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The most dangerous problem - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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With mixed emotions, vacillating between sorrow, grief, and disbelief, I have been monitoring the huge amount of bloodshed that has been taking place on a daily basis in Arab cities and towns; the blood of the people which is brutally shed by their nations’ armies, armies which over the years have been armed and equipped at the expense of education, health and infrastructure. Such priorities were neglected and people were deprived of the means for a decent standard of living, all in the name of security and defending the Palestinian cause. Yet this did not bring security, and did not liberate Palestine! Instead, tyranny was enshrined and Palestine gradually lost out.

Today we see, hear and read about the scenes of intimidation, torture and murder, and the brutal raids being carried out by the security and military forces in Yemen, Syria and Libya, against their own citizens. These incidents reveal the true contempt and disdain that some Arab leaders have towards their own people, viewing them as personal property that they can treat however they like. They very rarely engage in dialogue with their citizens, whom they are convinced are the happiest people on earth and love their leader, and therefore it is out of the question that they would complain or protest about their situation. Whilst all the promises of reform are only made in order to appease the Western media, with these promises ultimately going unfulfilled.

This is a case of arrogance and domination which breeds contempt, requiring not only a political analysis but also a psychological study. This psychology of domination can be seen in the personality of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, [and will be evident] until his last moments in power. He has destroyed his country and still considers his rebelling people to be “scum”, addressing them with contemptuous phrases and describing them as rats and traitors.

Before Gaddafi, Ben Ali of Tunisia dealt with his people in the same manner, and now the same horrifying scene is being repeated in Syria and Yemen, in various forms. These leaders are dealing with protestors, who are only seeking dignity and freedom like someone deals with flies and mosquitoes, trying to kill as many as possible.

This manner in which these leaders dealt with their people is what caused these citizens to take to the streets, sparking widespread public anger and a massive uprising that cannot be suppressed no matter how these weak, corrupt, authoritarian regimes attempt to defend themselves with justifications, bullets, and mass destruction. This is an immortal moment, or as Shakespeare put it, the moment of “to be or not to be”. These regimes did not respect the dignity or humanity of their people, and thus lost their prestige, respect and status in the eyes of their citizens, thereby reaching a point of no return in terms of political survival.

One of the traps that many regimes inadvertently fall into is associating the country with the leader. There is a big difference between citizens or nations, and those who come forward to rule them. They are all different entities, independent and with separate considerations, and can only be associated together in one pot when there is an existing and incontestable social contract.

The western interventions taking place today in the affairs of Arab states are the result of the silence of Arab regimes and governments, with regards to the massacres occurring in their countries. These Arab regimes have been exposed in front of the eyes of the world today, placing the blame, as usual, on others. A collective “conscience” has emerged in Turkey, France, Britain and America, with regards to the ongoing and shameful Arab silence, both in official and public circles, towards what is happening to their Arab and Muslim “brothers”. It is as if a Palestinian whose blood is shed by Israel is the only one who deserves protests or sympathy.

What is happening now on the Arab scene is a state of flagrant division between the people and their governments, with the governments relying on tyranny and their cleverness in exploiting Israeli crimes. There is a division emerging as a result of what these Arab regimes are doing against its own people. This is a psychological crisis as well as a shameful moral one. The problem is not just that there are regimes slaughtering their own people, the biggest problem is that there are sister nations and governments that are keep silent about this.

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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