We humans are a curious bunch and it is this curiosity that allowed us to document our every endeavor. Every now and then events happen which we deem monumental to our existence, choosing their final resting place to be among the pages of our cherished history books.
At times the world seems to move in the same cycle, uttering the same words and displaying the same images year after year.
This is not one of those times.
This is a time when intense events are unfolding at a speed that has flung the Arab world spiraling out of its hamster wheel.
The Arab nation had been abused and forced to keep this corrupt wheel turning for far too long. For decades it lay comatose and suddenly its eyes opened. Its people have been pushed to limits that no human should have to endure, limits that made death seem a better option than the world they live in. Basic human rights have become a luxury that only a few could boast about. Even dreams of a better life were murdered by the realities of government corruption that seeped to the very core of their societies. The only dream that is packaged and sold to ambitious folks around the world is the American one, an Arab version does not exist.
Political debates and arguments are now taking place in every living room and coffee shop around the Middle East. Some proud of the revolutions snow-balling through the Arab world, others hesitant, fearful of embracing them, programmed to believe that no good can come from any Arab decision. The discussions are always political, yet if we peel away the layers of criticism and attempts at the rationalization of events, we will see that this revolution is not about politics at all. It is about the citizens of countries that without them would seize to exist. It is about the every day people who make the world go around.
This revolution started with a single spark that ignited Mohamed Bouazizi’s body in the middle of a dusty Tunisian street. Bouazizi was not a politician. He never dreamed of his death as being a tool in any political agenda’s toolbox. He did not imagine that the burns on a street vendor’s body could raise the prices of oil or impact the economy. He was just a young man who wasn’t even allowed to dream of a better tomorrow.
What shocked the world was that the people who related to Bouazizi’s desperation came out in the millions. Millions of people chose to face death rather than go back to their hopeless lives. They chose to walk bare-chested under a sky raining bullets rather than endure the blatant disregard of their humanity. They were willing to make that sacrifice because they knew that the road to freedom is soaked in gallons of blood yet the destination is worth every drop.
They are being sniped from the rooftops, driven over by cars, bombed from fighter jets, and massacred by the very images that hung framed over their desks as they worked day in and day out. Presidents who when tested have excelled at failing. Living in complete denial until the very end, holding on to the last splinter of the chair that once kept them high above the rest. Refusing to bow down to the wishes of the world, deaf to the cries of rejection and willing to sacrifice more innocent souls for their egos to remain intact. Thirty years are not enough, forty years, still not enough, for power is a beast that grows within man feeding on everything in its path.
This contagious revolution will eventually find its way to our history books as being the era when the Arab political face was reconstructed by its people. When political alliances were revealed to be nothing but false promises and misplaced trust. When tyrants fell in slow-motion as the world watched. This time will be remembered as the moment when the idea of an Arab dream was conceived.
This article was published in The Gulf Today newspaper on 27th Feb, 2011.