Turning Arab Renaissance Into A Medieval Crusade
Ever since the Jasmine Revolution that sparked of protests at Tunisia, the Arab world has been witnessing a sporadic political and cultural renaissance of sorts. Not surprisingly this has been propelled by the television, the internet, and the ubiquitous mobile phone and was fueled by social and technological change.
The Arab youth who began the protests belonged to both genders, were well educated and tech savvy and open to global influence. They were pushing for an end to corrupt, unjust and autocratic rule in the Middle East for decades. Expectantly the long entrenched rulers were responding with anger and bullets, but the momentum of the freedom movement was unmistakable.
This reminded one of Europe in the middle ages where despite the rich tradition of the Greek and Roman civilizations the Italian renaissance was preceded by a wave of autocratic and barbaric rule. The collapse of the thousand year old Byzantine empire, the Ottoman Turk rule, the French revolution, and importantly the prevailing customs against which the society and the intellectuals revolted as a whole. It took several hundred years, for Europe to evolve during which the whole society suffered, contemplated, created, participated and broke free from the shackles that the middle ages had imposed , so how could we expect quick fire results in the Middle East.
The indigenous Arab movement was last week rudely interrupted by an impatient Western Alliance that struck the marauding forces of the Libyan autocrat Muammer Gaddafi. Was the Western Alliance helping protesters across the Arab world with tactical and military support? Or was it just ensuring that the anti west dictators are replaced and the pro-west despots supported? The events at Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria give mixed signals, and could have long term repercussions on the infant Arab renaissance, that could be more crucial than the control on global oil supplies.
The world at large was split over the Western alliance attack of Libyan positions. Only the French leader Sarkozy was gung ho about attacking Libya, some say due to political compulsions at home, and he convinced the US, UK, and Italian Governments to join forces. Germany’s Angela Merkel refused to join the alliance. President Obama who had been critical of direct US military intervention in the Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo during the Bush regime, agreed to commit US forces for operation.Continued on the next page