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The legitimacy and necessity of Arab revolutions

Palestinian artists paint a mural in Gaza city after the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on 16 May 2018 [Mahmoud Ajour/Apaimages]

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to engage in daily, epic struggles, in various forms. Yet while they struggle against such odds, their example shows up the squandered potential of the Arab nationalism elsewhere.

Gaza, besieged and exposed is inhabited by merely 2 million people. Yet it still stands, steadfast, even while it treats its wounds.  Even though it is just a small geographical area, it managed to survive 11 years, not only against Israel but also against the entire world. Why then has the rest of the region failed so drastically to keep afloat in a rising tide of chaos.

For example, why did the Syrian revolution result in destruction, devastation and displacement? Iraq, the home of Arab heritage and glory, has become a derelict area where the Americans empty their shells, into demolished and looted cities, into rabid sectarianism that barely calms down before it reignites, and into a violated land, exposed to all outsiders.

A refugee's journey from 1948 to the 2018 Great March of Return

The problem is not that in the Arab nation itself, but rather in its political structures which are becoming increasingly lost, hypocritical and treacherous. What good are these governments if they work against the people?

Our politicians, who grow pettier day by day,  are willing to destroy everything and give in completely to Israel and Israel's protectors.

Can you imagine a famous preacher can no longer keep a tweet on his Twitter page in which he is praying to God that the people of Gaza defeat their enemy? He deleted the tweet three years later! This is the point we've reached. The point where Palestine is not only a matter of concern, but an issue to be 'resolved' by abandoning it to its fate.

Who funded the crushing of thousands of unarmed people in the streets of Egypt? Who funded a petty tyrant surrounded by deep doubts regarding his dealings with Israel? Who lost Iraq and allowed it to be violated by Iran due to his hypocrisy and weakness? Who lost Syria and then complained to America about Iran's influence in the country? Who lost Syria and then wanted to use it as an excuse to lose Palestine forever? Should we even ask about Yemen or Libya?

Syria: The war and 'us'

What good are these governments if they are this weak and fragile, if their leaders are as I described, if their states are so flimsy that they can be blown away by the wind, if their rule is a burden on the nation, and if even the best of them are willing to conspire against the honourable of the nation or disappoint them if they at all feel their positions are threatened or they needed the stronger bigger countries' protection from their fellow Arabs?

This question brings us back to the Arab revolutions. Are the prices we paid worth it?

Much has been said retroactively, with a false wisdom, about the revolutions only bringing about destruction, chaos, and devastation. This is only half of the truth.

The whole truth becomes clearer if we imagine hypothetically that all of the prices were paid to fight an external enemy or foreign invasion. All of the prices we paid for the Arab revolutions would be considered worth it in order to liberate ourselves from foreign invasion. Why wouldn't these prices be worth it if we paid them to get rid of these fragile states and their conspiring governments, since they are the reason for the situation we are in now?

We should not be disappointed by the prices we have paid. Instead, we must realise that the core of this problem is these countries and their governments. These countries and their governments were and still are needed by every enemy who wants to eliminate us from history forever and wants our wounds to continue to bleed in order to control us. While the entire world is making the people of Gaza pay the price for rebelling against the Israeli enemy, the whole world is making the Arabs pay the price for rebelling against the governments they need and use against us.

The current events increase our confidence and trust in the legitimacy, need, and rightness of these revolutions, but it also pushes us to be more aware of the core and essence of the problem.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 23 May 2018

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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