A Different SkyBy amicus • Feb 2nd, 2011 • Category: Politics, Worth A Second Look • 9 Comments
The USA led Western Compact in Middle East, North Africa and West Asia has broken. Pakistan’ s entrenched elitist establishment is not even aware of the Tsunami heading their way. A popular uprising is around the corner.
The attempt to establish a post-colonial order of kings and strongmen to replace the British and French colonial rule over the Arab Muslim world was doomed from the start. Native officers who had been trained by the British and the French to fight their wars overthrew some of the kings. The officers who overthrew them became strongmen themselves.
The recently deposed Ben Ali was a Tunisian officer trained in French and American schools, who had helped push out the French and his predecessor.
Egypt’s Mubarak was an Air Force officer who replaced Sadat, who replaced Nasser—all members of the Free Officers Movement, which overthrew the Egyptian monarchy.
Saddam Hussein took power in a coup against the coup led by army officers, which had deposed the King of Iraq. Syria’s Assad was an Air Force officer who took power after a long series of coups by army officers that it would take too long to list. If you’re seeing a pattern here, congratulations and welcome to the Middle East.
The only Middle-Eastern Arab countries which held onto their monarchies, were either oil rich enough to spread the wealth to the important families and retain only a weak military to avoid the risk of being overthrown by their own army while relying on US protection (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE) or so small and deliberately apolitical to avoid attention (Jordan, Morocco).
The rest ended up with military strongmen, some backed by the US, some backed by the Soviet Union. The Soviet backed strongmen usually unveiled some poorly thought out version of Arab Socialism.
The US backed strongmen just stuck to taking a cut of everything and packing it away in foreign banks.
But there was a ticking time bomb underneath these pyramids of wealth and misery. Islam. The kings had been nothing more than British puppets.
The strongmen that replaced them were the apex of a new praetorian guard. Despite whatever philosophies they brought to the table, sooner or later they tried to become kings as well.
Syria’s Assad passed power on to his son. Saddam was preparing his sons to oversee his own dynasty. In Egypt, Mubarak was trying to do the same thing. But they have no tradition and no history on their side.
Their rule is a farce in which they call themselves presidents and prime ministers, and go through the pretense of holding elections, but function like absolute monarchs. An unbalanced situation that eventually implodes.
The Arab/Muslim countries may hold elections, but it is a long way from accepting notions such as equality, open access or guaranteed freedoms. Its rulers will occasionally sign on to UN covenants on women’s rights or religious rights, without ever taking them seriously.
The idea that one man is just as good as another, regardless of his family or religion, is a completely alien one to them. A woman being just as good as a man is not even a conversation starter.
But there is a seeming alternative, a different power structure than a corrupt dictator and his thugs. One based not on power, greed and family—but religion. Islam.
The brutality of the Egyptian and Tunisian police and their stooges, the uprisings of the masses took real courage.
Over the years, dictator Hosni Mubarak has traded on their fear using some of the foulest methods of intimidation imaginable.
But like their counterparts in Tunisia, the Egyptian people are losing their fear and tearing away the chains of oppression.
Whatever the outcome over the next few weeks, it is clear that America and Britain can no longer manipulate and control the politics -or lack of it -in the Middle East.
Washington’s silence over the weeks of civil unrest on the streets of Tunisia was almost deafening, hence when Barack Obama chose to congratulate the uprising, only once Zine El Abidine Ben Ali s plane was in the air, his message of support for the people rang hollow. Today he urged the Egyptian authorities to show restraint.
The world’s most powerful man’s weasel words tripped from his lips as blood was shed on the streets of Cairo, Assiut, Alexandria, Mansura, Tanta and Aswan as the people faced down 2.5 million uniformed and plain clothes thugs using water cannon and teargas.
Is the blood of a Muslim worth less than that of an American? It’s a rhetorical question and we all know the shameful answer.
With the exception of Iraq (and let’s not go down the road of who created and supported Saddam), all of the governments in the Middle East are identified by their Western-installed family dynasties, sham democracies, rigged elections punctuated by extreme reaction to any signs of dissenting voices.
Pakistan is “the only American ally that the US regularly bombs”. With every passing day, Pakistan is fast slipping in to chaos and anarchy. As if the threats posed by militancy, extremism, terrorism and foreign-aided insurgencies were not enough; the ‘governance’ by the civilian-democratic set-up is marred by:
1. Systematic loot and plunder of national wealth, non-transparent deals, massive corruption and favoritism in every government department.
2. Gross mismanagement of state owned corporations and organizations, including those responsible for providing basic civic amenities.
3. Complete breakdown of law and order, and perennial insecurity of the life and property of the citizens.
4. Incompetence and inaptitude, to frame and implement proper policies.
Compounded by economic meltdown and resultant unemployment and rampant inflation, high cost of living, spiraling fuel and energy prices are leading Pakistan to a point where it is dubbed as a ‘failed state’. (Stephen Cohen)
The worst-case scenarios being painted:
1. The international community may need to act to seize Pakistan’s nuclear assets on the pretext or real apprehension that they might fall into the hands of ‘terrorists’.
2. The centrifugal forces may become sufficiently strong to bring about the disintegration of Pakistani federation perhaps on the Yugoslav or some similar model.
3. The federal government may lose control of some parts of the country’s territory.
4. A stark reality of a popular uprising.
Instead of taking urgent measures and developing a comprehensive strategy to address, the challenges those confront Pakistan, the whole focus of the Zardari-Gilani duo is on prolonging its stay in power.
The political forces within the parliament, particularly the PML (N), are reluctant to attempt to bring about any in-house change or compel the Prime Minister to advise the President for the dissolution of the National Assembly, fearing that the democratic system might derail.
Since the ultimate responsibility to safeguard Pakistan’s political independence, national security and territorial integrity is on the shoulder of the people of Pakistan, Judiciary and the Pakistan Armed Forces, it is time to press for course correction.
The perception of ‘neutrality’ for allowing the democracy to flourish as ‘indifference’ on the part of the people has contributed to our malaise in a large measure and emboldened the political elite to indulge in unfettered and unchecked indulgence in corruption and mismanagement of the economy and state policies generally.
The people are getting restive, there is a strong feeling that something should be done before it is too late.
There is a misconception about people of Pakistan. That they are lacking in understanding of Hannah Arndt’s term, ‘The have-nots must know that they are equal in dignity and in rights with the haves, and formulate the demand for the concrete fulfillment of this right to be an equal’.
The people of Pakistan do know that this ought to be the case but it is not. Hence the discontent is only skin deep, lurking to manifest. The happenings in Tunis and Egypt are a wake up call.
The recent happenings in Tunis (Tunisia) ought to be a revelation. The entrenched regime of over twenty years is taken out. There is total collapse of state authority. The people have taken their affairs in their own hands, opened the dyke, and said no to status quo.
The chain of events that led to his exile had started with the suicide of Mohammed Bouazizi, a young fruit vendor who set himself alight in protest at police seizing his cart. Now the Middle East was trembling with anticipation: who would fall next?
The people of Egypt said Hosni Mobarak. It all began, ironically, on the annual Police Day, when the Egyptian regime calls on its people to honor its widely despised police force.
For the third year running, a group of young Egyptians had posted a notice on Facebook calling for a protest to mark the day as day of protest.
For the third year running, a group of young Egyptians had posted a notice on Facebook calling for a protest to mark the day. They wanted to highlight police abuse.
Little had happened on the previous two occasions. But this year, Police Day fell just 11 days after street protests in Tunis forced Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian president, to flee to Saudi Arabia.
The have-nots in Pakistan know that they are equal in dignity and in rights with the haves, and are ready to demand for the concrete fulfillment of this right to be an equal. The happening in Tunis and Egypt, are inspiring, where the armed forces had to heed to better counsel and not make the people believe that they have abdicated their accord with the people and the state.
Any further delay on the part of the Politicians and other power centers to understand and address the extremely complicated and serious problems effecting the people would invite their wrath and visit up on them, ignited by a suicide, a forced memorial day or anything.
Let happenings in Tunis and Egypt be a strong, loud and clear message to the political forces, that enough is enough. The people are no more prepared to let the things drag on more. Either the political forces should mend their ways and improve governance on top priority basis or face the consequences.
These happenings in the region is taking place in Muslim countries, Pakistan too is a Muslim country, with identical political, economic and exploitation and ethos. It ought to clear to political forces and the ruling elite to change or you will be changed.
Mr. Prime Minister, you are right conditions in Pakistan are different from Tunis and Egypt. In Pakistan they are far more worst.