America must be a good place to live these days. Unemployment there has dropped to a six-year low. Also in France the unemployed can dream once again. Statistics show that France had 11,000 fewer job seekers last month: the first decrease since October 2013. In my country, unemployment is going up, not down. The rate is around 10 %. Still, those 90 % are lucky to have work. Most of these 90 % are married and have children. A great number of them have homes of their own, many have cars, etc. It’s only those 10 % that are more or less suffering. Should they suffer? Should they accept their situation? Shouldn’t there be somebody to blame for their situation? The government, for example?
French President’s approval rating has reached record lows, and everybody is linking that to the President’s presumed failure to deliver on job creation and economic growth. Paradoxically, there are plenty of jobs in the U.S., and yet President Barack Obama gets little credit for it from the public. Gossip has it that if the German economy has been so good, until six months ago anyway, it’s because most employed people there are somewhat underpaid. (A minimum wage was introduced in Germany only recently.) Nevertheless, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity remains sky-high. In Ghaza and the West Bank 30 to 60 % of people are on the dole. The blame there is laid at the door of the Israeli Occupation. In Tunisia and Egypt the scapegoat for rising unemployment is the Arab Spring.
The blame game is part of human nature. We all blame others for our misfortunes. When there’s nobody specific to blame, we blame bad luck. But let’s be objective for a moment! The best intentioned, most competent government can’t guarantee jobs for all. The most compassionate, most patriotic business establishment in the world can’t guarantee lasting economic growth. There will always be a minority of “unlucky” people. Even highly educated people (doctors, engineers…) may be surprised not to find suitable jobs. (See my article Salam Layla 5 .) Even governments of developed countries plead with other governments of developed countries to do better for their national economy. The French want Germans to do more for German economic growth. The Germans want the French to do more to reduce their budget deficit. The U.S. appeals to Europe to do more to get out of recession.
In my country, we often hear business people, economic analysts, and even government officials, say that if tens of thousands of our youth can’t find work it’s because their training is inadequate for business. People with degrees in Islamic Studies, History & Geography, Arabic language, Philosophy, etc., have nothing to do in the business world. They only wasted their time at Faculty. Business wants competent people. It wants engineers,, managers, specialized technicians, etc. If you have a degree in the Arabic language, why don’t you be a poet? You’d do well to sell potato chips to kids in front of schools by day and write poetry and love stories at night.
A relatively recent problem for our government is that although it urgently needs thousands of teachers, including teachers of languages, History & Geography… to work in public schools, it simply can’t hire them because it can’t pay them. Most people, including myself, believe that the Government is acting in good faith. But it’s a problem of money. A much bigger problem for the Government is that, if nothing is done urgently, by 2021 it will become impossible for the State to pay retirement pensions to former State employees. This is not my personal view. This is being said by government officials, union officials, economists… Another problem for our government is that our traditional economic partners, namely Europe, are suffering. That translates for us into less tourist money and less remittance money from our fellow nationals living in Europe…
So what to do? Will you study what business wants so that business will be pleased with you? Will you sell chips by day and write poetry at night? Will you join sit-ins in front of Government buildings to pressure the Government to find you a job? Will you wait for economic recovery or better economic growth? Will you use heroin or cocaine to forget all about these problems? Will you turn to religion? Can you wait more and be steadfast when religion asks you to do so? Can decide for yourself ? Can you defy all people around you? Can you trust yourself? Do you trust yourself in the first place?
This is a very serious problem. It’s very serious because you don’t have all the tools to deal with it. Even very highly educated people who find very demanding, very challenging job adverts in prestigious magazines, such as The Economist and TIME, and reply to those ads and pass all interviews and are accepted and do start work with good salaries…., they don’t know what may happen to them in the future. Nobody knows what the future holds. All the education and skills you got, that’s the past. You may still have to worry about marriage, if you’re not married yet, or about your children, if they’re still young, or about your health… and all that is in the future.
You may have good insurance. That insurance will only solve the money side. Insurance will not replace a lost eye, a lost breast or a lost limb. Insurance will not solve the immaterial side (feelings, affection, mental strength…) And all that is in the future. The best economic minds of the world were unable to anticipate, let alone to avert, the 2008 Financial Crisis –are you sure your mind can anticipate (and avert) bad things for you? If your mind can’t, your heart may be of some help. Are you prepared to “save” at heart as you would save at a commercial bank?
This is one of several approaches, though. It may be not as easy as other approaches. You could leave it as the last resort. You could give it up in the middle of the process. But it all begins with a choice, with a decision. Normally, before you choose or decide anything you need to know about it in advance. That’s your legitimate right. The Koran, not me, explains to you your rights and obligations.
In the Koran’s eyes, the best and most precious part of you is your heart.