Monday, June 3, 2013

The Arab Winter

The events we have seen in Egypt and a swatch of other countries that is popularly called the Arab Spring is viewed as a disappointment by those who embrace the Liberal Democratic (or Neoliberal democratic) perspective across the world. My friend Mohamed Zeeshan, such a person from India, on his blog commented about the fate of the Arab Spring:

There are reasons why the Arab Spring didn't quite work out as well as it should have. The foremost reason is the goal of the Spring itself. In the Information Age where people from all parts of the world are connected with each other merely by the click of a button, ideas spread fast. Democracy was one such idea that traveled to places it had never been to. What makes democracy so attractive to the millennium youth is the fact that it is the only political system under which one has the power to script his own destiny, no matter who his father is or how much gold he possesses. It delivers power to the people and denies unilateral control to the hands of any individual, thereby making society a more level playfield and creating a whole world of untold opportunities. Well, that's in the ideal.

I Respect Mohamed as a young aspiring scholar but his youthful observance mistook the Arab Spring for something new, and mistook it as a sea change in the broader Dar Al Islam for a positive political change. He is hardly alone in this but the Arab Spring is not a spring but is in fact a fall, and we are coming onto the dawn of an Arab Winter.

One begins to see it as a winter when we began to follow the Breadcrumbs of the conflict between those who seek a broad coalition democracy (which ends up becoming pluralistic and free) and those countries like Iran and the Patron of many of these countries Russia which has pioneered small coalition democracies (where outcomes are democratically achieved but they are achieved by focusing on a smaller subset of the population)

You can look back at Ahmadinejad and his two elections: The monitors show no irregularities but you have areas where 90 percent of the population turns out for one candidate. This irregularities show a potamkin sort of democracy. We look at the Hamas electoral victory in 2006, the Iraqi Elections where Pro-Iran and Pro-Islamist candidates became players in the system, We look at Putin's Presidential Terms ending so he moves all the powers to the Prime Minister's office and when the laws are changed he moves all the powers back to the Presidency. We look at the actions of Hugo Chavez as well as his knock offs in Latin America who are following the same trend.

These Autocrats learned what Democracy really means:

The term originates from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) "rule of the people", which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (kratos) "power" or "rule" in the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ἀριστοκρατία (aristocratie) "rule of an elite".

The greeks refer to who rules, and not who governs. As governance and rule are very different things as some of the latest issues with the IRS in the united States shows us. The civil society and those features of it that touch the state are how we are governed. The Code Inspector besets the businessman and homeowner with the Governance of the State. The City Councilman rarely meddles in how the building code is set up unless their are extreme issues (Such as Hurricanes or Tornados). This rule in turn is developed into governance. Or the Rule of Law vs the Law of Rules.

In the middle east a civil society is mostly non existent. So those at the top of the political order are not constrained by the needs of shop keepers to keep their business orderly. And what elements of a civil society DO exist are those that are advocating the excesses of the Arab Spring from the power of the state now.

The Arab Spring didn't fail: It did what the people pushing for it on the ground (who are not the Middle Eastern and other Neo-Liberals) wanted. It gave them the state where they had the political power to achieve their dreams

No comments:

Post a Comment