Middle East

A new Middle East?

The recent upheavals of the Arab spring across the Middle East have shown us that democracy, freedom and the ability to determine one’s own destiny is a constant and unalienable human desire regardless of race, nationality or religion.

It does appear that arguments made by certain regimes to the effect that the desire for freedom and democracy, as those concepts are understood by ‘Westerners’, are culturally inapplicable to their people as they do not desire or want those values, were wrong.

Over the last few months the principle of universal and unalienable human rights and freedoms applicable across all cultures, race, nationality and religion, without exception, has received a vital boost.

Following the fall of Egypt’s dictator after 30 years in power, the military and the ruling classes are currently doing everything in their power to hold on to their political, economic and social power base. They will even sacrifice a few of their own … likely the least popular ones. But unless they deliver to the people what they truly desire, eventually the people will rise again … and again.

The seeds of discontent have been sown and the people now know that standing united they have the power to create change. Admittedly, change can be painful, bloody and come at a great cost to life, especially when one deals with oppressive, brutal regimes. But the promise of the light at the end of the tunnel of personal freedom and democracy will always be a tantalising enough future for the people to rise up in an attempt to shake off their shackles.

In light of recent events in Egypt, other oppressive Middle Eastern regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Jordan, Syria and Iran, and other dictatorship around the world such a China and North Korea, have already flagged that they would respond swiftly if challenged, likely with considerable force and brutality.

This force and brutality is already evident in countries such as Bahrain, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Libya. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s rulers are fortunate enough to have enough wealth stashed away to invest heavily in pay rises and social programs in the hope of placating the people. This sneaky tactic appears to be paying off for them at least for now, although there have been some minor challenges to their authoritative Islamic rule already, including by women protesting the restriction on female drivers.

Despite the obstacles, and the potentially heartbreaking cost of achieving it, there is always hope for freedom and democracy. It is a natural and inalienable state for humanity to be free from oppression and brutality. History is a record of a people throwing of the shackles of brutal despots.

But when the time comes, you must be careful as there will always be groups who will try to exploit your desire for freedom and democracy and hijack your fight. However, if you do not wish to be oppressed, if you truly desire democracy and personal freedom, keep in mind that theocracies of any nature are utterly incompatible with those desires and values. You should be wary and do not allow your current military or other dictatorship simply to be replaced with another one.

Theocracies and democracy and personal freedoms have proved themselves to be mutually exclusive concepts in practice. The fundamental reality is that you are unlikely to experience true personal freedom until representative liberal democracy, including separation of State and religion, is achieved.

But there is hope. For example, look at Hungary in Eastern Europe, a country under Soviet occupation and oppressive communist rule for over 40 years.

In 1956 a major counter-revolution took place by the people wanting freedom and democracy. Although the uprising was actively encouraged by so-called allies, when it came to the crunch no tangible help was given to the Hungarian people. The reality was that no one was going to risk a potential nuclear or other military confrontation with the Soviet Union at that time over a few million strategically insignificant people’s lives.

In the end the uprising was brutally crushed by the Soviet and communist rulers. Tens of thousands died and thousands more disappeared into prisons and Siberian work camps never to be seen again. The true numbers of the dead, injured and disappeared were never known.

However, the seeds of the vision of a Hungary free from Soviet and communist rule were sown. The desire for freedom and democracy shined brightly in the hearts of the people and behind closed doors, and was handed down from generation to generation. Finally, in 1988/89 the regime had collapsed under the weight of a people who were simply no longer willing to be victims.

Be assured, your day of freedom and democracy will come. Whether today or tomorrow, one cannot know. But history shows us that it is inevitable because human progress may be delayed by brute force and oppression, but in the long-term it is unstoppable.

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