Monday, February 28, 2011

Revolution 2011: True Democracy for the Arab World?

Even though US President George W. Bush failed miserably to bring one to the Arab World, will the one started in Tunisia earlier this year finally bring true democracy to the Arab World?

By: Ringo Bones

For a very long time, the Arab World has faced only two real choices for leadership: either a) a pro-Western despot or b) Anti-Western Islamism. Fortunately, since the martyrdom of a Tunisian activist named Mohamed Bouazizi, the Arab World now has a chance to experience true-blue democracy where everyone has a voice on how their government’s should be run instead of an autocratic rule by a single individual or a secretive cabal. The question now on everyone’s mind is: does the recent popular revolution that started in Tunisia that’s spreading throughout less-than-democratic Arab states will change the region for the better?

Fortunately, there are very hopeful signs that the recent wave of popular uprisings in the Arab World could change the region for the better. Egypt’s president-for-life Hosni Mubarak recently stepped down out of – we hope – concern for the escalating casualties of Egyptian demonstrators. Two Libyan fighter pilots defecting to Malta with their fighter planes back in February 22 after refusing orders from Muammar Gaddafi to strafe unarmed Libyan demonstrators.

Unknown to most of the Western public-at-large, lack of opportunities for young graduates, poverty and high food prices are only part of the gripes that drove Arab youths in a wave of popular revolts helped by internet-based social networking sites. These uprisings are – in truth - largely driven by denial of governmental decision making of the citizenry by their despotic powers-that-be. As of late, the King of Saudi Arabia had recently been handing out “dole money” to the young citizenry to pacify them, but if the Royal House of Saud wants to avoid a widespread revolt while they still can, it would be better if they provide their young, well-educated citizenry more participation in the day-to-day decision making of their government.