When Mubarak relinquished his 30 year hold of Egyptians affairs on the 11th of February, my Facebook News feed got inundated by speculations about which country is to follow next. Already there have been mass protests in many Arab countries and time will tell how many more dominos are there to fall.
The rallying call for all these protests has been democracy, a notion invented by the Ancient Greeks and championed most by none other than the might US of A. Democracy is chaotic, it is messy and dirty and corrupt. In most cases, predators lurk behind closed quarters in the guise of this ancient Greek concept. It is filled with flaws and is nothing but imperfect, but still it ensures the most basic of all human rights – the right to freedom, the right to decide what we want…
The things we in the Western countries take for granted is not that easily accessible for a vast section of the human race. Out of the 22 members of the Arab League, only the people of Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories have the right to vote and select their representatives in relatively free and fair elections. The remaining 19 countries have a dictator ruling them in one form or the other. With Tunisia and Egypt showing the real grassroot power of the people, 17 more dominoes remain standing.
But the issue is whether we in the West are ready to face such a massive push for liberation and democracy. Gary Younge put it aptly when he said that “the west supports democracy when democracy supports the west”. Inspite of what the mighty US of A and president Obama says about supporting democracy, America has always supported the dictators who have agreed to toe its line. Though it attacked Saddam Hussain’s Iraq, it turned and continues to turn a blind eye to the tyrannical monarchy in Saudi Arabia. Because of Mubarak’s support for the peace treaty with Isreal, America has always looked the other way when the question came to human rights abuse by the former president’s hooligans.
It is this double standard that has created so much hatred for this truly great country in most of the Arab and Muslim world. Now, the land of the Pharaohs is in a limbo with the Army having interim control of the situation. The situation can go in any direction from here – the Muslim Brotherhood may take control and turn it into a second Iran or it might go the Turkish way with the youngsters in charge. What ever direction it takes, Washington, London and all the other so called guardians of democracy will have a major role to play.
I am pretty sure that with Mubarak’s fall, Washington has lost one of its most important dominoes in the Middle East. It might be a time for grim round table discussions for the leaders there, but for the majority of us, it is a time for celebration. The young people of our generation has done it again. Two down, Seventeen more to go… One at a time.