Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The others are bound to wake up, carry on Tunisia

Hassan Al-Haifi

“Yes, brothers and sisters in Tunisia, thanks a million for making us realize that there is some vitality left in a nation killed by a combination of authoritarian dictatorial and oppressive machines that make the feudal kings and the Catholic Church of Europe during the Middle Ages seem like angels sent from Heavens to deliver Mankind!”, said Alia, as she put together a combination of her best homemade cookies for light snacks for her children.

Nabila stretched her hand to dig for the chocolate chip cookies, which her mother buried by some other new cookies she has just learned to make, : “Mom, nothing will ever top your chockos, as far as I am concerned. Mom, don’t delve into matters that could mean we will be deprived of your chockos as the lynch men of the regime take you away from us into an unknown cell bloc in the name of ‘national security” and/or ‘anti terrorism’ in order to placate an American foreign secretary, who has trouble getting on a plane, let alone managing the international affairs of a fast declining power.”

“Notwithstanding the comment about Hillary’s gait, I am at a loss to think what we would do without Mom’s cookies and pies, commented Ahmed as he ran down the stairs also hitting the bottom of the cookie pile as he grabbed a handful on his way to the door, continuing, “I just can’t wait until our people take a hint from Tunisia and realize that ‘Allah does not bring change upon a people, until the people bring a change upon themselves’, as the Lord has rightly said in the Final Heavenly Scriptures to come down from the Throne of the Al-Mighty – No! Make that all the Arabs from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Look, Algeria is already nominated to follow their fellow North African Arabs in Carthage, then Egypt, then the Sudan, then Yemen – although the regime here is trying very hard to show it has some ‘popular support’ – with its puppets, who continue to sell themselves cheap, at the expense of their people’s freedom and the state treasury, intermixing with protestors to show that there is a ‘two sided’ story here.”

Nabila remarked: “Dictatorships are a one sided story, no matter where they are and no matter how much they raise the pictures of the dictators they serve, which are by the way printed at Government presses and costed at five times their normal costs. How long can these crooks continue to rob their people, even at bad times for them as well, an even as their thrones are being challenged by the masses they have literally bled for decades?”

The father began to feel a sense of rebellion brewing at his house: “Hey people, be careful, the first one they will come for is yours truly. But then, I can’t blame you and the kids; the whole country is fed up from Sa’ada to Aden. Yes, we need a change, for sure. But how this Tunisian Tsunami going to hit Yemen remains to be seen. The point to make here is that the present status quo is absolutely unsustainable any more. But the tide will be big and powerful and not just a ripple.”

But dad, the Arab League just came out with substantial remedies for solving the plight of the discontent and hungry that are bound to calm the whining masses of les Miserable’s throughout the Arab World. On the other hand before Hillary fell on the plane, she assured the world that Yemen is on the roster of allies against terrorism. Whatever that means, it certainly is understood to mean that Obama and friends are in favor of the status quo here in Yemen. It seems that is what she hinted to the “opposition” she met. Never mind that it was the creators of this unlivable status quo who actually imported terrorism into Yemen, systematically, over the span of their hold on authority, thanks to Saudi prodding and support.”

Alia continued talking, noticing that the chocolate chips continue to have first ranking among her cookies: “That is the kind of senseless blind support all these dictators in the Arab World are so happy to sing about, while their subjects have lost the knack for even singing the “blues”, whether inner city or rural.”

Her husband said: “Alia, now I know you have lived in the USA, you seem to know their culture so well, not to mention knowing how footloose they are.”

Alia was not distracted by her husband’s play on semantics about his wife: “ Hillary’s fall has nothing to do with dancing. She fell because, Madeline Al-Bright did for her husband, what she could not do for Barack Obama, manage America’s foreign policy with her feet in steadfast mode.”

The tide begins to turn: First Tunisia and then?

Hassan Al-Haifi
Yemen Times
Time and again, this column has often stated that the kind of events that unfolded in Tunisia are bound to occur in any of the Arab States, which have witnessed sufficient grounds for a mass unfavorable public reaction that certainly would make most of the rulers in the Arab World from Mauritania to Yemen wish they had another chance to see just where did they go wrong? Of course, they forget the underlying fact that the reins of authority have been in their hands for at least two decades. This is bound to be enough cause for uprisings by the public, who feel that their democratic right to a peaceful transfer of authority has been ripped off the ballot box, in one way or another. On the other hand, all of these regimes have their ground roots in distant lands; i. e., they originated under suspicious plots engineered outside of their home turf. The overriding cause of their rise emanates from a desire by autocratic regional powers (at least they regard themselves as powers – although they have proven to be weaker than lambs) to do away with any hopes of democratic practice in the Arab World.

We have seen this kind of regional chess time and again. It happened in Yemen on more than one occasion starting in 1973, when the civilian government of Qadhi Abdul-Rahman Al-Iriani was toppled in a bloodless coup d>état that returned the military to the helms of authority after a seven year tryout with civilian democratic rule. Needless to say, what Yemen was given in return apparently meant perpetual military rule. We certainly could have done better without the change. However, the matter was repeated again in Egypt, in Sudan, Tunisia, Algeria and in Mauritania, where military or totalitarian rule was either confirmed or reinstated, in most cases with the support and prodding of the rich oil magnates of Saudi Arabia. The saddest cases as such are in the Sudan and Mauritania, in which genuine democratic government duly elected by their people after genuinely serious military coups, which were exceptional to the common military coups of cutthroat generals we have seen otherwise. But nevertheless, this was disagreeable to certain autocracies in the region and thus you have regimes like Yemen>s current totalitarian regime, the failed state regime of Sudan, which is now disintegrating rapidly, the failure manifested by the Bin Ali regime in Tunisia, etc.

It is quite clear that governments that insist on stepping on the necks of their constituencies forever are doomed to collapse, sometimes in a violent and disagreeable way, but nevertheless almost unavoidable.

Regimes that rely on sheer gut power and oppressive means of maintaining their hold on authority are bound to witness the kind of healthy erratic civil uprisings that unfolded last week in Tunisia, whether they liked them or not. In Tunisia (as is the case in all the autocratic regimes in the Arab World), we had all the maladies of most of dictatorial states. These include a reliance on family or clan rule, nepotism and favoritism, not to mention the misallocation of fiscal and natural resources to suit political and business ambitions of the icons of the dictatorial regimes and their bought puppets along the socio-economic spheres, so as to guarantee the longevity of these monstrous regimes.

Tunisia now represents for many of the large masses of the population in the Arab World a symbolic stimulus for unfavorable, but nevertheless mass public reactions to sloppy government that characterize Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, and Mauritania. These latter states have a common denominator, in that the regimes of these countries have brought on a hopeless aura of poverty, deprivation and corrupt administrative systems that have bled not only the resources of the countries mentioned, but also the will of the people to carry on with the hope that relief is bound to come. They will obviously eventually reach a boiling point when these people realize that they have reached the pit of hopelessness and despair, brought on by the autocratic corrupt regimes that rule them.

In conclusion, this observer would like to reiterate the memorable words of Rejib Tayyib Erdogan, the Mahathir Mohammed of Turkey, who has worked very hard over the last five years or so to catapult Turkey into a dynamic political and economic giant in the region after having done away with an aging military establishment that froze all chances of Turkey to come out of its stagnation. In an interview with Al-Jazeera program, «Without Limits» the outspoken Turkish leader summed up the situation well in the Arab World, when he analyzed it as follows: «Oppressive rulers are bound to be failure in governance, no matter how many laws a state has. Just rulers are the only guarantee for success, even if a state has the worst laws in the world.»