Saddest of all is the fact that Arab masses lack the ability to even vent their frustrations, having lived under a tight grip for decades and crushed mercilessly whenever they dared to march for their rights.
By Ramzy Baroud
Special to PalestineChronicle.com
".....The Iraq scenario has set a dreadful precedent. Those not content by their current rulers were forced to rethink their priorities when they saw the US-induced chaos in Iraq in action. Those who giddily capitalized on the democracy window were mercilessly crushed. Palestinians were subdued and democracy was snatched away from its proper owners, the majority of the people, and was handed back to the corrupt few. In Egypt, coercion and corruption during elections has managed to maintain the status quo.
There are no easy answers here, no snappy recommendations or full-proof solutions. The task is truly overwhelming. But it is clear that the true interests of the Arab peoples can only be served by Arabs themselves; reforms can not be imposed, true, but that is impossible to achieve under the current power relations - rulers setting themselves up as unquestionably superior to their people, TV channels promoting rampant consumerism and providing endless distraction, and uncountable multitudes seeking deliverance, escapism and, often, falling prey to extremism. For Arab countries to have some hope of a meaningful future (and indeed present), grassroots work must replace intellectual detachment, wealth must be invested in building self-sustained societies, and, most importantly, the dignity of Arab women and men must be preserved above all else."