The “Arab Spring” has, undoubtedly, failed miserably, for instead of ushering in democracy and an era of prosperity and development, it is bringing disunity and discomfort to the inhabitants of the region, who are already plagued by endemic poverty and lack of opportunity and now have to put up with insecurity and the uncertainty of the future.
Scores of people regret the pre-“Spring” era because it provided job opportunity and lots of security. Presently, they live in the uncertainty of tomorrow and the fear of not been able to feed their families. The poor and the middle class, if any, are not, in the least, apologetic for dictatorship, but if they have to choose between bread and democracy, they would go for the former and heaven can wait, after all.
What the Arab world witnessed was a series of uprisings, no more. Alas, democracy is still many light years away because the majority of the population is illiterate, tribal identity is extremely strong, the Mideast is too patriarchal, women are considered “part of the household”, pan-Arabism is dominant and discriminating, poverty is omnipresent, the political system is built around rich reigning families, which reject any system of meritocracy, and the time-old unequal distribution of national wealth is present at all levels. For all these reasons the so-called Arab Spring is a mere mirage, no more.
Since the advent of Islam, power is passed from one family/dynasty to another. The family/dynasty in power, after years of reigning gets too corrupt and, as a result, weakens and another family/dynasty, strong and pure, waiting on the sidelines, takes over and rules for a period of time until it gets, in its turn, too corrupt to fall like a rotten pear. This is the theory of power articulated by the renowned social scientist and philosopher Ibn Khaldun (May 27, 1332 – March 19, 1406), in his opus Muqaddimah or Prolegomena, written in 1337, in which he argues that:
“Each dynasty has within itself the seeds of its own downfall. He explains that ruling houses tend to emerge on the peripheries of great empires and use the unity presented by those areas to their advantage in order to bring about a change in leadership. As the new rulers establish themselves at the center of their empire, they become increasingly lax and more concerned with maintaining their lifestyles. Thus, a new dynasty can emerge at the periphery of their control and effect a change in leadership, beginning the cycle anew.”
When the Arab uprising first ignited in Tunisia and morphed into street anger that soon toppled the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali, the whole world cheered. The Arabs have finally succeeded in breaking down the wall of fear, especially in a country that had the highest level of surveillance of the citizens by one of the fiercest political polices in the world. Soon, later on, the Egyptians got the revolution fever and in no time toppled another Arab dictator i.e. Moubarek.
At this point the world spoke of the “Arab Spring,” maybe too soon. Then, Yemen fell, followed by Libya, which was as dramatic as the long, bloody and brutal reign of the dictator Gaddafi. After, there was an attempt to topple the first head of state of the Gulf region, in Bahrain, but the attempt was stifled in its cradle. Last but not least, Syria caught the disease, sowing death everywhere in the country and not resulting in the downfall of the dictator Assad, who is still in power, and as deadly as ever, not, even, shying away from using chemical weapons on his own “beloved” people.
The Arab uprisings were started by the youth, dissatisfied with the tribal and patriarchal rule of corrupt and brutal leaders, supported by obedient armies and co-opted political parties. Then, as the movement took off the ground, the Islamist movements, as regimented as any movement could ever be, joined the fray along with the socialists and the communists.
After the fall of the dictators and the organization of free elections, the Islamists grabbed democratically power and embarked immediately in Islamizing, at will, their societies in a flagrant manner, as was the case in Egypt. The Islamists, also, grabbed power, by legal means in countries non-affected by the uprisings, such as Morocco. But, like in Egypt, after a period of time, people started to express dissatisfaction at their unprofessional running of affairs.
All in all, after five years of uprisings, one wonders, quite rightly, what was achieved in the Arab World? The answer is not much, except, maybe, for the appearance of the Arab cyber citizen vociferous and ferociously eager to be free, the destruction, forever, of the wall of fear that impeded the political development of the Arab man, the abolition of the state of denial and the withdrawal of legitimacy of reign from all existing political establishments.
The so-called “Arab Spring” has definitely gone to the dogs and the Arab World is unfortunately moving steadily towards an era of probably total chaos. One wonders, however, is this the beginning of creative chaos that will lead to better times for the region and its people, or the beginning of something else difficult to guess and really noxious for the region, in the end?
Only time will show.
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