Shaping the Future – For the People by the People – What to Do Now!
By Ismail Rifaat
Over the years of his professional career as an architect and city planner, Ismail Rifaat came to appreciate “the planning process” that he used in practice, as a powerful tool to solving problems. The planning process is applied in systematic steps that ensure consistency, and promote comprehensive coverage of the parameters involved in addressing problems. Some years ago, especially during President G. W. Bush’s administration, being disappointed with prevailing conditions, he applied this process to identify and address global problems. He wrote a book titled “Planning for Survival” which documents this work. The book yielded conclusions and directions for action regarding global problems and how they could be tackled. He completed writing the book in late 2008, and published it in February 2009.
In “Planning for Survival”, he addresses the global conditions that threaten our survival, and demonstrated how numerous negative developments can be related to certain political conditions in the USA. Over the past couple of years, relatively little has changed in these conditions. However, as the administration of President G. W. Bush was preparing to cede power in 2008, the US experienced serious economic problems. They are reflected in the corporate ‘bailout’ of 700 billion dollars at that time, which has grown considerably since then. He is convinced that these developments were contrived by the past neo-conservative administration. Irrespective of his views, deteriorating economic conditions added new serious dimensions to existing global problems.
The most critical issues in the USA and many other countries around the world today, relate to adverse economic and political conditions. These include high unemployment, loss of social benefits, usurpation of human rights and other factors that are negatively affecting the wellbeing of common citizens. Recent demonstrations in the USA, the Arab world, Greece, Spain, France, the UK, and other countries around the world confirm the pervasiveness of these conditions. Some have sacrificed their lives in their struggle to secure an honorable decent living, starting with the young Tunisian martyr who burnt himself, to the martyrs in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria.
The continuing prevalence of the old problems that provoked Rifaat to write “Planning for Survival” in the first place, and the more recent deterioration of economic and political conditions prompted him to write this book as a follow-up. It builds on the results of “Planning for Survival” and focuses on addressing current topical developments, especially as they are unfolding in the USA.
Pertinent issues are being debated in the news media and on the internet. Over the past couple of years, Rifaat took the time to educate himself about ongoing developments. He tried to read between the lines of what others say to sort out facts from lies, and those who are honest from those who are not. This led him to reach certain conclusions regarding the people’s plight. The views and conclusions that he reached are shared by many others, and the number of movements and entities that vigorously promote the cause of the people has been growing as the people’s conditions continued to deteriorate.
As he embarked on writing this book, he pondered, how could he possibly contribute to ongoing efforts that aim at rectifying prevailing injustices? In answering this question, he realized that most of the common citizens who are negatively affected by current developments are mainly engrossed in their struggle for survival, and may not have the time to investigate the causes and remedies to their problems. He concluded that a comprehensive, but concise treatment of the most critical issues that impact the well-being of ‘the people’ might be helpful.
In this book, he concisely identifies major problems, clarify their causes, and give general advice as to what we could possibly do to address these problems.