Toward Restoring Social Cohesion
Jafar Mohammad Alshayeb - 13 / 4 / 2015 - 11:01 am

The winds of change that blew through the Arab region brought with them a sectarian tide of violence that has been effectively used by the various parties to the conflicts. Due to sectarianism, Arab countries have become weak and social cohesion no longer exists.

The Middle East conflicts which were political have now affected their societies, already are having serious consequences on the social fabric and will makes societies more vulnerable to divisive action.

Searching for ways to restore cohesion and unity is a national duty; rebuilding relationships should be the priority of decision-makers and social elements.   

Sameh Fawzi, an Egyptian researcher, wrote a detailed study entitled “Social Cohesion: Principles and Problems”. He identifies unified societies as those where individuals respect diversity, have a sense of belonging and can express their concerns freely. 

Social cohesion leads to integration between various segments of society while maintaining sub-identities; it makes people trust and value coexistence, and this includes feelings of security and tolerance, freedom from fear and the spreading of mutual respect for others’ culture.     

There are other indicators to measure social cohesion such as clear definition of public and common national interests, the presence of a law emphasizes equality between various components and providing equal opportunities for all people get involved in social participation. 

Cohesion is notably declining in Arab societies, and instead other frameworks are growing. Weak cohesion will result in physical and verbal violence that will make people resort to individual action and lead to lawlessness.

Certain statements, discussions and articles articulate clear, or veiled, incitement against some sectionsof society; these will instigate increasing division and cause a gradual disintegration of society, especially when they report falsehoods or distortions.          
To promote cohesion, it is important to learn from the experience of other societies that suffer this kind of internal dissension which creates conflict between groups.

It also requires launching national initiatives to reinforce unity, define common public interest and actively to preserve and defend them.

Any society needs to set out comprehensive programs and strategies on a detailed basis to restore social cohesion. These will reduce social relations deteriorating and reestablish them on bases of clarity, transparency and freedom.