Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The end or the beginning...or more of the same?

The Arab world - at least parts of it - is in flames. Over the last few months, the people of Tunisia and Egypt have overthrown long ruling heads of state. This unrest has spread to other countries in the region including Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and others.

What is unclear however is what happens after. In Egypt, Mubarak has fled. However a case of limbo seems to remain. The military are in control, but neither secular nor Islamist parties have succeeded in taking power. It remains to be seen if elections will be held as promised and who will come to power.

While this feeble mind would like to express hope, it tends to demur...cynically perhaps. Too often revolution has produced misery rather than opportunity. Will a more religious form of governance take root? What are the implications if this were to happen? Apart from this however, it is uplifting to see people come out to attempt to change their lot. Over the next few years the machination behind the uprising may come to light. However, for many ordinary people, it appears that they were biding their time to rise against ruling despots and did so in a selfless and patriotic manner. One hopes that their sacrifice does not result in another quasi despotic or myopically religious state.

What one sees in the people is a sense of fed-upness at cynical attempts to garner favors by invoking the patriotic or the religious or the "foreign power" card. It appears that people just want to be left alone and given freedom to pursue their dreams without an overbearing nanny state that decides their every move and punishes harshly if they stray.

Is that too much to ask for?

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