%.

 Many still believe that Jews knew of the 9/11 plot and never went to work at the World trade Center on 9/11.  Have they been told that it was Saudi Arabian men who flew into these buildings?  Lying has become more the custom and rule than truth when it comes to Jews, or is it too much of relying on gossip because people can't read for themselves?  To them,  Jews are the cause of everything from bad weather days to bad world currency drops.  Computers can't bring facts into their world if they can't read and if their government doesn't allow them to get to the websites on the outside world.

Iraq had Hussein who murdered at least a million of his own people, many with poison gas.  He invaded Iran which caused another million to die.  Syria, under Hafez Assad and his son, Bashar, has also used gas; Sarin gas against his own people.  Some 191,000 Syrians (1/3 civilians) were killed between 2011 and 2014.  2.5 million have left Syria and 6.5 million left their homes to find other shelter in Syria.  Death, displacement and no work has hit Syrians.  In Algeria, Islamist terrorists murdered their own people and this cost them 100,000 lives, mostly civilians.    Sudan has seen their government commit atrocities against the non-Arab population in Darfur which caused 300,000 deaths and over a million refugees.  Arab gangs (Janjaweed)  raped non-Arab women.
What has happened to the Arab world by 2014?  We see the creation of Islamic State, known as IS,  by one of the worst killers of our day, Baghdadi of Iraq.   I have just written a description of what is happening to a culture.  Arabs are not a race of people, but many are Muslims. They are members of the Semitic people of the Arabian peninsula and are members of the Arabic-speaking people. Jews are also members of the Semitic people.    Arabs themselves are realizing what is happening to so many of them.  One such person, Hisham Melhem, Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite channel whose article was printed in Politico Magazine last month.  The title of his article is "The Barbarians Within Our Gates."  Under this title is "Arab civilization has collapsed.  It won't recover in my lifetime."  

What everyone remembers as a gift from the Arab world is "Arabic numerals or Hindu-Arabic numerals or Indo-Arabic numerals which  are the ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. They are the most common symbolic representation of numbers in the world today.  What have they given to the world since then that is worthwhile?  

He's right unless some literate Arab scholars get together for a conference to decide what has gone awry in their culture lately with themselves without blaming others for their actions and see if they can righten it and join the rest of us in peace.  There was a time when they were the saviors of Jews when Christians were the persecutors and Arabs were fairly reasonable people.

How about the illiteracy of the rest of the Middle East?  All are not Arabs.  Afghanistan is among the worst with a population of 28,395,716 and  28.1% literate and females are only 12.6% literate.  Pakistan has 172,800,000 people and 55% are literate with females being only 42%.  Iran has 76,923,300 people and is 85% literate with women at 80.7%.  Turkey has 73,722,988 people and they have 95.3% literate with women at 92.2%.  Israel has about 8 million people of which 6 million are Jews and 1.7 are Arabs.  They have a literacy of 97.1% and females at 95.9%.  Niger has 13,272, 679 people and only 28.7 are literate while females are at 15.1%.  Chad, its neighbor, has 5,041.690 people with 35.4% literate and females at 25.4%.

As for higher education, "The Arab world has the lowest number of university degrees per capita in the world.  The Arab world has the lowest number of scientific publications per capita in the world which is close to nothing. By contrast, "Israel has the highest number of university degrees per capita in the world.  Israel has the highest number of scientific publications per capita in the world.   

How about countries that can speak English?  
Algeria-7%; Egypt-35%, Iran-42%, Iraq-35%, Israel-84.97% (I was one of the English teachers for 5 years and was among about 100,000 Israelis who were native English speakers), Jordan-45%, Lebanon-40%, Morocco-14% (most speak French), Pakistan-49%, Turkey-17% Yemen-9%.

Not all people that can read and write are fond of doing so, and many rely on their news through TV and gossip instead.  It pays to read, however.  One can rely on themselves to check things out as long as they understand what they are reading.  These figures show how many people over the age of 15 can read and write but it doesn't tell us at what level they can read.   

Looking at Arabic writing, I am not surprised to learn that the Arab countries are lower than the West in literacy.  It's a very hard alphabet to read.  I would no doubt be in the illiterate group if a child and was trying to read Arabic.  Hebrew for me is a little easier, but of course English was a snap.  Who I admire are people who can read all 3 languages and understand what it all says.  If one can read English, German and French, they are dealing with the same alphabet, though some letters have a little different sounds, like Russian, for example.  I cannot sight-read Hebrew.  I have to sound out the words.  Good luck, students and keep up trying to learn to read.  

Resource:  The Jewish Press, October 10, 2014, "Brought to you by the Arab world" by Dennis Prager

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