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Why Tunisia Changed the World

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   1 comment
Message shamus cooke
woke up the Middle East with a thundering yawn. After years of
domination by western-backed tyrants, the working people of the Arab
world are rising from slumber. Once fully awake and aware of their
surroundings, they'll shake off the influence of the western nations
with a collective flick of the wrist. 

The elites of the Middle East and their western benefactors are
petrified. The revolution in Tunisia deposed of two Presidents in 48
hours, and the vast energy of the people has already spilled over its
borders, immediately affecting the politics of Algeria, Jordan, and
Egypt. The Guardian reports:

"Tunisia's "jasmine revolution" sent new shock waves across north
Africa today, with a copycat suicide protest reported in Algeria and
official dismay in Libya...Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and Morocco are seen
as the other countries most likely to face serious popular unrest over
unemployment, corruption and hopelessness, though social, political and
economic conditions vary considerably between them." (January 16, 2011).

The political implications are enormous. The Middle East and North
African states are viewed as the most strategic colonies in the world,
thanks to their enormous energy reserves that has spawned two recent
major U.S. invasions. 

Since World War I the United States, England, and France have worked
together to subdue this region, financing an endless string of brutal
dictatorships to ensure a seamless flow of billions to western

Obama had nothing negative to say about Tunisia's recently deposed
dictator until he was fleeing the country. The U.S. was happy with the
status-quo of brutality, much like Obama remains uncritical of the
U.S.-backed dictators of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, etc. 

But when the Tunisian status quo became upset, so did Obama.
Suddenly, Obama disowns his dictator friend and tells the Tunisians that
he applauds their "courage and dignity."  Hypocrisy run amok. 

damage control has already begun, as the U.S. and France are furiously
working behind the scenes to prevent any significant progressive
change.  They are attempting to cobble together a "national unity"
government in Tunisia: the same rotten politicians with a few opposition
candidates sprinkled in, pursuing the same foul agenda.

But the situation is not so easily controlled in Tunisia and beyond.
The New York Times recently commented on the extremely fragile
situation in the Middle East, predicting doom for western-backed Arab

"...Arab states looked exhausted, ossified and ideologically bankrupt,
surviving merely to perpetuate themselves. Never has the divide between
ruler and ruled seemed so yawning, and perhaps never has it been so

The article also exposed the role of the U.S. in the region: 

United States is also blamed failing to end the Arab-Israeli
conflict, rejecting engagement with Islamist movements and helping prop
up governments like Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's that seem incapable of
reforming themselves. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton scolded
some of those allies last week for that lack of reform, though forgoing
mention that some of the most dictatorial are some of America's closest
allies." (January 16, 2011).

To summarize: the western-backed Arab states must reform themselves
to survive, but the U.S. does not want any reform.  This is because any
real reform movement would demand that the dozens of U.S. military bases
in the region be shut down, while U.S. economic policies be reversed,
so that social needs could trump corporate profits from oil, wars, and
U.S.-dominated markets. 

An op-ed piece in Al-Jazeera was more blunt, entitled: To the Tyrants of the Arab World:

Tunisian uprising...has brought down the walls of fear, erected by
repression and marginalization, thus restoring the Arab peoples' faith
in their ability to demand social justice and end tyranny... It is a
warning to all leaders, whether supported by international or regional
powers, that they are no longer immune to popular outcries of fury."
(January 16, 2011).

A different reason why the Arab world is especially open to
revolution now is the world economy. The two main demands of the
Tunisian people revolve around unemployment and food prices, which are
both spiraling out of control throughout the Middle East and North

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Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (
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