The images with the numerous reports of the latest crackdown by the Syrian regime are shocking, showing absolutely no regard for the rights of ordinary people. Throughout the Arab Spring, the Arab regimes have demonstrated the same pattern of brutality towards peaceful demonstrations. The sight of close family members occupying key positions making lucrative trade deals, gives the impression that governments in the Arab world are a family business. If the country is governed like a private fiefdom, the citizens will be regarded as tax-paying tenets at best or as mere slaves, who can be disposed of when they start to make demands; therefore, the regimes will naturally behave like the masters, rather than the servants of the nation.
Unlike the powerful response seen during the initial phase of the Arab Spring, the recent reaction in the Arab world towards the events in Syria has been lukewarm. Perhaps the masses have become desensitised after witnessing gratuitous violence over a sustained period, like we have become accustomed in the West to the Israelis killing the Palestinians or the Americans killing innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, with their high-tech drones.
These oppressive Arab regimes are still trapped in the post-colonial era, desperately trying to maintain censorship, which has been rendered powerless by the Internet and mobile phones. All the efforts to circumvent the power of the information highway have failed. Consequentially, giving impetus to the Tsunami of people who are demanding that governments should be accountable and free from corruption and nepotism; they should be the servants of the nation and not its masters.
The Arab regimes are quick to attack Israel on the Palestinian issue, but this is lip service for domestic consumption, often exercised for political expediency. These regimes are client of Israel indirectly, because a client of the US means a client of Israel. One does not have to be politically savvy to realise that Zionists virtually write the Middle East policy for the US government. The power of the Israeli lobby and their influence cannot be denied; since 1980 they have given more than $97 million to congressional candidates; the recent reception Netanyahu received in the US Congress shows it stands with the Israeli government, above the US President. Whilst the ordinary Arab activists along with countless others are struggling to boycott Israelis goods, the Arab regimes are investing millions in the Israeli economy through the US, as the surplus oil money amounting to trillions of dollars, are recycled through the US-Zionist banks.
Israel has not oppressed its citizens like the Arab regimes; therefore, the pro-Israeli camp will argue that Israel deserves the conceited title of being the “only democracy in the Middle East”. Of course, the implication is: the primitive Arabs have yet to evolve to become democratic states. Such racist opinions are unlikely to alter, despite the passing of the Arab Spring, or the Arab Summer or the Arab Winter! But, credit has to be given where it is due. I have heard from Palestinians who reside in Israel that the Israeli government gives them better rights than the Arab regimes. It is also true, that dissension in the Arab world is usually met with imprisonment, torture, and even death; the prisons are filled with political dissidents.
Whilst the Israeli regime does not brutalise its own citizens to the same level as the Arab regimes, Israel’s hideous face is exposed when you examine the treatment of the Palestinians and the general contempt towards the Arabs. However, the Arab regimes have also shown similar levels of cruelty towards other Arab states, revealed through the various conflicts, and Iraq being the most recent where hundreds of thousands have perished. This is expected, because, if they can brutalise their own citizens, they are likely to do far worse to others.
Hence, the Israeli regime can be considered slightly better than the Arab regimes, because it excels in terms of treating its own citizens. This maybe a crude measurement, but it still has some level of legitimacy when you examine the facts. However, both regimes fall on the negative side of the scale, they are both evil, but one less so. In that case, what’s the implication of the rational principle of “lesser of two evils”? It means the Arabs and the Muslims should exhibit greater levels of criticism against the Arab regimes, than they have shown against the Israeli regime. Indeed, it was rare to see any form of mass demonstration against the despotic Arab regimes anywhere, prior to the Arab Spring.
What if Israel decides to join in and help the West in Libya or elsewhere, in order to halt the massacre of civilians? By the principle of: “lesser of two evils”, the Arabs and the Muslims would be obliged to endorse the Israeli participation. This may sound uncomfortable to some, but this is a possible reality, and a reality partially created by the masses tolerating these illegitimate regimes. Yes, you will reap what you sow!
Yamin Zakaria (email@example.com)
Published on 12/06/2011