When generals in too many parts of the world find themselves facing urgent economic reforms and human initiatives by the people at a time when they themselves have failed to provide the masses with basic necessities, they are often quick to label developments as "terrorism". They do this in an attempt to cover up their own failures to meet the needs of the people, who have at this point generally risen in protest and are calmed only momentarily as they await the promises of "reforms".
It is noticeable that there countries where the people have overthrown their rulers after decades of tyranny and they are on the verge of choosing new rulers who are an exact replica, if not worse, of those they overthrew, not least because many are from the same military establishment. As the Yemeni poet Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Zubairi once described, pain and tyranny have brought nothing to our countries but disaster after disaster for decades on end and the biggest problem is that some countries have yet to learn their lesson. Initially, what happened in these Arab countries was that the masses rose up against the military establishment due to the fascist policies implemented against the people's rights and after the government failed to provide basic necessities such as bread and electricity. With all of these obstacles, how can these countries experience a rebirth? That is, how can they make the necessary developments and economic changes that would allow them to progress and prosper?
And yet, it is clear that the popular memory is short, for after the successful overthrow of generals and military establishments, and rejoicing thereat; and after they stomped on their pictures in the squares and streets; after all of that, they went back to drumming and jumping with happiness over the return of these generals to the political scene. Why? Because the military establishment succeeded in convincing the poor of the validity of their overused nationalistic slogans present on their television screens. They continue to manufacture lies and propaganda to sway and thus control the masses.
Many of the military establishments that were overthrown in Arab countries have succeeded in making a comeback to power at lightning speed and they did so by taking advantage of the old regime's remnants, which are alive and well in many state security, military and economic institutions. Secondly, they were successful in reviving the old regime by taking advantage of media propaganda mechanisms that were able to make people think that black was white and vice versa. All the while, our blindfolded citizens were clapping, completely unaware that the joke was on them. However, one needs to remember that lies are short-lived no matter how long the military establishment and its generals try to prolong them.
If we were to look at the new tyrants being born out of the old regime's womb we would find that they are being confronted with very simple demands from the masses. They call for a morsel of bread, water, medicine and electricity. Despite the simplicity of these demands, it is rather difficult for a government led by army generals to deliver even these small requests. Thus, the generals are embarrassed greatly, as they are unable to meet the demands of the people who clapped, cheered and supported them. How will the military be able to meet the demands of the masses that have risen in the name of democracy and believed their lies of how they would build new just and fair societies? The new regime, which is disguised in a deceptively shiny democratic robe will undoubtedly be unable to give the people what they are asking for because they are using the same tactics that have been in use since the middle of the 20th century; we all remember well that they were unable to achieve any progress whatsoever. However, we must not underestimate the intelligence of these generals because they are experts on how to deceive people. They know what it takes to deceive people and distract them from continuing on their path simply by claiming that any given event is a result of "terrorism".
The most important issues facing our countries today are the questions of economic revival and development. We must address the concerns that prevent us from meeting the people's demands and simple needs. Moreover, there are no excuses that can justify regimes not meeting such needs. Instead of providing basics such as bread, food and water, they choose to promote a sense of fear and instil the belief that there is terrorism afoot in order to evade their responsibilities.
When these neo-tyrants realised that they were unable to meet basic demands, they began to create internal enemies and proceeded to use all their energy to fight them. This tactic has long been used to deceive the people because it is an easy way to distract them from the real issues at hand. If at any given point the people decide to question the regime, they claim that they are in a fight against terrorist forces and the people are required to support them in this struggle. Then and only then will they be able to meet the people's demands. This shameless lie will continue to blind the people for years to come as they keep quiet, fearing that they themselves will also be accused of "terrorism". The current political sentiment evokes an old slogan, "no sound is louder than the sound of battle", especially in this time of action against terrorism and terrorists. The people are waiting in silence and in pain; as for the generals, they cannot guarantee the people the right to their own soil while they are engaged in this fight against pseudo-terrorism.
Translated from Al-Sharq newspaper May 11, 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.