Tunisia: The Logic of Revolution

The Tunisian revolution continues to dictate its own logic on all levels. . . .  After attempts by regime leftovers to spread chaos by several techniques (cars driving through the streets shooting at people and houses randomly, destroying infrastructure, etc.), the Tunisian people organized itself in committees that spread all across the country, in every neighborhood and in every city, starting to patrol the streets and protect the people.  Popular committees even chased the militias of the old regime, and in one case in a shootout one fell a martyr while two militiamen were executed by the people.

There are reports of Israeli activity in Tunisia in support of the counter-revolution, also of infiltrators sent in from Libya to sabotage.  It is not clear yet if this is a pattern or isolated cases.

On the political level, the leftovers of the old regime are still officially in power, and they are negotiating with the fake opposition that always served as decoration for the regime.  However, the popular committees and the trade union and the real opposition are all working on changing this and translating the revolution into political effects.  I believe it will not take long before a political road map will be drawn towards preparing elections.  It is important to note that elections in accordance with the old regime will not bring about change, so the real opposition and the people are demanding changing the constitution first and then going towards election.

The Arab regimes are shaking and the Arab people are euphoric even in places like Oman and the Emirates.  On Twitter, the Saudi youth are also showing support to the Tunisian revolution and expressing shame for their country tolerating the tyrant.  The Egyptian regime has delayed planned measures to lift state support of some basic goods, and Qadafi expressed his regret and said the Tunisians should have kept Ben Ali for life.  Qadafi is clearly nervous about a real revolution on the Libyan border unlike his own phony one.  On another level, the Egyptian opposition is now more convinced that the answer is the street and nothing else.  This revival of the revolutionary ideal is universal all over the Arab world.  In Algeria there are reports of three cases of citizens setting themselves on fire, one of them is reportedly dead.  Egypt and Algeria are looking to be the two Arab countries with the most resonance of what happened in Tunisia.

Hezbollah saluted the Tunisian revolution and asked all Arab leaders to draw conclusions from it.

Internationally, the French and the Americans issued statements that reveal a high level of hypocrisy.  They always supported the old regime, knowing very well of its nature as Wikileaks revealed, and now they cannot sell us their so-called support to the people’s choices.  They do not like to see revolutions unless they are orchestrated by the CIA and the CIA-financed NGOs, like in Ukraine, Georgia, and Lebanon.  This is a real revolution and therefore they feel unsettled about it.

Dyab Abou Jahjah is founder and former president of the Arab European League.   This article was first published in his blog Abou Jahjah Comments on 16 January 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.

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