Coronavirus in the Arab world amid a culture of secrecy. Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Coronavirus and the Arab Culture of Secrecy

Misinformation is a pillar of governance in most regimes in the Arab world


The quality of the healthcare systems in the Arab world varies from country to country. For instance, Egypt and Sudan are considered to have the worst healthcare systems, while the UAE and Saudi Arabia are seen as having the most advanced in the world. Despite this, many Arab leaders and elites seek to address personal health needs outside of the region, and usually chose to venture to a Western country to use their services instead.

Health status as a state secret in the Arab world

Those that research and closely follow current events in the Arab world may be misled to believe that the royal families and political leaders never get sick. The reason for this is because it is a state secret when such an official becomes ill. This is due to fears of creating an image of being “weak,” which may invite unwanted attempts of a coup led by opposition figures.

Maintaining a strong and respected personal image is highly valued among Arab leaders. There are very few that don’t color their hair in order to…