MOHAMMAD AL MUTAWA

Political decadence seems to be continuous in many Arab countries, whether they are republics or autocracies. These regimes have destroyed human beings as well as any chance of growth or development. No matter how these regimes move — upwards or downwards — their movement results in the diminishing of some social categories and the emergence of new ones.

There is a growing sense that the Arab world is returning to square one regarding its dream of development. Military coups or otherwise have contributed to the abortion of the Arab nation’s dreams in keeping pace with development within the framework of social classes and categories that facilitate the process of peaceful social mobility.

Those holding the banners of progress have been shackled, along with assisting forces, in a framework which reveals the existence of vested interests. There are others who plan without proper knowledge, and there are others who act in a premeditated manner.

Military coups in most Arab, and in some third world countries, have always begun with glittering promises of freedom, fighting illiteracy and gender equality, but their leaders subjugated the people in the end.

Reform movements have been suppressed and countries pushed back into the dark ages. Autocrats denied their citizens social and economic development while themselves profiting from the millions of dollars earned through opening up their markets to the West. Brutal methods of torture became the norm for the rulers to exercise control.

The misery in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Yemen is akin to a daily soap opera on television that is imposed on anyone who watches. The same stories of despair are seen on the internet.

There is no longer any media that is not used to conveying the hardships and sufferings of human beings of all walks of life, age and gender.

Old methods of torture that were created by regimes that claim they support humanity in achieving their dreams, may have become outdated. However, these ‘humanitarian regimes’ have put their people through such humiliating experiences that they have lost all sense of integrity and self-esteem.

Loss of honour

Many popular revolutions took place since the French revolution, but not all have been a success.

The worst thing that regimes can do to their people is make them feel the loss of honour. One wonders, don’t these regimes realise that God answers the prayers of the oppressed sooner or later?

The biggest flaw with coup d’etats is the lack of post-coup programmes. British intelligence reports in the last century reveals the emphasis put on development being one step at a time — as the prevailing model for Gulf countries.

In the absence of proper planning, other countries with coup d’etat tendencies will eventually reach a dead end; they will not save human beings from backwardness, poverty, and ignorance, nor will they set up a model for the Arab dream.

As a result, they will contribute to hindering progress, creating a distorted model, and will end up in the ash heap of history. Eventually, all leaders who refuse to learn from history, are pulled down.

The fall of autocratic Arab regimes are a lesson for those who want to impede the development march; and they have indeed contributed to the obstruction and burning down of their countries, exactly as Rome was burnt once upon a time and the Soviet Union was dismantled by president Michael Gorbachev.

Wise men and thinkers hold the responsibility of establishing strong state institutions while emphasising the fact that human beings are citizens and not some flock of sheep.

A true leader is one who leads human beings to safety, not one who treats them like a flock of sheep and throws them to the wolves. Above all, a true leader is one who preserves people’s human dignity.

Dr Mohammad Abdullah Al Mutawa is a professor of sociology.                            –Gulf News