It was clear then - and clear now. This is just empty rage - without any clear agenda or roadmap. | Cartoon by By William Warren | February 1, 2011 | Image source and courtesy - libertyfeatures.com | COPYRIGHT 2011 LIBERTY FEATURES SYNDICATE - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Time and place
When people are dying and suffering, it is no time to say I told you so …
Except when the situation demands that!
Nine months ago, 2ndlook warned about the gushing coverage of Arab Spring in the mainstream media on these ‘protests (which) may have now acquired a life of their own’ and ‘sweeping changes … coming to the Arab lands, where authoritarian regimes are the norm’ and how ‘present protests, could be a game-changer’. 2ndlook threw cold water on an overjoyed world of Twitterati, Chatterati, Bloggerati, Paparazzi went ahead and claimed credit for this ‘change’.
Aladdin’s Lamp – Old despots for new
Are Arabs talking of Western style’ democracy’ and ‘freedom‘?
Like ‘freedom’ in the USA, with 20 lakh prisoners – the largest prison population in the world? Or ‘religious tolerance’ like single-faith Switzerland where a third mosque with minarets was not allowed? Is it political freedom, like Europe which believes that a two-party collusive democracy is better than one-party conspiring oligarchy?
Maybe, build on ethnic-diversity like the Danes who want to pay Muslims to leave Denmark. Why not even aim for a ‘fair’ legal-system like Britain, where hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested to build a DNA data-bank – ostensibly to help in criminal identification. To be like the West today, that has the lowest levels of diversity – ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity. And makes the most noise about freedom and human rights.
Is democracy a solution - or a temporary respite from malignant dictatorships | Cartoon by Carlos Latuff; February 2011; source and courtesy - desertpeace.files.wordpress.com | Click for larger source image.
How bad were these ‘despots’
Indeed, a case could be made for these stable despots who have sent packing in Tunisia and Egypt. In both Tunisia and Egypt, people have seen economic progress, without dependence on oil – unlike most of Islāmic Middle East.
Compared to Turkey’s per-capita, or oil-inflated Oman’s US$ 25,000 or petro-daddy Saudi’s US$ 23,300, Tunisia with US$ 9100 per capita and Egypt with US$ 5900 come out favorably. Tunisia or Egypt did not favor the beheading or amputation routine of Iran or Saudi Arabia – or mass-imprisonment regimes like USA, UK or China. Like all modern-State-nations, concentration of wealth is a ‘given’ – regardless of Europe, USA or Islāmic Middle-East.
There was neither a shining vision, nor economic necessity, or relative oppression, which triggered these revolts. Instead of an ‘elected’ Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians got Army Rule. Was that a satisfactory or a desirable outcome? Does empty rage count as a reason to expose nations to unknown rulers and uncertainty? Unknown devils instead of known devils? Does a change in government without modifying governance-model make any difference?
Without a viable ‘reason’ for revolt, what made so many people come out in the open?
I can get no satisfaction
It is no satisfaction that this outcome was forewarned in the 2ndlook post.
Egypt’s military rulers apologized Thursday for the deaths of dozens of pro-democracy protesters and vowed to prosecute those responsible in its latest attempt to appease the tens of thousands who have taken to the streets demanding that the generals immediately step down.
Police and protesters also agreed to a truce negotiated by Muslim clerics after five days of fierce street battles that have left nearly 40 dead.
The fighting around Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, which began Saturday, has been the longest spate of uninterrupted violence since the 18-day uprising that toppled longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11. It has deepened the country’s economic and security woes ahead of the first parliamentary elections since Muabrak’s regime was toppled. Voting is scheduled to begin on Monday.
The military statement came two days after Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council that assumed control of the country after Mubarak stepped down, promised in a televised address to hold a presidential election in the first half of next year but did not offer an apology for the killings. (via Truce Halts Fighting In Cairo’s Tahrir Square | Fox News).