Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Reform In The Arab World

You said it, they just don't get it-- the way Saddam Hussein and the Taliban didn't get it either. Their mind is still set in the old ways that the US will be satisfied with stability at the expense of democracy. They have a very strange way of defining freedom, in Syria for example, reform meant for them that the Syrian citizens are now allowed to open up a barber shop and hold a wedding party without having to notify and get a prior approval from the Baath party apparatchik. In Jordan reform meant to the Jordanian citizens that they can establish political parties but at the same time they aren't allowed to assemble, nor hold rallies, and the names of the party officials as well as all of its members must be submitted to the ministry of interior for vetting. In Lebanon reform meant that the opposition parties can assemble and nominate candidates but at the same time they will be assassinated one at the time until no one is left or until those who oppose the regime get scared enough to the point where all they want from life is to secure staying alive. In Saudi Arabia, reform meant that three gentlemen asking for reform get tried in a kangaroo court and then placed in jail for merely demanding reform. In Egypt, the constitution was amended to allow for more than one candidates to run for the office of the president but then they attached so many restrictions and exception to the new amendments that only very few Egyptian if any will be qualified to run. There you have it the new democracy in the Middle East, too much rhetoric and no action at all. The leaders are fixated in their own ways thinking that so long as they keep giving the people the sops that they have all along been giving them the people will remain acquiescent. Twenty first century mental awareness didn't hit home yet. They think of their people as if they are their own little children, all they need to do is buy them that little a toy which makes bells and whistles to keep them calm and happy. It is a very sad state of affairs, the US needs to put an added pressure on the Arab leaders to free their people, and it need to develop a mechanism where by it can monitor the progress of the reform in every step of the way. Just because the leaders say that they are all for reform and democracy, it doesn't mean that they are now any step closer to it than before.

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