Maswood Alam Khan from Maryland, USA
A few days back I wrote a piece titled “Egyptian upheaval: a lesson for the deaf” as I thought, given the magnitude of the opposition movements on the streets in Egypt, that a new revolution was going to sweep through the Arab world. I thought those who always turned a deaf ear to the voices of protests will now wake up. I imagined a new era was dawning in the Middle East where autocracy would soon be replaced by democracy.
Like many I also mused over a bright future of the Arab world and enjoyed thinking that the time for those tyrants of the world was perhaps over who always had trodden quietly on the dark roads into the powerhouses through backdoors, crushed the opposition and perpetuated their reign of tyranny. But now, in a matter of only five days, with a grand game played on the Egyptian people by Mubarak with the grand powers pulling the strings, I think my imagination was a bunch of wild pipe-dreams. I was literally living in a grandiose paradise of the fools. Now I need to shift my paradigm of Egyptian upheaval from ‘a lesson for the deaf’ to ‘a lesson for the tyrants’.
Tyrants of the world now must be laughing on the other side of their face. While it was Mubarak who was supposed to face the music of defeat it is now the revolutionaries who seem to have been facing the music of shame.
Egyptian upheaval is giving a lesson for the tyrants on how to douse the flames of a revolution by an extinguisher of diplomacy backed by brutality. Spurred by the success of Mubarak in outfoxing the demonstrators the rulers around the world have learnt a new lesson: they have to be tyrants, they have to override the will of the people in order to control the unruly.
The current rulers and also the rulers in the making will for sure be using coercion from now on to perpetuate themselves in power and the ruled will gradually and verily be realizing that there is no point in getting angry with what their rulers are wishing.
The rulers for the sake of the greater interest (of their own and of their big brothers’) will imprison political opponents, beat them up and force them to recant. And the justification for force and coercion will be trumpeted as the greater good for the greater number of people and, more euphemistically speaking, “for establishing stability (of the ruler) in place of chaos (made by those who oppose the ruler)”.
Today’s rulers have been mastering the art of tyranny and the diplomacy of muffling up the opposition. They behave not as a typical despot like in the past but as a wise ruler ‘democratically elected’.
Today an aspirant to be a ruler must have blessings not as much from his or her own people as from his or her distant ‘Big Brothers’ if s/he wishes to be democratically elected. Ironically, most of the tyrannical rulers cannot be described as dictators because purportedly they are democratically elected.
Many of today’s rulers do a lot more than staging fake elections. Today rulers are in power gained through a managed election and they are repeatedly reelected. They are in full control of the ruled because they use police and military to enforce their policies and to prevent opponents from voting and from voicing protests. They arrest and torture the opponents and human rights activists. They even give amnesty to murderers of their political opponents.
That the tyrants’ power is overpowering the people’s power is as clear as day. Myanmar is a living example and Egypt has been the latest one.
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