Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Arab Spring States Lack Experience | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55291078

A protester, who opposes Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, holds up his hands, which are chained together, to symbolise the lack of freedom, as protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against Mursi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Tahrir Square in Cairo February 22, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the Arab Spring has brought people who have no experience in governing and managing countries to power, which has led to confusion, chaos, and a lack of security, citing the recent developments in North Africa. However this excuse is not convincing, even if it does raise the question: If the Arab Spring leaders have no experience, what can be said about those who stood with them, supported them, and believed their slogans?

It would have been possible—particularly in some Arab Spring states—to further guarantee the transitional process if we had ensured that this took place in a responsible and more profound manner. In other words, by drafting the constitution first, and providing real guarantees to the minorities, as well as respecting the political process as a whole. Here we must recall that President Obama had wanted to see Wael Ghoneim, for example, as the elected president of Egypt, so what more is there left to say? Therefore the story in the Arab Spring states is not one of lack of experience, and the evidence for this can be seen in what has been happening in Iraq over the past 7 months. It is clear that the people have failed to learn anything. This is not to mention what has been happening in Sudan over a long period of time with this situation ultimately ending with the division of the country.

The real problem in the Arab Spring states is not lack of experience but lack of vision and statesmanship, and this can all be attributed to a lack of credible intentions. The Arab Spring victors lack the conviction that nations are not built on flimsy slogans and promises but by practical and realistic institutions and laws that look to the future. States are not built by excluding others but by reviving a sense of responsibility and participation for all. States cannot be built on the belief that people in general lack piety, but rather by being aware that people are in dire need of security and safety, jobs, opportunities, education, and ensuring that their dignity is safeguarded. It is enough to recall that the Creator, God Almighty, granted to “provide them with food against hunger, and with security against fear.” (Surat al-Quraish; Verse 4). However the Arab Spring leaders are too busy securing their rule and excluding others.

The real problem facing the Arab Spring states is that nobody cares about rebuilding, or bringing the people together, or reconciliation, or achieving consensus and compromise. We must be aware that most of the Arab Spring leaders returned from the west, whether to Egypt or Libya or Tunisia. They lived in the west and saw the reality of organizations and the value of the law, pluralism, and freedom; they saw the west with all that is good and bad, and some of them even hold western nationalities. However when they took power they went against everything that was said during the outbreak of the Arab Spring, not to mention all the modern political concepts. Therefore they labeled anybody who opposed them as a traitor, excluding those who had joined them in Tahrir Square, forming alliances based on exploiting the moment rather than preparing to build a future. Now we find them bickering after they distributed the spoils of power, and the best example of this can be seen in what is happening in Egypt between the Salafists and the Brotherhood. Even worse than this, we are now finding Brotherhood affiliates in the Arab Gulf, for example. So those who previously demanded freedom and reform are now offering public advice about the need to “contain” the liberal media in Egypt! Therefore, the problem is not in the lack of experience, but the absence of sincerity and a rampant greed to acquire everything, as if countries are nothing more than the spoils of the square!