Monday, June 6, 2011

The mathematics of the Arab Spring

Since ousting their leaders, Egypt and Tunisia are facing difficult choices on balancing the influences of foreign aid.

Larbi Sadiki

"Egypt and Tunisia are now officially on the international donor community's radar.

The World Bank and the G8 already are already planning different ways to sponsor the so-called Arab Spring. Many Arabs are speaking out against a possible Euro-US "hijacking" or "containment" of the regional movement through this type of "cheque book diplomacy".

I will argue here that this position is not intellectually robust, and that the Arab Spring demands dialogue, not political and cultural protectionism. There is a moment of confidence across the Arab geography: Arabs can hold their own.....

The currency of freedom

It still remains to be seen how, and even if, the masters of world finance put their money where their mouth is. In particular, for now, no dispensing of aid must proceed until elected representatives of the people - and independent civil society groups - are in a position to deliberate and reflect freely on the terms and plans of the aid to be given.

The only given in this discussion is that the organisers of Tahrir Square and Habib Bourguiba Avenue have spoken in favour of dignity and freedom, which is the currency of the Arab Spring. There is no need to fear for these masses and their epic resistance against tyranny.

It is a resource they can, if need be, also direct towards resisting financial hegemony.

What is reassuring about the new-found morality of resistance is that it rejects autarchy. It speaks the lingua franca of freedom - which transcends geography, religion, nationality and ethnicity. It uses Western technological innovations for the purpose of self-empowerment.

On both accounts, the protesters have resisted and continue to refuse living under tyranny or on disconnected islands."

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