It’s 1848 in the Middle East and Everyone’s Dancing in the Desert

Cross-posted at Interest of the State.

In 2005, Lebanon’s Cedar Revolution blossomed. Syria was booted out of occupying its coastal neighbor and the yearning for freedom with responsive government grew, especially after the March 14 protest in Beirut evolved into a political coalition of pro-Western pacifists.

In 2009, Iran erupted in its second revolution after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won reelection on votes completely fabricated by the president’s ministry. Hossein Mousavi, the candidate who “lost” the election took his movement to the streets. The death of innocent bystanders and protesters like Neda became fuel for an ever growing revolt against Iranian government lies.

In 2011, Tunisians lashed out against government officials and their President Ben Ali; the President fled the country to safety in the island of Malta when the revolt in Tunisia made things too unsafe for him to stay. Laborers, lawyers, doctors, and students  all protested both violently and peacefully against the low standards of living and lack of civil rights made available to them.

Just a few weeks after the revolt in Tunisia in early January, Egypt fell in line. Egyptian protesters and rioters lit government buildings on fire and stood in defiance of riot police in protest of unfair elections, low living standards, and (yet again) the unfortunate lack of individual rights and freedoms.

Is libertarianism hegemonic?

Yes. However, is it in any fashion similar to the hegemony practiced by neoconservatives? Not at all. The beauty of the philosophy of liberty is that it has the tendency to be naturally attractive. It doesn’t need the benevolence of a foreign aggressor to export the practices of an active citizenry. Rather, it enforces the idea that all people naturally yearn to be free; if not free, then people yearn for the ability to live comfortably. When that comfort threshold is violated, the people revolt.

It isn’t a coincidence that, within the past 6 years, the Middle East has looked eerily similar to Europe in 1848. The ripple effect of revolution in the Middle East comes after decades of American and Western intervention. The ability of a Western government to mobilize diplomats and troops alike in efforts to prop up oppressive regimes for the sake of oil revenues or fabricated control is currently reaping a wave of consequences. The diverse people of the Middle East are finally growing tired of puppet governments that have been violating their personal space.

President Barack Obama recently delivered a speech, offering his remarks on the situation in Egypt. What seemed puzzling was his overall argument — that the United States believes in human rights but is still ardent in working with the very Egyptian establishment that has been repressing those very rights.

What the president actually means by “working with the Egyptian government” is that he will increase funding for USAID to send more foreign aid to Egypt. The bargain will be that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will grant a few more rights to the people so long as he has more money to play with, creating the illusion that Egypt is richer. In fact, Mubarak already pointed out that he will be forming a new government (illusion of progress), but has no intention to resign as president. And ten years from now, you’ll hear of another revolt over low standards of living.

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