I mentioned here that I would go through the suggestions NABNI has made and tell you my opinion about them, but I still haven’t managed to do it. I lack the time but also the motivation; I don’t believe anything good can possibly come from our mediocre and careless rulers, so I don’t think entrusting them to implement any idea and expecting stuff to go forward is something possible. Plus, I might flag most of the suggestions as irrelevant and not addressing the country’s real problems, but I wouldn’t give any alternative. And there of course I’d be accused of sterile criticism, etc. Anyway, this explains why I am not keen on the task. Unless of course I do like Bouteflika (who usually spends Ramadhan evenings hearing and scolding his ministers) and spend my Ramadhan evenings reading NABNI’s suggestions. Watch this space, you never know…
In the meantime, I am going to quote some excerpts from a novel I read recently and which talk about suggestions. The novel, titled “A fraction of the whole”, is written by Steve Toltz, and in the below excerpt we read a boy speaking. The boy decided to build a suggestions box which he placed in the town hall. Here are the excerpts.
I placed the key to the padlock in an envelope and laid on the front doorstep of […] town councillor. […] I wrote […]: I am entrusting you with the key to unlocking the potential of our town. You are the key master. Do not abuse your privilege. Do not be slow or lazy or neglectful. Your town is counting on you.
and composed the inaugural suggestions. They needed to be beauties; they needed to inspire, to excite, and they needed to be within reason. So I refrained from putting in some of my more outlandish and unworkable suggestions […] beyond the jurisdiction of our three-man council.
It’s impossible to articulate […] deeper problems, existence problems. I couldn’t think of a suggestion that addressed these directly. […] Instead I thought of an idea to address [them] indirectly. […] the underlying cause of that must be linked with vision, with what parts of the world they were taking in and what they were leaving out.
Amazingly, [the councillor] was enthusiastic about the whole thing. He was the kind of leader who desperately wanted to be fresh and progressive […]
It seemed everyone was caught up in the spell of ideas. The potential for the town to reach a higher place, to improve itself, to evolve, had caught on. People started carrying little notepads with them wherever they went, you would see them abruptly stop in the middle of the street, or leaning against a street light, or crouched over the pavement, struck by an idea.
First were the practical suggestions pertaining to infrastructure and general municipal matters […] There were suggestions aimed at ending our reliance on the city by having our own hospital, our own courthouse, and our own skyline. […] And there were countless suggestions for the construction of things […]
Things turned so quickly because [the councillor] was struck down with pneumonia and his second-in-command took up the task. [He] was old and bitter and mischievous and read out the most profane, personal, idiotic and provocative suggestions in an innocent voice […]
As funny as they could be, we can get some teachings from these excerpts. I of course chose them because they back up my own opinion.
However talented they might be, the rulers will always need their people not only to work with them but also to suggest things and ideas for the benefit of everybody. The suggestions will be useless at best and dangerous at worst (because turned into a mischievous political game) if the rulers, those who are supposed to implement them, are lazy, neglectful, incompetent or just do not care. The suggestions cannot work if the people do not believe in them. And as much as practical suggestions/ideas/plans are important, it is crucial for a society to have a vision, an ultimate goal, a target set for them by the rulers in order to motivate them and get them going.
Another important teaching is the fact things can be done at all levels. One doesn’t necessarily have to think big, and responsibilities also lay at all levels. While I mention responsibilities, I believe most of us Algerians agree on the fact everybody is responsible for our situation and we differ only on the percentages we put on the people and the rulers. This is something understandable. But something I can personally not get is when I hear some people blame the rulers but not all of them. The “best” being those blaming everybody in the system but the president for reasons which I won’t mention here. Giving him credit for the good stuff and blaming his associates for the bad deeds is beyond my understanding…
But let us not get off track. I know NABNI’s 100 suggestions are supposed to be implemented this year, and the association is working on some new ideas (to be shared on July 5th, 2012 inshAllah) which would set a plan for 2020. So the vision might be in next year’s ideas. But I still cannot figure out what guarantees they received, or say what made them think the Algerian rulers would really put their all to implement the 100 suggestions. For once I would like to be wrong if the suggestions are good…