Saturday, January 22, 2011

Revolution In Tunisia

The January, 22 Sydney Morning Herold published an article that pinpoints the implications of the revolution in Tunisia. I will post some excerpts:
Only fools talk with certainty of what might happen next. But with all the caveats that follow, last week's revolt in a postage-stamp nation on the southern shores of the Mediterranean has to be seen as a ''maybe'' turning-point for a region in which greedy old men and their extended families are practised at stealing the power and wealth of their people; and for the most part, getting away with it as the rest of the world averts its gaze...
Restless, jobless and ambitious, these young people are increasingly angry because of a tactical mistake by their dictatorial leaders - they educated them, not knowing that they would graduate in an era in which the internet and social media might be weapons of choice for would-be revolutionaries.
If revolt can happen in a backwater like Tunisia then theoretically at least, it can happen anywhere. With food riots in Algeria; anger at price jumps in Jordan; the collapse of government in Lebanon; stepped-up repression in Iran and the farce of democracy and human rights as they are practised by corrupt leaders across the region, Tunisians rarely came into the frame as likely revolutionaries...
The Egyptian-born writer Mona Eltahawy is eloquent on this: "Not once in my 43 years have I thought that I'd see an Arab leader toppled by his people. It is nothing short of poetic justice that it was neither Islamists nor invasion-in-the-name-of-democracy that sent the waters rushing on to Ben Ali's ship but, rather, the youth of his country."
Her point is this: unlike the crushing humiliation for Arabs in the ousting of Saddam Hussein by the American-led invasion of Iraq, the home-driven demise of Ben Ali in Tunisia is something that Arabs might emulate with pride...
Could this be the start of the year, or perhaps the decade of the Arab people? There's a giddiness in the air. But because of what the people of Tunisia have already achieved, the editor of Egypt's Al-Distoor newspaper, Taalat Rumaiah, cannot be dismissed entirely when he tells The Guardian: "We can expect things to replicate in Egypt - it's possible that two or three other Arab regimes could fall this year because of popular uprisings."

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