A Loud Dinner! |
Al Hayat - 09 May, 2012
Author: Jameel Theyabi
A short while ago, around a table encircled by showers of rain and the sound of hail, I sat with three friends in a restaurant in London overlooking the River Thames to have a dinner that is low in calories but rich in talk. The conversation did not tackle the weather, but rather the political and economic hallways, and featured a reading into the present and future of the Arab states - whether big or small - their young citizens, their hopes and aspirations. The dust glistening in the skies of Gulf capitals was addressed, while the killing in Syria prompted deep sighs filled with the pain and anger caused by the defeatist international stand. The majority of the Arab problems were present around that table, one which was filled with seriousness and dialectic, far away from any governmental control or popular slogans. The conversation was loud and had it occurred in an Arab city, the reward would have been solitary confinement. The discussion was ongoing around that table, far away from subconscious outbidding, praise or slander parties.
At first, we tackled what could be perceived as positive in the Arab world, starting with the courageous projects aiming at serving the development of the people, so that we are not accused of being promoters of pessimism and of neglecting all that could prompt optimism. We thus believed that the Saudi project of the scientific missions with around 150,000 male and female students dispatched to top European, American and Asian universities, to be among the projects which will have cognitive consequences on Saudi society. One of us wondered at this level: Will the Saudis not learn more than ever before that the rights in their countries are not granted in full and in an undivided way?
As to the Gulf states, they seem to be concerned about the Iranian interferences and threats on one hand, and about the behavior of the Islamic groups and especially the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda on the other. Moreover, they are terrified by the tone of the courageous reformatory demands.
The Red Sea then led us toward another friend, i.e. Sudan, and I quickly said that its President Omar al-Bashir was continuing to bestow his yelling and threats upon us, has divided Sudan into two states without any shame and is still issuing warnings and criticisms targeting the Arab rulers who have been in their posts forever, although he has been sitting on his presidential chair for over two decades. What is odd at this level is that the Sudanese people are still in deep sleep!
In Iraq, there is a prime minister whose name is Nouri but who has been part of Iraq’s darkness until this day. He is affiliated with Iran with a rank of “democratic masterpiece.” Moreover, his behavior is alarming as he came to Iraq on top of an American tank to liberate it from Saddam Hussein, but turned into another Saddam himself. He even contributed to the increase of division and sectarianism among the Iraqis, as though he wishes to vacate Iraq of its people and surrender it to Iran in full.
In Syria, a brutal and bloody regime led by murderers and tyrants is insisting on staying in power, even if by killing the entire population. In the meantime, Al-Assad’s thugs are still resisting the people’s revolution with murder, lynching, harassment, imprisonment and torture. In Syria, blood and limbs are spreading due to legitimate popular calls which do not exceed the level of freedom, dignity and justice, while the United Nations is still lying and is now perceived by the populations as being a partner in the crime.
In Egypt, the repercussions of the revolution are still present on the breakfast table of people who woke up after years of Mubarak’s rule to the joy of victory, the ballot boxes and the anticipation of the presidential elections. Hence, this major Arab state will continue to vacillate for many years to come, and will keep seeking the prevalence of the law in light of the conviction of some that only protests and sabotage can reinstate the rights and handle the domestic files.
In Yemen on the other hand, there is fear that the country will turn into a failed state. However, the courageous decisions adopted by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to oust 20 military commanders and four governors among the supporters of former President Saleh, as well as his statements about the eradication of the terrorism of Al-Qaeda, are all heralding positive things ahead. In the meantime, the Yemenis are placing a lot of hope on Hadi to lead the country out of the recovery room and toward a better clinical state. The Yemeni people with all their factions are still expecting Hadi to be a flexible but strong leader, capable of eradicating corruption and resolving the problems of unemployment, poverty and illiteracy!
In Jordan, the play of the government change and the instatement of a new one is still ongoing, while the internal situation is improving at a very slow pace. On the other hand, the dispute and division between the Palestinians is still governing the local arena, and it seems that Fatah and Hamas have become accustomed to the authority of flashes and addicted to the multiple reconciliation conferences that have turned into a scarecrow and a product used by their leaders instead of tending to the Palestinian cause.
In Lebanon, the situation remains as it is, as the warmongers are still influential and their status and appearance are still unaffected even during the Arab spring. In the Arab Maghreb, Tunisia is still an Arab school at the level of the calm popular uprising which looks like an attractive woman that ought to be cloned. But revolutions cannot be cloned. For its part, Morocco was able to introduce reforms and respond to the calls of the street, which allowed stability to prevail throughout the Kingdom. Its neighbor Algeria on the other hand is still witnessing a tug of war and knows no other leader but Bouteflika. As to Libya, it has been absent from the Arab media ever since Zanga-Muammar Gaddafi died, but looks like it can walk on both thorns and roses.
What is certain is that the relationship between the Arab governments and populations will not be just, stable, interactive and healthy without real reforms that would enhance popular participation, transparency and social justice. If this is not done, all the solutions will remain mere anesthetics placed on deep wounds which will not heal any time soon.
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