Hope and change in the Arab world 108

The world is changing as swiftly as a turn of a kaleidoscope. The upheaval in the Arab states is momentous. These events could be at least as transformative as the fall of the Soviet Union.

It’s good in itself that that the oppressed are rising against their tyrants, but outcomes are uncertain. Worse despots could take power – but against them too the people might rise.

A vital factor in the mass protests has been the equipment that puts individuals in touch with each other without permission of governments. The uprisings were co-ordinated in Egypt and Tunisia by means of Facebook, Twitter, and cell phones. If millions of Arabs want a bright future enabled by such things instead of lives slogged out in the ancient ways of Islam, then Islam may have had its day.

The conflict now, we hope, is between those who want  the sort of life Westerners have in this twenty-first century, and those who want to restore the old dark world of Islamic superstition, ignorance, and cruelty: a conflict between a movement for freedom and a religious tyranny. It may even spread through all the Islamic world.

If the movement for freedom wins, many good effects could flow from its victory. The Arab countries could be transformed into productive, prosperous  trading nations; their self-crippling opposition to the existence of Israel might stop, and Israel’s Arab neighbors could at last benefit from its presence as a pattern of the modernity they need.

Such a movement towards a bright tomorrow would be more certain of victory if it were helped by an awakened America: an America led by an intelligent administration (which now it lacks).

Whether the West wakes up to it or not, and whether Western politicians encumbered with the mental paraphernalia of outdated ideologies such as socialism like it or not, dramatic change is occurring in the Arab world. If America ignores it, Islamic forces (the militant Iranian Shia regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban-like al-Qaeda) stand a better chance of winning.

America should actively guide it towards freedom and real democracy – the bright and possible future.

Jillian Becker  January 28, 2011