Saturday, January 29, 2011
When seen against this backdrop , Hosni Mubarak, in his speech last night, comes across as alarmingly out of touch. While Ben Ali quickly read the writing on the wall, Mubarak seems to be ready to let his country go up in flames before giving an inch. Then there is King Abdallah, another one with their head in the sand, coming out in support of Mubarak. While few could have foreseen the scale and speed of what has transpired in the last two weeks, Arab leaders across the Middle East ignore its implications at their own peril. The formula of most Arab leaders, "autocracy with stability is better than chaos", which is used to lull their people into submission has outlived its usefulness; it is history. In fact, the opposite is true, without expeditious implementation of real reform , chaos is assured.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
One can only hope that the passion of the people of Tunisia is infectious and that other citizens of the region are aroused from their slumber. It will not be, I suspect, like a rapidly spreading epidemic and more like a slow virus. It is likely that it is Tunisia's particular circumstances that made such a popular uprising leading to a non-violent change in government possible. Regardless, the Tunisians set a precedent that is hard to ignore. Political and civil society activists in the region will certainly learn a lot from the Tunisian experience.
Meanwhile, the Syrian blogsphere remains in slumber mode. Except for some sharp commentary by Qunfuz, one would think that not much is happening across the Mediterranean.
(Photo: Tunisian students spelling out the words: No to murder)