Former Tunisian President Moncef Al-Marzouki did not stray too far from the truth when he said that the dreams of the Arab Spring have gone unheeded.
There is no doubt that the counter-revolutionary forces led by the region’s deep-rooted regimes, with the support of their allies, have succeeded in demonising the revolutions and converting them into burdens on the people, especially in countries like Syria, Yemen and Libya where the current reality has turned into a hell that can no longer be tolerated.
In Syria, the regime has managed to make agreements with high ranking Iranian officials along with their regional and Arab allies and perhaps the Americans and Israel as well. The regime was able to derail the path of the revolution to the point where the situation in Syria has become not only an internal catastrophe, but a regional and international one as well.
With the blessings of the American, Russian and Iranian governments, the regime was successfully able to transform Syria into a blazing hell. Now, the Syrians are longing for the days where the authoritarian regime had its concentrated levels of power and iron fist. We have witnessed many speeches where Bashar Al-Assad can be seen boasting about his ability to abort and derail the Syrian revolution.
In turn, Yemen’s tyrant, Ali Abdullah Saleh, found it humiliating when he was forced to leave his seat in power after pressure from the Yemeni street after millions of people protested for months on end demanding an end to the regime. The ousted Yemeni leader had no choice but to form an alliance with the Iranian-sponsored Houthi militias in order to stage a coup on the new government. Saleh used all of his military and economic finances to burn Yemen to the ground.
Pro-Assad forces adopted the slogan: “Either Assad or we burn down the country”. Similarly, those who were in favour of Ali Abdullah Saleh adopted the slogan: “Burn down everything beautiful in Yemen to take revenge on the revolutionaries”. The result of this chaos led the Yemenis to long for the days in which they lived under the regime’s tyranny because today’s reality is far darker than the days of the past.
As for Libya, anything was possible after the people successfully brought down the Gaddafi regime and began building a new state on the remains of the fallen administration. Enemies of the state both inside and outside the country were plotting against the revolution and placed the country in the hands of rebels who were in conflict with one another.
Even in Tunisia, the size of the losses is no different. While it is true that Tunisia did not suffer the same losses as the people of Syria, Yemen and Libya, the reality remains that the country has returned to square one with the return of the former regime, that is, that the remnants of government’s past have returned even after the Tunisian people showed them the door.
Supporters of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have returned to sow the seeds of corruption, tyranny and terrorism on Tunisian television screens. It is as if they are seeking revenge on the revolution like their counterparts in Yemen, Syria and Libya. Therefore, it is no surprise that El Caïd El Sebsi’s government was among the first to restore its diplomatic relationship with the Syrian regime while still completely ignoring all of the injustices that the Syrian regime has waged against its people.
In Egypt we find that people are longing for the days where Hosni Mubarak ruled the country as they transitioned from a dictatorial regime to a fascist one. At least this seems to be the sentiment among many members of the Egyptian opposition. Today, a member of the Egyptian opposition could be heard expressing his disbelief for how beautiful the days of the Mubarak era were as back then the Egyptian people enjoyed a bit of freedom; however, today many Egyptians are not only afraid to express the truth about how they feel, but also fear that their whispers of disapproval could turn into accusations of treason, terrorism and the like. The current Egyptian regime has sought its revenge on the Egyptian revolution in an undeniable way, as many oppositionists now believe.
There is no doubt that those who oppose the revolutions in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, especially on the internal level, find a source of happiness when they read or hear about beliefs such as the ones that are mentioned in this article. They take joy in knowing that they have sought their revenge on the popular revolutions and the people. They have turned the clock back not only to the past but to the dark ages. Yes, they have succeeded at this stage but do they really have any other plans aside from this plot for revenge? Of course not. Is the situation in Syria more favourable now for the likes of Bashar Al-Assad, for example?
Does he think that he will ever rule the Syria that existed once upon a time? Does that country even exist anymore? While it is true that such regimes care very little about their countries or their people, are they not harming themselves by harming their people? Are Bashar Al-Assad, Ali Abdullah Saleh and Gaddafi loyalists not planting the seeds for tens of future revolutions? Will they be able to fix the damage they have caused with their own two hands by killing, destroying and forcing their populations to migrate? Of course not.
Even in Egypt and Tunisia, which have not experienced destruction, one must ask: what are the goals behind the new regime’s project? Do they have any true strategies for leading the people away from revolutions and elections? Do they truly have better alternatives? Are the realities in these countries so bad that they are on the brink of collapse politically, economically and in terms of security? Are terrorism laws the way to fix the people’s ways? Is it enough to win against your political opponent by raising a victory sign in a country suffering in every domain, especially after a revolution?
Some people believe that the consequences of the revolutions will bring people to obedience. Look at the Algerian people who were forced to swallow their wounds, which they acquired during the 1990s conflict only to be brought back to a dictatorship. There are those who believe that the rest of the Arab world will follow suit by following this example. To those who believe that Algeria will not repeat the revolutionary experience, I say you understand history in the same way that I understand the science of nuclear fission. It is impossible to heal a wound that spills this much blood without expecting it to cause more damage the second time it occurs.
To those who have sought revenge on the revolutions: do not rejoice too much because revenge is not a solution but a prelude to destruction and urban collapse, as well as to future revolutions. The future revolutions will make the past ones look like child’s play and if in the past you had thousands of protesting revolutionaries, then today you will have millions. What is coming is bigger and more dangerous than you can possibly imagine!
Translated from Arabi21 on 8 August 2015.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.