What is interesting about the tsunami of change sweeping through the Middle East this past month is that the “dumb, undeserving-of-democracy” Arab masses have turned out to be magnificently saavy, efficient , focused and determined in flipping over longstanding dictatorships.
And it turns out they are polite too. Arab populations from North Africa, the Levant and the Persian Gulf have now, quite organically it seems, devised a wait-your-turn system for overthrowing the Middle East’s iron-fisted leaders.
Opposition groups and ordinary citizens have come to the streets in Yemen, Jordan, Palestine, Bahrain and Algeria recently to air their grievances and demand change. But they are not going full throttle quite yet. First, they are waiting for the brothers and sisters in Egypt to finish.
As Egyptians did when Tunisians were focused on overthrowing the 23-year-old dictatorship of now deposed president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Which leader is next is anyone’s guess. But I bet that every subsequent uprising will be leaner and smarter than the last. The Arab masses are learning quickly:
When the Egyptian security forces sent thugs onto the streets to foment chaos and turn folks against the protestors, Egyptian bloggers and commentators hit the media and social networks to warn about these tactics – quickly pointing out that Ben Ali’s presidential guard had attempted the same a few weeks ago.
When the inevitable US and Israeli warnings came about Islamic fundamentalists hijacking the protests, the moderate Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) released statements to the contrary and aligned themselves behind Mohammad El Baradei, a secular, Nobel Peace Prize-winning, potential presidential candidate.
When warnings came that Egypt’s Coptic Christians – ten percent of the nation’s population – would be targeted by the “mobs,” not only did that not happen, but Copts formed human chains to protect their fellow Muslims from government forces during prayer time.
It was literally just one week ago when American and mainstream Arab commentators were saying that what happened in Tunisia could not possibly happen in Egypt. That even if Egyptians hit the streets, it would take much, much longer to impact the entrenched government of Hosni Mubarak, if at all. (more…)