The Arab Spring- a real people revolution
What we have been seeing in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain is a real revolution sparked by life under oppression for several decades, oppression that was created by colonialism and extended by internal governing forces.
The domino effects that sparked the Arab area encouraged many to accept describing it as the Arab Spring. But this Arab Spring has become a hostage of many beneficiaries on various level, local and internationally.
On the local level, the scream for change is challenging the oppressors’ regimes in all Arab countries. A few of these regimes were able to manipulate people’s movement by implementing limited cosmetic changes. Examples of this are Jordan and Algeria, where their governments were able to benefit form the division between the population, the revolutionaries and traditionally domesticated parties.
Others were able to play the sectarian card, which was very clear in Bahrain’s case and to some extent in Yemen. It succeeded in Bahrain not because of its sectarian nature, but because the country is structured in a sense where all wealth and governing power went to the Sunnis while the Shias got nothing. The equality revolution came from the Shias who suffered this injustice for decades supported by some wise Sunnis.
While the revolution in Syria is different from many angles, as all other revolutions, it is a people revolution against the regime’s oppression. However, it also shows the divisible line on the Syria/Lebanon affair that exhausted the region for many decades that is not isolated from the sectarian notion of Saudi Arabia and Hezbollah.
While Yemen was touched by the sensation of the sectarian division it has another division line as well, the tribal division, making it very similar to the Libyan situation. Both revolutions are a scream for freedom, faced with a tribal line of division, found to be the most comfortable for the regimes to counter the revolution.
And while we named here half of the Arab countries, the other half is not far from the revolution. Either its population is moving under the surface or its government is blocking the changes as the case of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
The only two countries that escaped the sectarian tension were Tunisia and Egypt. Tunisia has always been nonsectarian and nontribal. And, Egypt was able to overcome the well planned sectarian division between Muslims and Copts, a division that was implemented under the occupation and resisted until the Sadat regime.
Both Tunisia and Egypt were able to escape this implanted sectarian tension because their revolution was lead by the youth and not by domestic traditional parties.
We evaluated here the internal force of change and blockage but we can’t have this analysis without addressing the external intervention that played in both directions, encouraging the so called “stability” and praising the democracy wished by the oppressed people.
Hypocrisy is nothing new in western politics. While democracy has to be our faith, they never challenge their tyrant friends in the Middle East. And while Human Rights should be our common value, Palestinians’ right is not among them.
This hypocrisy was very clear in dealing with the Egyptian revolution. They maintained their support for Mubarak, until they discovered that he was collapsing. At which point, they turned their face against him and start appeasing the revolution.
And once again in Libya, Yemen and Syria, the revolution didn’t survive the western hypocrisy. The revolutionary were engaged in a dialogue with the western powers to help them in fighting the oppression, the same oppression that has been supported by the western forces for decades.
Iraq was no exception of this western hypocrisy and arrogant behavior. After invading and occupying Iraq, they redraw the Iraqi map into multiple sectarian divisions Arabs/Kurds and Sunni/Shia.
So the Arab spring is coming with a string where the West has a last chance to follow their pretended values that if followed will match their people’s long term goals of peace, democracy and human rights, or they could be rewriting a new chapter of hypocrisy in manipulating people.
Wherever this western interest will stand, no Arab country will escape the Arab spring even in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Israel was not far from all this, because their era of controlling the Arab world is almost over. They are unhappy with that because as all other oppressors, they will not be able to maintain their superiority and they will not survive the Arab revolution, as long as they continue to think that the Palestinian’s rights is of less value than all other.
And because the Arab Spring is a real people revolution, no one will be able to survive it unless they give it a chance.
Mohamed S. Kamel is a professional engineer, a LEED Green Associate and co-founder of the Canadian Egyptian for Democracy (CEFD), National Association for Change in Egypt (Taghyeer – Canada), Association of the Egyptians of Montreal (AEM), Alternative Perspective Media (APM-RAM), , Quebec Antiwar movement “Échec à la Guerre”, Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine “CJPP” and ex-president and co-founder of the Canadian Muslim Forum. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org