a little context


The peaceful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have broken with the past and opened the door to change in neighbouring countries. They do not owe their existence to an ideology or political manipulation. This fact alone constitutes an unprecedented chapter not just in Arab history but in history full stop. No one is currently in a position to foresee what the future will bring. A number of issues are on hold: social and economic challenges yet to make themselves felt (in Egypt in particular); the danger of a return to corruption and old police practices; the weakness of the replacement political structures; but also opportunism in future foreign policy, from all countries involved worldwide, in respect of these newly liberated peoples. Westerners fear Islamists will hijack the revolutions or seize power. Many of the people who rose up fear this too, proving that such a seizure can be avoided. This is not a guarantee; it is a hope. After all, what should be feared most is the eroding of democracy by the powers it establishes. Is it not high time for the western powers to change their policy in the Arab countries and give up creating divisions?

more from Gérard D. Khoury at Eurozine here.