The unprecedented wave of repression and tyranny that the Arab world is currently witnessing, which has reached the level of blind brutality, cannot be a good thing for the region. Every action has a reaction, and what we are witnessing now in the region are the acts that we pray to God to protect us from its consequences.
The natural, logical consequence of oppression, tyranny, despotism, repression, deprivation, injustice, democracy and, the lack of respect for human rights is more violence and terrorism. Such violence and terrorism will be led by a group of frustrated individuals who are unable to bring about peaceful change. This was proven by historical experiences in the past when every wave of tyranny is followed by a wave of terrorism and violence.
The reality of the situation is that we are facing two forms of extremism. The first is tyrannical regimes that are oppressive, suppressing their people, enslaving them, and denying their demands, and the second is the extreme reaction that uses terrorism to achieve political goals that it has been able to accomplish by participating in peaceful politics. It is important and useful to note that the political Islam movements, with their array of ideas and ideologies, are not the engine generating terrorists, nor are they the environment creating and embracing them. Instead, frustrated individuals and those showing terrorist tendencies use some Islamic literature, and some of its historical heritage, to justify terrorism and extremism and therefore they resort to it.
The Arab world is witnessing a situation that we can call the “madness of tyranny.” This situation emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring revolutions, which overthrew some regimes and threatened other regimes with collapse. Therefore, some of those holding the reins of power in some regimes and areas have resorted to a new wave of tyranny, despotism, and oppression, in hopes of eliminating the danger that began to threaten them with the outbreak of the popular revolutions. However, the problem here is that this state and madness of tyranny confirms that the Arab regimes, or some at least, have not received the right message and have not realised the best way to achieve their political stability.
The experience in recent years emphasises that political reform, openness, the strengthening of democracy, and respect for human rights can bring about stability and can also preserve the ruler’s position and their government, allowing it to continue to run the country. The governments that have understood this equation have achieved satisfaction, albeit partial, for its people, while the governments that resorted to the madness of tyranny did not realize what others have.
In recent years, Morocco, Jordan, Oman and Kuwait have witnessed political reforms that have primarily met the aspirations of the people. Even those who did not like the reforms and their magnitude have returned to their homes and haven’t retaken to their streets, because the political system opened the door to peaceful participation and reinforced its respect of the people. This established stability in these countries and spared both the governments and people the tragedies of internal clashes.
The Arab nations only need some reforms, more political openness, political participation, and combatting corruption, and responding to these needs with oppression, tyranny and despotism is a very dangerous recipe. This is because oppression and tyranny generate similar reactions, which leads to slipping into a spiral of violence and terror.
The last piece of advice that can be given to the Arab regimes is: Do not fight the people because the people do not die. Instead, make peace with them, give them at least some of their demands, and steer clear of oppression. Oppression will leave behind a generation of desperate and frustrated people who feel oppressed and who are on the verge of resorting to extremism and terrorism at any moment.
This article first appeared in Arabic on Arabi21 on 9 October 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.