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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/16/11

The Arab World: Ruled by dinosaurs, changed by the courageous young

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One cry has become the emblem of the revolution in the entire Arab world "The people want the fall of the regime", Arabic- "Alshaab youreed isqat elnidham".   The standard response of every dictator in the Arab world is: Who, me? Then they blame everything and everybody except themselves.   What arrogance!   In fact, to any objective observer of the Middle East, the question is not why the revolution is happening, but why has it taken so long?

News reports (15 March) detail the arrival in Bahrain of police units and troops (1500) from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They point the finger of blame for the demonstrations in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia at Iran.   Again, it is the same mindset; we the rulers are perfect, nothing we do could possibly cause people to demonstrate and complain; it is somebody else's fault.   Apart from insulting the intelligence of these young revolutionaries, who are facing extreme violence with nothing more than their bodies, it shows a total lack of ability to see events through the eyes of the protesters.  

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates sending troops and security personnel to Bahrain will have the effect of changing a struggle for fairness, justice and freedom  into a sectarian one, a very bad move that carries within it destructive and dangerous forces, similar to those that tore apart Iraqi society following the illegal war on that unfortunate country. If the aim of the Saudi intervention is to curb Iranian influence in the region, I believe sending their troops to Bahrain will have the opposite effect.  

The Arab revolution has not been religious or sectarian.   The Saudi intervention could well push it in that direction, which would be detrimental to the interests of the population of the region, Shia, Sunni and everyone else, with negative consequences worldwide.

The Americans are still incapable of making a mental leap to realise that the Arab world has changed, and resort to their usual meaningless platitudes, with the White House spokesman, J Gurney, reported in the Guardian saying: "we urge the government of Bahrain, as we have repeatedly, as well as other Gulf Co-operation council countries [Oman Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates], to exercise restraint".

This glorious Arab revolution is one. The aims are common; human rights, an end to endemic corruption, justice, democracy and freedom.   It is bad enough to have tyranny and despotism, but to have all of that with incompetence and wasting of resources on a scale that condemns large numbers of young educated people to a life of poverty and misery is too much to bear. This is contrasted with the obscene wealth acquired by the ruling elite through pillaging the wealth of the nation. The rulers cannot comprehend that the forces driving the rage of the young in the Arab world, for which many have paid the ultimate price, are the same.  

The young want the right to be able to influence the future through open debate, discussion, and the right to associate freely, and to build institutions to fight for power through the ballot box.   They want societies where the rule of law is universal and makes no distinction between the prince and the pauper.   Is that too much to ask?   If people are denied all of that, they do not need additional external influences or powers to rise against such injustice and tyranny.  

The young can now communicate at the speed of light, and they can compare their lives with those of others who do have most of those rights. Is it surprising that they want the same?   This speed of communication is a game changer, but it is beyond the understanding of the fossilised corpses that rule the Arab world.  

Commentators continuously remind everyone about the Sunni and Shia divide.   No one seems to grasp the fact that the young have moved beyond these narrow confines of ethnicity and religious affiliation.   Their rulers are also obsessed with these irrelevant distinctions between people. This is why a wide gulf in understanding exists between the ruling dinosaurs and the revolutionary young.

Addressing injustices in Arab societies, believing in the universality of human rights regardless of ethnicity and religious affiliation, genuine democracy, and freedom are the best defence the Arabs have against Iranian influence.

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Dr Adnan Al-Daini took early retirement in 2005 as a principal lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at a British University. His PhD in Mechanical Engineering is from Birmingham University, UK. He has published numerous applied scientific research (more...)
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