Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The logic: Should we kill your father or your mother? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Some personal or historical options have been extremely bad and damaging. I personally do not understand why some fools – in a betrayal of their conscience – insist on telling us “you have to choose between freedom and stability”!

The logic is that freedom will lead to chaos, and stability will require the heavy hand of the regime, thus the people can choose between having the meal of freedom with the risk of chaos, or having a stability sandwich with “a slap in the face”.

In Libya, Gaddafi warned it was either him or al-Qaeda. In Yemen, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh warned that it was him or Yemen would divide. In Egypt, former President Hosni Mubarak warned the Americans that it was him or the Muslim Brotherhood, and in Syria today the regime is using the scarecrow of “it is us or extremist religious currents”.

These statements may be valid to some extent, and hence the choice the people face is based on the idea of a comparison between the current tyranny, the extent of which can be measured and is well known, and tyranny of another kind that no one knows the extent of!

This no-win situation is a scary sword hanging over the neck of any serious reformist or enlightened thought, as if we have to choose between an evil present or an evil future!

These types of options are like asking an innocent child “darling, would you like us to kill your father rather than your mother?”

These comparisons are like asking a human being what do you prefer, should we gouge out your left eye or your right eye?!

The question I ask everyone today is:

Is a child not meant to be nurtured by his mother and father at the same time, and is a human being not supposed to use their left and right eyes together at the same time? Can people not achieve freedom and stability at the same time?

This frightening logic is what governed many thoughts of the “political elite” in the Arab world post World War II, whereby the rulers offered their people the following choice: which is better, to be governed by Western colonial occupiers with good rates of development, or be governed by the senior officers of your national army, but with an iron fist?

What a choice; foreign occupation or national subjugation!

I am one of the fools who dreams day and night that freedom and stability can be achieved together, and national rule, development and prosperity can all come together, when the state rejects extremism and the dominance of security together. In short, I dream, like any citizen of a respected global state, of living safely and freely together, without a choice between being crucified or impaled!