The cost of progress

This Muslim nation’s rapid economic development comes at a price — to its environment and natural beauty — a stark reality now hitting home.

Sadly the government — which in earlier times shared roots with the environmentalist movement — is now too much in thrall of big business and the construction industry to anymore take the side of the people, who cherish the land and traditional livelihoods.

The nation will continue to grow ever more powerful and prosper economically. New transport networks will be established, tunnels piercing through vast mountains, huge bridges spanning ravines. It will ultimately benefit the nation as new hospitals, schools, social housing and jobs follow in their wake.

But this modern obsession with progress is yet to appreciate the value of its areas of outstanding natural beauty. These great reserves of wild beauty are the sacrificial lamb on the alter of economic development — and the scars are already there to prove it.

The proudly confident ruling class — celebrating the resurgence of a semi-imagined glorious past — are too quick to forget their roots as rebellious champions of the people. Too proud to recall those maxims we are called to live by.

“And the servants of the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility…”

A difficult struggle lies ahead.

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