Thursday, April 7, 2011

Is the Arab Revolution becoming a counter-revolution?

To the many doubts about the revolutionary legitimacy of the Lybian rebel camp (now directed by a former Gaddafi's interior minister, responsible of repression himself, and tainted by the support of NATO) many other dark clouds threaten the hopefulness of the still ongoing Arab (plus) Revolution. 

Most importantly the secularist spirit so clear in the Tunisian and even in the Egyptian chapters of this revolutionary movement seems sometimes diluted. When watching videos in some countries you often hear the Islamist war cry of God is Great*... too often. You also see more and more women fully clad in niqabs, a clear sign of fundamentalist patriarchal oppression (though at least you do see them taking an active role).

In some states like Jordan, nearly all the protests have gone by the hand of the fundamentalists, truly destroying any revolutionary legitimacy to the movement. However in most places (Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and even the weak (Saudi-)Arabian, Moroccan and Iraqi movements) secularism seems to be a clear part of the discourse all or most of the time. 

The new face of the Arab Revolution? Hope not.
But beware because the establishment is clearly trying to manipulate this uprising into an "islamist" movement. An example is the reaction of Syrian dictator Hafed el-Assad to the ongoing protests: he has promulgated "concessions" like allowing teachers to wear the niqab. Concessions to whom? Clearly to the most fanatic right-wing elements in order to rally them behind his shattered regime.

On the positive side he's making lesser concession to Kurds - yet short of granting any form of self-rule.

Worrisome is also that Saudi Arabia, the worst dictatorship on Earth by far, is meddling in Yemen with a pretense of mediation (right after smashing the Bahraini revolution). Surely the Saudi mafia, with all the blessings from Washington and Tel Aviv, is trying to make sure that the result of the Yemeni Revolution is a pro-Saudi dictatorship. 

Blogger arrested by the Egyptian Junta
This last is what seems to be happening in Egypt, the heart of the Arab Revolution (if any), where the Army is persecuting people for freedom of speech now that they hope to stay in power (more or less) as the right wing parties tolerated by Mubarak seem strong enough to cope the new parliament and redirect the revolution in a backward direction.

Of course, all these developments are far from what the Arab peoples want, as it would be more of the same thing: the same old dogs with different collars. That is not why they have gone to the streets and died, so this outcome is obviously not going to be satisfactory enough. 

Watching with concern but also still with much hope.


* ...but the Jungle is even greater, said the native Amazonian wisely.

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