Sunday, February 20, 2011

Games within the game

‘To go fast one need to go alone and to go far, go together' is an African proverb. Egyptian ousted President Mubarak seems to know it well - by choosing to go fast in last 29 years amassing the wealth and protect his power. The military rulers and dictators taught the people that ‘revolution is the only method to remove a tyranny or to change the governing system' and inevitably they themselves fell victims to their own system. Egypt is the latest example. The impact of Egyptian revolution is much more than Tunisia's Jasmine revolution in early 2011. Egyptians not only threw out the champion of Arab, the strong man of Egypt Mr. Hosni Mubarak, but also shook up the world. The reverberations are consequential at least to tyrannies around Egypt but it’s interesting to watch how the other regimes are responding to it.

Middle East is a rich, but poor block of the world - by that I mean, Middle East is rich in resources, but poor in prosperity. Middle East requires stability in peace, but peace alone cannot bring prosperity. Peace is the precondition to prosperity followed with the cultivation of amenable governing system and accountability culture in all level. Egypt being a part of the Middle East positioned it as a ‘Chief facilitator' of various policies that fit in the region's peace, but not prosperity. They billed and received payments regularly, in other word, aids from USA and GCC countries but did not properly utilize it to develop the country's economy. Egypt failed miserably to benefit from the position of Chief facilitator because of the system. The ruling system in Egypt limited with a few influential and powerful people and we all know the objectives of such powerful people. The system allowed siphoning the major share of payments to their personal coffers. Rulers might have thought the billing is to take care of peace treaties only and let the people to mend their own ways to prosperity.

The new generation, unlike the old with penchant patience, is growing with restless attitude and approach. In ever widening competitive market and living circumstances, the majority, in other word the ‘common people' are completely sidelined or failing themselves. Intelligent and qualified people know their road well and will not wait for government initiations, but these common ordinary mass require government initiation and protection in building their life supports. They expect support and opportunities from government and their demand is a genuine one. How long can these leaders ignore this common, but powerful majority?

Egyptians might have succeeded in their goal of removing a corrupt leader and even will change the governing system, but the Middle East is not going to be the same. A new Middle East is in the making. It is not an Islamic awakening as pronounced by the Iran President. It is simply, Arab awakening. Yes, the fall of Mubarak is the beginning of change. The change is not about the rulers only, but about the perception of Arabs at large and future demands. The change will expose the different connotation of the rugged minds of stereotype western media about Arabs. The change will also expose the pseudo liberals' right across the world. The change will convey that Arabs are no less inferior than any other races and they are very much part of global progress and prosperity.

Yet, the significant change is the approach from Uncle Sam. Bush invested in billions to remove Saddam in the name of democracy and created business and trade opportunities to his country. Obama have invested only his time with strict instruction to Egypt military to keep the guns silent. Ever since the military refused to open the arms, Mubarak understood the 'end' and his desperate attempt was to save his kith and kin including his wealth. Obama's approach created constant doubt in the minds of Arab rulers and most importantly, the Israel government. Israel must find its bearing to work on its own towards peaceful existence in the Middle East. They cannot continue the language of state violence in the name of security.

Israel never lost any opportunity to present millions of case studies on Arabs to brand them as most primitive race and will never co-exist with others, mainly Israelis. Israel portrayed them as the advanced nation looking for co-existence with the Middle Eastern Muslim nations while using all kind of suppressions against poor Palestinian cousins. Every western country looks at Arabs through Israel eyes and allows Israel the license to kill Palestinians in the name of security. All the myth about Arab brutality against Israel is becoming a fairy tale now and Israel is feeling the real heat of Egyptian revolution. It is time for Israel to stop demonizing Arabs and need to agree to the solution of allowing Palestinian to run the country on their own as early as possible. Israel need to talk with Arab leaders and cannot sit behind Uncle Sam, since USA is determined to shed the extra baggage of Israel from their existing burden. Arab leaders have great opportunity to take up this Palestinian cause with sincere approach, which can save their regime and allow the Arabs to retain their pride apart from subsequent reforms in respective countries.

The most notable and historical fact is that Egyptian opposition played a clever role by keeping their figureheads under the carpet and let the ordinary mass to lead the revolution. They know that Mubarak will use the opposition leaders as an excuse to manure both internal and external forces. He always threatened the West using the Islamists as the disaster in waiting. This time, none of those outlawed opposition leaders minced any words in public, where as they were busy in orchestrating Tahrir Symphony in tandem. Egypt's opposition and military understood the language of Obama and pressed towards regime change. Military inaction against ordinary people, in fact they did the right thing, made Mubarak to write his own conclusion and all he needed was a couple of weeks to organize his exit that he did promptly on February 11, 2011. Rest is not history, but a perfect boiling pot that is spiraling in neighboring countries. While Yemen, Algeria, Libya and poor Bahrain are experiencing unrest, one can wonder why Bahrain is pulled into this conflict as they are reasonably doing well considering their size and resources.

Arabs are normally content with what they have, least bothered of their freedom and often conditioned to live with what is ordained mainly due to the religion and culture. The truth is that the world is always not kind enough with Arabs and seldom understood the ground reality. Arabs love freedom but not the western brand of freedom. Arabs like to be relaxed, but not ready to forget or forgive tyrannies. Arabs talk more, but articulate and meaningful. Arabs take their own time to decide, but once decided they won't change and this is what happened ever since they conquered two third of the world and now in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

The influential Arab leader King Abdullah needs to take the lead role in shaping this new development to peace and prosperity. His image as reformer is well established including his love for establishing various educational projects, economic cities and allocating major budgets for education and infra-structure developments for Saudi citizens. The world class King Abdullah University for Science and Technology is another example of his quest for knowledge. Proactive approach in reaching out to various sections of people and putting the reforms on fast track will stabilize the situation towards the interest of larger Arab perspective and ultimately end the region's major problem of Palestine and Israel settlements. The time and situation is ripe and wise leaders like Abdullah should not let this to be hijacked by vested interests.

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