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Express Tribune

Published Date: Apr 28, 2011


The current uprising in the Arab world is “a refreshing development“ because longdeprived, oppressed and economically marginalized people are taking their destiny in their own hands against Western-backed oppressive autocratic regimes. Earlier, it was military that provided vehicle to uprisings, but now it is the people who are agents of change.

This was the opinion of Raza Naeem of Beaconhouse National University Lahore and former Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, Tariq Fatemi, at a lecture “The Arab Intifada: military role or people’s power“ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Wednesday.

Fatemi said that the intense feeling of national humiliation, economic deprivation and brutal suppression was pivotal in “today’s uprisings in the so-called Arab world“.

He said representative government are in every way better than autocratic regimes. The Arabs have no history of representative governments as monarchs and dictators took over the region in post-colonial era, he added.

The former ambassador said that Arab leaders always lacked legitimacy at home, which forced them to seek for eign intervention and patronage. He said that the foreign powers only want to change faces not systems.

“The Western powers have their strategic, economic, security and extremism agenda but above all, [they want the survival of] Israel in the region,“ he added.

Naeem, while giving a detailed presentation on the history, politics, uprisings, foreign interventions and evolving internal dynamics of Arab Word, said the current uprising is an eye-opener for western orientalists and others who believed that Islam and democracy, and democracy and Arabs, are not compatible with each other.

“These protests have shattered the Arab stereotypes created by western media and intellectuals. The current uprising is evidence enough that democracy cannot be dropped and formed through airplanes,“ he said.
He added that Colonel Qaddafi is still holding ground because he has support in the people because he used his country’s oil to create a welfare state, while increasing the literacy rate to 95 per cent in Libya.
Documented evidences reveal that there have been secret agreements and understandings of Arab governments with the Western world to protect these monarchs, he said, citing the secret agreement of King Hussain of Jordan with Israel. Both the speakers were of the view that Pakistanis are lucky enough to not to be in a situation like that of the Arab world.