Sharique Naeem This year witnessed mass protests by Muslims in the Arab world against despotic dictators. For years, the voices of people had been suppressed by oppressive tyrants. However, with a stunning display of bravery they took to the streets to protest against the regime. They came out in their thousands, the likes of which the Arab world had never seen before. These protesters were met with brute force unleashed upon them by the dictators. In spite of this, they did not resort to vandalism, thefts and destruction of public property at large. The very dictators, whom the Western democracies had backed for decades, became the object of criticism and condemnation once it was clear that they would no longer be able to continue to rule in the face of growing protests. The governments of Western democracies had hailed these uprising as a yearning for a democracy. Indeed, some countries in the West had used all the arsenal at their disposal to export democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and lately in Libya. However, even a cursory glance at the chants of the protesters in the Arab world would show that they wanted regime change, and replace the despots with a system of governance in line with the Islamic teachings. In its arrogance however, the West continued to maintain that democracy was the only alternative for the Arabs and the people at large, who seek to progress, want justice and prosperous economies, accountability and rule of law. While the full effects of the Arab Spring are yet to unfold, another undercurrent has begun to surface, and this time it is from the heartlands of Western democracies. Events in recent years have brought to the limelight symptoms of a chronic problem, which in the past were easily and deliberately kept hidden from the spotlight. The Western democracies today are struggling to cope with the growing frequencies of economic-quakes rattling their economies. From the financial bubble and austerity measures, to the constant need of bailouts of banks, insurance firms, and now countries like Greece - all point to the single direction i.e. the failure of capitalism. There appears to be little doubt left that the governance model of democracy has terminally failed to ensure economic justice for the masses which it boasts to represent. Apart from the fact that economic injustice and widespread inequality is viewed as unjust by a sizable segment of society, prompted protests in Greece and Spain, the values on which capitalist seeks to build societies stood exposed by the protests in European democracies. The August riots in Britain, marked by acts of vandalism, theft, and burning of property stand in stark contrast to the protests in the Middle East. The culture of materialism, individualism, and secularism has created a broken society, where the concept of demanding rights has been fused with unchecked freedom. As one rioter commented, they were showing to the police and the rich that "we can do what we want." The mass protests this year in Greece, which historically has been considered the birthplace of democracy, and the unprecedented riots in Britain, which has been called the Mother of Democracy, has put both the notion and the credibility of the institution of democracy as a model of governance, and capitalism as a system into an intellectual and political challenge. A challenge the likes of which it has not seen since the fall of communism in the 80s and the fall of Caliphate 60 years earlier in the 20s. Indeed, if democracy at its best in Britain is reaping a bitter harvest, it stands no chance, of solving the far deeper problems of countries elsewhere. For example in Pakistan and Bangladesh, some quarters have tried to cover the failure of democracy, by suggesting that it needs more time to bear fruits. The failure of democracy in Pakistan and Bangladesh is not coincidental, for a poisonous plant merely bears poisonous fruits, though with variations of climate and geography. As the Western democracies struggle to cope with their ailments, and Muslims in the Arab world brave the tyranny of dictatorships, it has become appallingly clear that neither democracy nor dictatorship can give the masses true economic justice and a rule of law without bias of race, ethnicity, or status. This brings to the question: What can serve as a viable alternative? The prospects at hand, with regard to the model of governance and system, are either Communism, or Caliphate. As the intellectuals, and the masses in the Muslim world, in particular the Arab, spearhead their efforts towards a real regime change, it is only wise not to trade dictatorships with democracies. The viable alternative for the Arab world is to establish a model of governance, based on the ideology of the masses, i.e. the Caliphate. Once established, the Caliphate can then serve as a practical reference point, and an answer to what many in the West are now pondering upon: If not capitalism and democracy, then what? For now, the issues facing Europe are only likely to continue, though not as monumental as the Arab Spring, but with respective significance, into what could be termed as the European Autumn. The similitude in nature is fascinating. Spring sees the birth of new flowers, with beauty and fragrance, and autumn witnesses the falling of dry leaves. The writer is an automation engineer and independent political commentator. His writings have appeared in several foreign newspapers of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Yemen and Iran. Email: