Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pivotal Moment in Arab World

The American Revolution 1776, The French Revolution 1789....The Egyptian Revolution (?) 2011....

Self determination has been a shaping factor in world history and is now a central dynamic in the Arab speaking world. Many countries have lived under autocratic regimes with western sanction for quite some time partly because of the fears of advancing democratic interests.

An excellent editorial comment in The Guardian provides historical context and a review of events in the region over the last few weeks. Then there is the assertion,

"But more profoundly, the upheaval now spreading across the Arab world is at heart a movement for self-determination: a demand by the peoples of the region to run their own affairs, free of the dead hand of largely foreign-backed tyrannies. It's not a coincidence, or the product of some defect in Arab culture, that the Middle East has the largest collection of autocratic states in the world.

Most survive on a western lifeline, and the result across the region has been social and economic stagnation. There is a real sense in which, despite the powerful challenge of Arab nationalism in the 50s and 60s, the Arab world has never been fully decolonised....

Whatever now happens, the forces that have been unleashed, in Egypt and beyond, cannot be turned back."