Saturday, January 29, 2011

Freedom, yes, but ...

Could 2011 be the winter of discontent in the Middle East that finally leads to the end of the slavement of nearly 280 million Arabs?   One certainly hopes so.   After the success of the revolt in Tunisia earlier this week Egypt has been rocked by several days of protests there in a bid to end the 30 year rule of Hosni Mubarak.  The principle is simple:   People should have the right to choose their leaders and govern their country the way they want.

When kleptocracy and authoritarianism is the rule, people eventually will snap under the strain.   We often say here in Canada that we were the product of an evolution, not a revolution -- but that's not really true; we never would have had responsible government, the first step to home rule in 1867 and then independence in 1931, unless we first had the failed but necessary revolutions of 1837.   The Family Compact and the Château Clique were, to use a now contemporary phrase, only in it for themselves -- not for the people and they had to be rid of.

A big concern for the West however is what it means for the resolution of the Middle East "problem".   Most Arab states do not as a principle recognize the state of Israel and I suspect many if not most of the participants in the rebellions hate Israel even more.  Part of our problem (and hypocrisy) is that in order to "contain" things we have made the conscious decision to prop up regimes that, corrupt as they may be, do not want matters with the Jewish state to get even worse.

So in the coming days, yes, we must support our Arab brothers and sisters in their struggle for freedom, and that it's freedom on their terms.   But let's also be prepared to deal with what is more than just a potential nuisance but indeed the whole linchpin of what defines the Middle East.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The concern I have is who is behind the protests. Replacing bad for worse seems likely as the largest single faction in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood.