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Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Winds Of Change In The Middle East

As these lines are being written, according to the reliable news media of the world, at least 20 people have lost their lives in Egypt. The anti government demonstrations have been defiant of the restrictions and the curfew. Scores of people have been wounded and injured. The 82 year old, I repeat 82 year old, President Mubarik has dismissed his government and promised to install a new one to alleviate the anger and frustration of the masses. (Poor move Sir, how about resigning yourself?)

Needless to say, the recent upheaval in Tunisia, has given many of the suppressed Arab world masses some hope. This is the age of information, where Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media streaming through the internet and mobile phones, can reveal anything and everything within minutes.

What is the first thing that our so intelligent and respected President Mubarik did to respond to such an irrefutable and potent resistance? He cut off the internet and mobile phones within the country to give a "befitting response" to the vociferous opposition. Little did the dear President know, that this information revolution is unstoppable.

People still communicate via land lines and even if land lines are cut, there is cable and satellite. If those are cut off as well, there are newspapers of the world. If those are banned, then people have couriers like DHL and Fed Ex and finally regular mail to transfer the news. The point here is that, when people want change, they will go to any length to get it. No amount of force or fear can really stop them.

The winds of change have started to flow through the Arab world. Many of our analysts would blame the "Evil US", for the recent Egyptian episode as well. I certainly do not agree with every foreign policy move of the US Government, but know at least this much, preserving self interest dominates most of the US foreign policy. Similarly, when the handwriting on the wall becomes obvious, often a 180 degree can be expected from policy makers in Washington. So the other Middle Eastern monarchs, must pay close attention to these rather unfamiliar events and do not consider themselves as the Pharoahs of modern times.

What all of this means for our part of the world? My last scribble briefly touched on this issue. If we do not embrace the supremacy of the law and implement it in letter and spirit, unfortunately we will lose the spirit of this country and the vision of its founding father. Regretfully, that scene may be worst than what we are currently witnessing in Cairo.

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