The Second Forum for the Renaissance of Arabic Language

Doha, 20 January 2016


As-salamu alaykum, (Peace be upon you)

Ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome you in Doha and appreciate this forum in its second edition. Four years have lapsed now on our first forum, yet the reality and issues are still the same.

the Arabic language is on the top of these issues, mainly when it refers to the identity, however both of them refer to the emergence of the tongue whereby language is shaped and identity is manifested.

As long as we have strong faith that language is the essence of identity and its last fortress, this fortress must have knights to defend it by language swords after their educational milieu inspired them with the linguistic essence of identity. Children who are not consolidated by the Arabic tongue within their families, they will have a hybrid identity and their linguistic performance will be dominated by flatness, colloquial and foreign words, expressing themselves in a foreign language.

Speaking on children, generally, brings to our minds that everything starts from childhood, Where the intuition of human knowledge wisdom emanates: we reap what we cultivate.

However any approach to the child development projects is a direct approach to our conceptions on the future we aspire, as long as we believe that children are the capital of the present and prepared to be invested in the future.

We would have not been convening conferences nor seminars to find solutions if the problems do not require that. Because solutions come after diagnosis. At the outset we have to admit that in the Arab world we have not benefit from the extraordinary scientific advances, particularly in the areas of education, information, communication and media to develop the linguistic nurture of children who started to use other languages even in addressing their parents. 

What happened and still happening is that we have failed in containing the updates. The misuse of communication technology has harmed the Arabic language and introduced our young people to electronic linguistic gibberish. It is sorrowful that decades ago children spoke better Arabic language than present day! Why does this happen? What are the defects?

Here diagnosis is imperative as done in your first forum. As you are specialists bear in mind that the problem has become worse through the accumulation of many problematic reasons: the decline of the family interest in Arabic, the weakness of the Arabic teaching curricula and methods, the use of the standard Arabic language only in television programs, and replacing it with vernacular dialects, the children reluctance to read children's literary works due to their tendency towards Electronic Games and modern entertainment tools in general, which we have failed to produced or Arabize.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are living a cultural rupture between the standard Arabic and colloquial dialects as speaking in standard Arabic have become as though speaking in a foreign language. Writers, intellectuals and artists now speak to media outlets in their dialects. However such a dilemma calls for due serious reconsideration and practical research and work in order to simplify the Arabic language curriculum and oblige television programs to use standard language.

If this reality is consolidated, the reality of the decline of Arabic language among children, the future they represent will make Arabic strange, and identity will be at stake, after it loses its linguistic fortress. Nations fortify themselves by their languages before anything else, and Arabic to us, as described by Al Aqqad is a "protective identity."

If we agree on accuracy and integrity of diagnosis, the treatment will not be intricate as long as there exists a treatment vision. If we want to succeed in making impact and change we need to mobilize and gather the Arab official will of elites and grassroots at the level of legislation, education, culture, and the media to protect the Arabic language.

On this occasion I commend the partnership between the World Organization for Renaissance of Arabic Language and Qatar Institute for Computer Sciences in the development of many programs such as the program that turns speech into written text, and the program that analyzes Arabic tweets, and the program digital treatment of Arabic language. All these programs are ambitious and promising. I wish it will enrich Arabic language online content, and be beneficial to young people who are the most category using the internet.

Our aspiration is that the coming few years the organization will make great achievements worthy of Arabic language advancement and protection through such fruitful partnerships.

Among the key tasks of the organization, which are global, is to utilize some of its partnerships for the benefit of Arab immigrants in foreign countries.

The great cultural challenge that the Arab family encounters in the west is how to protect identity which can only be manifested via the Arabic language. In order to support the generations of Arab immigrants in protecting their identity we are all responsible along with immigrants' communities and ministries of education countries of destination.

The cultural and linguistic harmony of the self makes the person normal and productive, but if that harmony is missing, identity disorders will reflect negatively on behavior patterns and stimulate a tendency towards violence. Ignoring and sidelining the religious and ethnic identities of immigrants in some western countries may be a contributing factor to the tensions seen in some states.

Ladies and gentlemen,

When globalization sweep through the world, no single human being, culture or language is safe from its impacts. World nations, our nation among them, have two choices: either globalized by globalization owners as they wish, or find a way to live in harmony with our identity and language. 

It was not never easy. Our Arabic cultural system had gone through great shake until we noticed that the Arabic language is the only salvation which is the container of identity that represent our culture, heritage, history and literature. The fact, as relativity linguists say, is that "my language is my world, and the boundaries of my language are boundaries of my world".

If we want to survive, interact and save our identity we have no choice but to advance and enhance the Arabic Language to adjust with the human knowledge and concepts. The unification of concepts is one of the critical epistemological problems facing Arabic language. Different equivalents for Arabized concepts have spread among the Arab cultural communities, not only in the Maghreb or Levant, but there are also many interpretations in the Arab Levant and Arab Maghreb. 

In nutshell, every renaissance has its privacy, and every privacy has a language. If our language has not been capable to adjust to advancement, then any renaissance, if it happened, will be distorted and artificial. The renaissance in China is manifested in Chinese. the Renaissance in Japan is manifested in Japanese. We face a major challenge in making a renaissance manifested in Arabic.

In an era of division, split and targeting, what remained is to fortify ourselves with the Arabic language in order to uphold national and cultural identity, and not to become strange in our civilization existence. Arabic language is the voice that shape our presence or absence. Or as Mostafa Saadeq Al-Rafe'i once said : "To humiliate a language of the people is to humiliate the people". 

I wish your forum success and sustainability so that the Arabic language may flourish. Still the voice of Ahmed Shawqi is echoing within us: He who bestowed beauty on languages Instilled beauty and its secrets in Arabic Language.

As-salamu alaykum, (Peace be upon you)