The Arab Autumn
AN EXCELLENT ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDED READING
by ESAM AL-AMIN
"....However, the popular uprisings sweeping much of the Arab world this year are facing three crucial predicaments. How the different sides in each political theatre deal with these critical issues will determine the future of these societies, as they undergo their genuine popular revolutions, and a change in leadership, for the first time in decades....
Although each country has its own local conditions and special circumstances, there are many common factors facing the uprisings of the Arab spring. In particular, there are three main intricate challenges engulfing the Arab revolts since their inception.
1. The revolutionaries are not in charge
....In short, revolutions are about fundamental transformations to the political structure and power relationships in the country as well as the redistribution of resources within society, not a change in personalities or modalities.
But so far much of the changes have been cosmetic and superficial. Unless those who led the revolutions, sacrificing their blood and livelihoods along the way, are elected and put in charge to lead the reforms and carry out the demands of the people, no genuine change can actually take place.
2. The role of Islam in society
....But the role of Islam in society should not be a source of tension and discord among political groups. There is no denying that Islam, as a religion and culture, has played a major role in shaping the identity and history of the region for over a millennium. This heritage and legacy will undoubtedly play a significant role in shaping the future of the region within the democratic nature of the civil state.
Thus for the objectives of the revolutions to be realized, both ideological camps should commit themselves to the principles of democratic governance and respect the will of the people with no imposition of one’s vision over the other.
3. The role of foreign powers
....The continuation of foreign interference in the internal affairs of the Arab World, particularly in the countries where the people have asserted their will and taken to the streets to topple their dictators, will continue to sour Arab public opinion against the West. Because of its unabashed meddling, it is questionable whether the U.S. and other Western countries truly respect and honor the will of the Arab people and their aspirations for freedom and self-determination."