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It is "spring" and the weather is "wonderful" - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Some observers and analysts of the political situation in the Arab world in general, and the “Arab Spring” phenomenon in particular, are of the view that this event has almost come to an end and is breathing its last breaths. This is because the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia has proven unable to manage the government or the state. Its hands on the steering wheel are shaky, and thus the resulting state of affairs is confusing and inconsistent. This has led to a rise in frustration, bewilderment and sheer astonishment to a degree whereby people are now reconsidering their stances; some even bemoaning the old days that have now changed thanks to the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yet this manner of thinking somewhat oversimplifies matters and promotes a naïve, superficial view of the situation. The conditions in the Arab world are extremely tense and strained, and there are genuine grievances that need to be addressed. People must have a decent standard of living whereby they enjoy the freedom of expression, a fair and effective judiciary, advanced health and education systems, a service infrastructure, and finally efficient monitoring to promote a culture of transparency and accountability.

The true story of the Arab Spring is too important and profound to be naively depicted as merely a fierce battle between political Islam and civil state currents. The enraged Arab youth still desire a state of law, and are not interested in returning to autocracy under any banner, whether military or religious. The state of the law has conditions, principles and criteria, which the Arab Spring states are quite aware of, so we shouldn’t hear new philosophies or attempts to reinvent the wheel.

A modern state has clear standards and any “virtuous” citizen, aware of his rights and duties, would never renounce these. When these standards are achieved, moving on to the implementation stage is easy. Yet, when some noble civil currents are hijacked by one specific prevailing “trend”, and by one voice that imposes its own rules on society in the name of religion, with the aim of thwarting these currents’ positive mobility and preoccupying the people with issues that can be judged only by God, this is a move towards extremism. The more divisions and splits increase, the easier it is to control and dominate society. This is a political tactic of a bygone age, and the people have seen it many times before.

The motives of the Arab Spring are still strong, and the talk about those who hijacked or exploited the phenomenon does not mean it has disappeared. The roots of the problem have not been eradicated, and no clear solutions have been put forward. It is true that the scene seems somewhat distorted and confusing now, but rational and wise observers are quite aware that this is something temporary. The objective of the Arab Spring is yet to be accomplished; to establish a state of law that ensures dignified rights for everyone with no one party monopolizing the scene. At present we still see autocracy, tyranny, forgery, intimidation and terrorism committed by those who claim to be adopting the principles of freedom and dignity, and the hope of creating a better future.

The world is still in the “spring”, and hope is yet to be dashed, no matter how some people attempt to spread terror, intimidation and panic. Vast generations are awaiting their opportunity to live in dignity, and they will never allow the forces of darkness to deprive them of their dreams.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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