ICSR BLOG SERIES Part 3: Atkin Fellow Perspectives on the Arab Spring
Regaining the feeling of pride and dignity to be an Arab
It is such bliss to be alive and witness the toppling of ruthless regimes that have tried in vain to disseminate the will and power of the people in the Arab world. Arab youth in their struggle for democratic values of freedom of expression, social justice, rule of law and transparency have proved that their dreams and aspirations do not vary much from their counterparts in the west. These transformations revive the potential of young leaders to assert their aspirations and reclaim their political rights.
The old regimes have proved once and for all that the western pre-conceptions and generalisations about the Arab world are faulty and incorrect. The masses in the street have proved to Western governments and spectators from all around the world that backwardness and un-democratic stances which have shaped Western thinking about the Arabs only describes the Western-supported dictators. Millions in Egypt, Tunis, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria chanted and demonstrated for a peaceful transition to democracy, government transparency and an end to the cruelty of their regimes.
However, the euphoric feeling shared by these people who are victorious against their regimes is rarely resonating positively within the Israeli government and people, who are observing the unfolding events with wariness, anxiety and even some neglect. The stability of the previous regimes has maintained a status quo which Israel has found beneficial to its security and interests. Nevertheless, it’s high time for Israel to view the uprisings not as a source of threat and alarm, but to embrace them and push forward a similar demand for an agreement with the Palestinians to put an end to a shameless and unjust occupation of Palestinian land and people.
These sentiments of hope are very encouraging for every-one striving for freedom and emancipation from dictatorship. However, the job is far from done. Overthrowing such malignant regimes and eliminating all the injustices entrenched in the lives and minds of the people for decades will not occur overnight. It is vital that the next stages of these uprisings overcome attempts of ‘hijacking’ by internal political interests and external agendas and find balanced international support to help them make this a transition to a peaceful and democratic Middle East.