I dag Ægypten, i morgen den arabiske verden?

Den ægyptisk/amerikanske journalist Mona Eltahawy skriver i The Guardian:

To understand the importance of what’s going in Egypt, take the barricades of 1968 (for a good youthful zing), throw them into a mixer with 1989 and blend to produce the potent brew that the popular uprising in Egypt is preparing to offer the entire region. It’s the most exciting time of my life.

How did they do it? Why now? What took so long? These are the questions I face on news shows scrambling to understand. I struggle with the magnitude of my feelings of watching as my country revolts and I give into tears when I hear my father’s Arabic-inflected accent in the English of Egyptian men screaming at television cameras through tear gas: “I’m doing this for my children. What life is this?”

And Arabs from the Mashreq to the Maghreb are watching, egging on those protesters to topple Hosni Mubarak who has ruled Egypt for 30 years, because they know if he goes, all the other old men will follow, those who have smothered their countries with one hand and robbed them blind with the other. Mubarak is the Berlin Wall. “Down, down with Hosni Mubarak,” resonates through the whole region.

In Yemen, tens and thousands have demanded the ousting of Ali Abdullah Saleh who has ruled them for 33 years. Algeria, Libya and Jordan have had their protests. “I’m in Damascus, but my heart is in Cairo,” a Syrian dissident wrote to me.

My Twitter feed explodes with messages of support and congratulations from Saudis, Palestinians, Moroccans and Sudanese. The real Arab League; not those men who have ruled and claimed to speak in our names and who now claim to feel our pain but only because they know the rage that emerged in Tunisia will soon be felt across the region.

Aljazeera rapporterer, at tropperne i Alexandria og Cairo afviser at skyde på demonstranterne, hvis der kommer ordrer til det:

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the capital, said that soldiers deployed to central Cairo did not intervene in the protests.

“Some of the soldiers here have said that the only way for peace to come to the streets of Cairo is for Mubarak to step down,” he said. (…)

In Suez, Al Jazeera’s Jamal ElShayyal reported that 1,000-2,000 protesters had gathered, and that the military was not confronting them.

ElShayyal quoted a military officer as saying that troops would “not fire a single bullet on Egyptians”.

The officer also said the only solution to the current unrest was “for Mubarak to leave”.

Her er en noget optimistisk besked om opfordring til oprør i andre arabiske lande, der nu cirkulerer på Twitter:

hashtag dates already being planned for Arab world – Sudan Yemen Syria Algeria Bahrain

Det er selvfølgelig alt, alt for tidligt at sige, om der vitterlig kommer til at ske noget andre steder end Ægypten og  Tunesien – og det er også for tidligt at sige, om disse lande overhovedet ender med at blive bedre steder, eller om endnu værre kræfter står og venter i kulissen, som Jarle Petterson er inde på.

Tariq Ramadan har udtrykt en lignende bekymring i en kommentar til udviklingen i Tunesien:

The Tunisian revolution is widely praised ; the former dictator disgraced. But behind the scenes of the public and media theatre, political maneuvering and meddling are continuing apace. The American administration is following developments closely, and is close to events as they unfold in Tunisia. It will do whatever is necessary to protect its interests, and those of Israel and of its allies in Egypt, Jordan and throughout the Middle East. While the issues of Iran and Lebanon appear to have monopolized American and European media attention, we must not minimize the second U.S. front, that of African and regional policy at the risk of naively hailing a “Tunisian revolution” without taking strict account of what remains to be done to ensure its political independence and democratic transparency. And of smiling at the bright promised victory while other forces cynically count, in the shadows, the dividends of their newfound influence and windfall profits.

Noget lignende gælder naturligvis og i endnu højere grad Ægypten.

Mubarak er allerede nu i en situation, hvor han ikke kan drukne oprøret i titusinders blod, som det skete under pariserkommunen i slutningen af det 19. århundrede. Og der er heller ingen, der siger, det behøver blive lige så blodigt som den franske revolution ca. 100 år før.

Det virker oplagt, at de ægyptiske demonstranter blot ønsker et bedre samfund: Jobs, frihed, åbenhed, retssikkerhed, væk med undertrykkelse, censur og politivold. Men: Står der også denne gang en Napoleon (eller en ayatollah Khomeini) klar i kulissen, som kan tage magten, når demonstranterne har jublet ud.

Man kan udtænke alle mulige blide overgange, når først Mubarak er rejst – og det ser det indtil videre ud til, at han faktisk kommer til. Spændende bliver det i hvert fald, og farligt.

Og lad mig dog alligevel slutte i en optimistisk stemning, nemlig med overskriften til Mona Eltahawys førstciterede Guardian-artikel: We’ve waited for this revolution for years. Other despots should quail.

George W. Bush og Mubarak

George W. Bush og Mubarak

“Our friendship is strong. It’s a cornerstone of — one of the main cornerstones of our policy in this region, and it’s based on our shared commitment to peace, security and prosperity.  I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. President, to give you an update on my trip. And I appreciate the advice you’ve given me. You’ve seen a lot in your years as President; you’ve got a great deal of experience, and I appreciate you feeling comfortable in sharing that experience once again with me.  I really appreciate Egypt’s support in the war on terror.

Blot en kommentar til dette.

Den arabiske verden på vej mod “iransk” revolution

Gamle, korrupte magtstrukturer og Vestens interessepolitik med dyrkelse af “lydige” regimer uden skelen til deres demokratiske gøren og laden eller folkelige opbakning kan være ved at gøde jorden for en revolution i den arabiske verden, som kan sammenlignes med den iranske revolution i 1979, skriver Soumaya Ghannoushi i dagens Guardian:

As the promises of development and progress vanished into the smoke of the shanty towns, the Arab state lost its last refuge from its citizens. Stripped of all cover, it degenerated into a terrifying oppression machine. The more depleted its legitimacy, the greater it relied on the police, internal intelligence apparatuses, and on the support of foreign patrons – much like the Shah. Most Arab regimes would not survive without the perpetual use of violence against their citizens and opponents – aided and abetted by their “friends” and allies.

Egypt may represent the clearest manifestation of this state of affairs. For the last decade, its 80-year-old president has been preoccupied with ensuring the accession of his son, Gamal, to the throne of the republic. In the meantime, his country, the most populous in the Arab world, sinks deeper into degeneracy, with receding regional influence, rampant corruption, and millions teetering on the verge of starvation.

this is not to say that the Iranian scenario will be replicated in Egypt – or other Arab countries – or that another Khomeini will soon emerge. History does not repeat itself. What is doubtless though is that many components of the Iranian dynamite are today raging beneath the surface of imposed “stability”, especially as new sociopolitical forces are entering the stage on the ruins of the discredited official elite.

Og den vestlige verden holder i den sammenhæng temmelig konsekvent på de forkerte heste: Diktatoren Mubarak i Ægypten og Saudi-Arabiens kongefamilie er blot de mest eklatatante og beskæmmende eksempler.

Link: Ripe for revolution