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Windmills which can only be moved by the winds of change - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Ernesto Che Guevara once said, “revolutions are made by adventurers and manipulated by opportunists”. I recalled this statement while following up Western analyses of Arab revolutions. I found that the thing which strikes Western strategic analysts is this sudden and dramatic change in the Arab mood, so they cannot wait for regimes to change. They want change now. After much shock and hesitation regarding revolutions in the Arab world against despotism, poverty, unemployment, corruption and the monopoly imposed by the elite circle around rulers over the returns of development, Western powers, led by the United States, have regained the initiative wetting their appetite for military intervention in countries which were ‘friendly’ and ‘stable’ and have become ‘unstable’, as described by Western media, concerned about the flow of cheap oil and acting to protect Israeli expansion. Now we hear threats of using warships and taking ‘tough’ stances in support of the forces of change in Arab societies. Political and intelligence circles have started to contact elements of change and study how demonstrations work.

The fear now over this historic uprising of the Arab nation is of a return of these hostile powers, known for their oppression of the Arab renaissance at the beginning of the 20th century. There is every cause to fear that they will, again, play their usual role in obstructing every positive change in the Arab world, distorting or sidetracking it. These same powers have kept silence regarding the ugliest Israeli oppression, for over sixty years, of Palestinians’ rights and freedom; while supporting, till now, the despotic and corrupt regimes which have become like rusty windmills that can only be moved by the winds of change.

These powers do not see an Arab people rising to build a free and democratic Arab society which enjoys the tremendous wealth of their land. They only see a geographical area delineated by the Sikes-Pico agreement. They act to maintain the current divisions to promote their interests, secure the flow of cheap Arab oil and gas without which Western civilization cannot be maintained and protect their protégé, Israel, against accounting for its crime of depriving the Palestinian people of freedom and destroying their young democracy. These powers have never showed interest in the poverty, oppression, occupation, tyranny and corruption inflicted on the Arabs. The fear today is for the dictators, Israel’s ‘friends’ of yesterday, to depart and be replaced by a worse type, and for governments to be replaced by more submissive ones. Israel and the United States are acting today not only to exploit Arab wealth, but also to get rid of the elements which resist their Middle Eastern policies based on protecting Israeli expansion and continuing their support of friendly regimes with advice and expertise to keep corrupt and despotic, but more modern, regimes in other guises.

In a quick review of the 2011 revolutions which have been difficult to imagine in the last quarter of 2010, we can say that these revolutions have shown that the cause of poverty is siphoning the returns of development outside the Arab world, and that the main cause of youth unemployment is that hundreds of billions of Arab money lie in foreign banks and contribute to Western economies which squeeze Arab youth in the West in the worst neighborhoods and allow them only the very worst menial jobs. They have also shown that at the time that Zionist money is flowing into Palestine to buy Arab neighborhoods, no Arab is giving anything to the Palestinians standing fast in East Jerusalem or blockaded in Gaza and other Palestinian cities and villages while billions of Arab money lie in foreign banks and used to buy Arab houses for the Jews, destroy the remaining houses and build settlements in their place. They also showed that the collapse of universities deprived this generation of education and well-trained leaders of social movements. That is why we see that the revolutions are not decided in favor of the objectives of achieving constitutional and political change. The fear is for the revolution to be hijacked by an expert power which will shift it in the direction contrary to the people’s wishes.

We have discovered that our Arab people, from the Atlantic to the Gulf, feel the same pain and have the same destiny and aspiration. They long to strengthen the ties of freedom among their members after long division and fragmentation. If their enemies have described them for the past decades as terrorists, fanatics, extremists and of being submissive, these revolutions have shown the whole world the energy and the love of freedom Arabs have and their willingness to die for it, in their fight against tyrants, local and foreign alike.

This Arab revolution has also shown that, like the similar revolution in the first decade of the twentieth century, that the West’s main concern is undermining Arab’s freedom and preventing them to regain their capabilities and take pride in their civilization and history, because these elements will transform them into a global economic and political power to reckon with.

The Arab revolution at the beginning of the 21st century is a revolution against corruption and oppression; but it is also a revolution which aims at regaining self respect, national pride and geographical and historical unity. It aims at rewriting Arab history after it has been written by the ‘occupying allies’ when they used to control geography, so we only see division, and history, so that we only see sedition. This is a revolution against the enemies, their assistants and effects. That is why the results of this victory will extend to the future. However, revolutionary consciousness and caution against enemy plans are all necessary to insure that the revolution is not sidetracked by well-known ‘unknown’ actors who crave our resources, are hostile to the aspirations, rights and freedom of our peoples. Peace be upon the martyrs of the revolution and the revolutionaries who opened the way to a better future for this nation away from submission to foreign powers and away, in equal measure, from tyranny and suppression of freedom.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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