Monday, April 04, 2011

The Farce that is the Arab Regime

The initial enthusiasm I felt with the success of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions has now subsided. The past three months have exposed the painful truth which many Arabs refused to see, which is that the biggest enemy of the Arabs is not America, Iran or even Israel. It is the Arab rulers. The Arabs today are a people divided into tiny squabbling kingdoms dominated by petty ruling families who are propped up by a complacent international system and brutal security services that imprison or torture all those who dare say that "the emperor has no clothes". These ruling families have each developed a cult of personality that would put Stalin to shame. Over the past few weeks we have seen a concerted attempt to quell the tide of Arab dissatisfaction. Massive subsidies have been put back into place, wage increases for the public sector, free mobile phone minutes. All these actions, it is hoped, will quiet down the people and return them back to a docile and manageable state.

Furthermore, governments have also been sacked, apparently the puppet masters are greatly displeased that their puppets have not entertained the masses as they should have. Even al Jazeera's coverage has been toned down recently with regards to the protests in Syria and Bahrain. This is something which has been particularly surprising and troubling to me. It appears that pressure has been brought to bear on the Qatar based network, and whilst still maintaining extremely high standards, the channel is not as daring as it was whilst covering the fall of Mubarak. Ultimately it seems that the Arab revolutions are a threat which has been recognised by all Arab rulers, and this has united them in a way that no external threat ever could.

Yet whilst I feel despondent that change will not be as quick as I expected, I remain optimistic that the fear barrier has been broken. Even with Syria, I can see now that people are much more open in their views about the government, much more ready to give their opinion, than they would have been a year ago. It simply will not do to claim resistance, modernisation, or having a charming trophy wife, as a means to placate the masses. The people have seen through that, and they have seen how weak those who govern them really are. Something is changing, I just hope it is permanent.

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