It is hard to foresee what is going to happen in 2023 since we are only at the onset of the year. However, years are merely numbers but realities are interconnected with each other. Hence, it is necessary to understand the reality in the first place in order to predict the future because it depends on the present or the current reality.
Nevertheless, the current political and economic reality do not augur well for this year. The political conflicts between the West represented by the US and the East represented by Russia are expected to worsen. The economic conflict between China and the US is at its worst point and the political situation is degrading everyday due to the Russian-Ukrainian war which is actually a cold war between East and West.
Economic experts project a wave of global economic stagnation to impact the energy market resulting in high oil prices, inflation and higher interest rates. These factors coupled with the reemergence of Covid-19 pandemic will further deteriorate the global economy.
Waves of social discontent and consequently protests and sit-ins are expected more than ever in 2023. This could be a global wave with significant political repercussions the likes of which we saw in some European countries, Sri Lank and most recently, Iran.
Similarly, the Arab world is suffering from a state of discontent due to high cost of living, declining purchasing power and social inequality. Demonstrations began in Jordan and they are even stronger than the 2022 protests and are more of a revolution of the hungry than protests, a more severe form of protest, less rational and more violent. In addition, the dire political situation in Yemen, Syria, Sudan and Iraq and the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people and the rise of fundamentalism have led to an increase in homelessness.
The situation in the Gulf region is not better than the wider Arab world albeit seemingly solid at certain times, the pandemic exposed the hidden reality. Many businesses collapsed particularly the small and mid-sized enterprises and the unemployment rate went higher. All this indicates that the Gulf is not far from the global events such as recession, inflation and high interest rates.
The Sultanate of Oman is no exception. It has been negatively affected following the 2011 events and then the Covid-19 pandemic. With the recent economic reforms, the country is making slow progress owing to the sheer number of lay-offs and job-seekers, low income and weak purchasing power. Such conditions prompted the return of the desire for immigration in search for jobs and generated discontent among individuals. However, the situation in the Sultanate of Oman is not akin to that gloomy status prevalent around the world and in the Arab world, however there are certain requirements that cannot be ignored. Hence, we need sincerity in defining the reality on the one hand and public participation to redress the reality on the other hand. This is initially a specialised vertical rectification, however expanding horizontal language of freedom to criticism is a healthy and natural state.
In order for these requirements to not end up in negative territories, they should be dealt with positively in terms of the remedy. First and foremost, we should be aware that humans are more important than buildings. Society is in need of roads, bridges, skyscrapers, etc, however, this does not mean to ignore humans as an individual. Initially, people’s material needs should be secured in a positive manner. Every individual should get the amount of money that guarantees human dignity thereby stimulating the market economy and reduces crime.
Upon looking into the year 2023 we could see undeniable negativities but we could find positive signals and capabilities, as well. We cannot confront negativities unless we are aware of the importance of ourselves and our internal power to overtake our negativities without recommendations from whosoever. We should not be captives to the reality, we should rather be able to shape it from within ourselves.