Thursday, February 03, 2011


AOG, Madrid

It looks like the winds of change have begun to blow in the Arab world. 

The events which unfolded in Tunisia two weeks ago ousted a Government, and, like wildfire, the same spirit for change and democratic reform seems to be sweeping across other Arab countries. 

Particularly Egypt, where its presidential dictator, Hosni Mubarak, has been in power since 1981.

Given the state of affairs, he has said he will not stand for reelection in the Fall. Isn't it amazing how the powerful will do anything to stay in power no matter what? His country, it would appear, will have to put up with him until then. 

However, it seems like the people of Egypt are not having it. They want him out. Or at least the majority do.
 Will this affect the rest of the region? It would seem so. Jordan, one of the most stable states in the Middle East for decades, has had a change of Government. There have been protests in Yemen. 

Even Iran -not an Arab country but yes an Islamic nation-, seems preoccupied with these events.

Closer to home, the West, that is Europe and the US, have been more lukewarm in their appraisal of the situation. As an example, these kind words from the former British Primer Minister, Tony Blair, who assures us that Mubarak has been "immensely courageous, and a force for good."

In the case of President Obama, also disappointing, as this article from the Huffington Post points out.

The word in the street is that no one thought in Europe that Mubarak was a dictator.

I guess that kind of thinking belongs in the 'No one thinks Hitler is Austrian' school of thought. 

Let us not kid ourselves, the West, for all its pro-democracy demagogy, is quite happy to let sleeping dogs lie. Such is the case with notorious human rights violators such as Cuba, and China. 

Of course, the West only takes issue with such regimes when they begin to rock the boat, as is the case with North Korea.  But even then, all that we ask for is that you remain quiet and move along quickly. 

As usual, trade and vested interests are more powerful than any democratic ideology we in the West might want to peddle. And, of course, these regimes know it. 

I've read in the press that the only country which has shown some concern about the whole situation is Israel. According to some press reports, they rather have a dependable dictator to deal with, than... well, nobody knows for sure what will come next. 

So the lesser of two evils, is still pretty evil. 

Time to find a new motto?

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