Bouazizi spillover

At last monarchs see people rising in rage and rebelleion

What we are witnessing in Arab world today  is eruption of simmering discontent accumulated over years of injustice inflicted on civilian people by autocratic and dynastic regimes. Just as a volcano looks for  a vent to force out its lava and gases, so is with the pent up frustration. They too needed an outlet to release lava of anger and hate. It is since  long despotic regimes in Arab are sitting atop a volcano of distrust  and hate. Whatever the repressive measures the authoritarian dispensations might undertake to choke the dissent, the urge for independence, the craving for democracy and better life remains undefeated. A vent plugged at one time doesn’t mean “dread” is over. Rather the lull can be even more devastating. Those who believe in suppression to quell people’s sentiments have to, in the long run , surrender before the very people. Sitting on fault lines of arrogance of power make regimes, dynastic or colonial, ultimately it is people’s power that wins. Tunisia did prove it unambiguously. Not only did it force the dictator to flee for safety abroad and loose power, it has unhinged the despotic regimes in Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan and made the Sheikhs, Sultans, and Kings lose their sleep. They are finding it difficult to grapple with the new emerging situation in the region. The upheaval apart from putting the region on boil has served a lesson for the power intoxicated, who they may be and whatever clothes they have draped their governments with, that in the age of internet, Facebook, Twitter it is impossible to deny people their fundamental right of self-determination, the right to script their destiny themselves.

                What acted as a trigger for breaking of what is called Jasmine revolution was heartrending act of self-immolation by a university graduate Muhamed Bouazizi  before local governor office, who, after failing to get a job, took to fruit selling. Bouazizi was not allowed space for his vegetable cart by the policeman which led to an altercation culminating to Bouazizi’s taking to extreme. A woeful tale of tragedy. What a cruel world of blistering contradictions people have to live in. The insatiable greed of Tunsian dictator, in fact of all the corrupt rulers, virtually leaves nothing or little for the people to lay their hands on. It is everything of, by and for the emperor. Sultan Bin Ali’s Tunisia. Where the subjects  like Bouazizees cannot have a claim on vegetable cart space. The camel in the Sultan Bin Ali has stretched its legs too far and shoved  off the inhabitants of the Tunisia, stripping them off all the possessions and rights. The videos and pictures of the gut wrenching incident terribly shook the country  and the social networking sites galvanized the public  anger. The disquiet soon ventured on to streets and took shape of the uprising. That led to the  ouster of the long serving dictator, who ruled for 23 years. Ali took power  from Bow Raqeeba, the man who guided his country to victory in the struggle for freedom against France. But soon, paradoxically , turned into the Tsar vesting powers of judiciary, legislation and executive unto himself. He ruled the country for three decades with iron hand unleashing a reign of terror on people especially Islamists. What Bow  Raqeeba undone in despotism, Ali excelled in perfection. Thanks to Jasmine Revolution, the country is breathing a change. Rashid  Alganoshi, the Islamic leader has returned amid a rousing welcome after 20 years of exile.

                Tsunami of rage and rancor is sweeping across the Arab world. The streets are churning with massive public demonstration in Qairo, Iskandaria and other cities and towns in Egypt. It is seventh day the demonstrations are continuing unabated. Till now over 100 persons have  been killed and many hundreds wounded. But the intensity of the public fury is on the increase. The protest swell in number and are heading to critical mass, the tipping point. The regime of Husni Mubarak, who is ruling Egypt for the last three decades, though holding sham elections, and was preparing his son to inherit power from him, has got unnerved in the light of fast changing developments.

                A nation of 80 million Arabs Egypt is militarily strong with more than four lakh armed forces, and is a trend setter in the region. Egypt is the first of the three Arab countries that have developed diplomatic relations with Israel. The shake up in  Egypt, that in all probability has the potential of dethroning Husni Mubarak’s one man-one party rule, has many politico-social and diplomatic ramifications within Egypt and outside its borders. Till now the ruling establishment has, in contrary to people’s aspirations, pawned its conscience to White House, and in a quid pro quo the latter has supported Mubarak regime to sustain his autocratic  rule. Mubarak concluded peace treaty with Israel while taking its hand off Palestine cause. This squall of hate that is fast heading towards the American lackeys will herald a deathblow  to this romance. The chasm of discontent between ruler and ruled will be filled,  perhaps first time in Egyptian history. And whosoever replaces the Mubarak, cannot afford the  luxury of skipping over public aspirations both in domestic and foreign affairs. For perpetuation of self rule no one will have the liberty of snuggling his head on the shoulder of Americans. Domino  effect rather Bouazizi spill over has already set in and in the near future the political landscape will throw many Sultan Bin Ali’s begging for asylum and bowing to people’s might. At now it is one word, one cry, one slogan Irhil (leave) heard in Egypt.

                The response  of the West, in particular of America, the flag bearers of liberty and democracy, has once again exposed their duplicity. While the public protest last year in Iran on what West painted as ‘rigged elections’ were not of the scale as we see in the Arab land today, patronage accorded to the rebellion leaders and blitzkrieg launched against the President Ahamadi Najad demonstrated that it is not belief in democratic values that makes West restless, it is their ‘national interests’ that define democracy. That is how the dictators like Musharraf, Sultan bin Ali, Mubarak, Kings, Sultans and Shieks don’t peck holes in their conscience though they may be violating the spirit of democracy, while Sadam has to be condemned  for his dictatorship and finally sent to gallows. That is why Mubarak is not a dictator for America.  It is not an Islamic uprising nor planned by  Muslim Brotherhood. It is spontaneous people’s movement. Cutting across ideological identities people of different persuasions have surged to the streets to rid their nation of American stooges. The uprising is for just and transparent governance, better economic opportunities, jobs and rule of law. It is for transfer of power from a clutch of autocrats to people reeling in poverty and injustice.

Tailpiece: sha’ll sha’ll beun beun, toongeh wez konee (Jackals live in separate habitats but at the time of collective danger they scream together)  goes the Kashmiri proverb. Exactly the same way, authoritarian regimes are wedded to each other in thought and behavioral process. See how Shah Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia has extended his support to the dictator Mubarak and has given  political asylum to fleeing Sultan of Tunisia who took 15 kilograms of gold with him at the dying hours of his throne.

(The author can be reached at zainagiree@yahoo.co.in)