The events that are happening are not a passing cloud. Just by observing what is taking place in Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Bahrain, and Iran, we can conclude that these are not passing winds. It is a storm that is troubling the region, as is evident from the fact that Tunisia and Egypt do not live in the shadow of Ben Ali and Mubarak anymore. Nothing indicates that the storm has lost its momentum and that its impact will not expand further. We are obviously witnessing the end of an era and the start of another.
It is not a passing cloud; rather, it is a cluster of black clouds that came together, amassed, and whose electro-magnetic charges increased. Thus, the countries are worried and confused, just like a plane that suddenly discovers it entered a zone of strong turbulences and that the turbulence-detecting equipment did not do its job.
The lack of precedents increases the difficulty of dealing with these events. The region’s countries used to be afraid from the inflation of the dreams of officers in barracks; from groups that plant bombs, drive booby-trapped cars, or execute suicide bombings; or from traditional oppositions. The region’s countries trained themselves to face this type of challenges. However, they face today more dangerous issues. Young people are flowing from universities and schools unto their streets. These young people do not belong to a party, but share a common despair due to the current situation and have the same wish to change it. They are not motivated by an inspiring leader; their meetings are facilitated by social communication networks. The open space protects them from the practices adopted by the countries to silence those who were defiant, known as ‘nipping strife in the bud’.
It is a whole new scene. It is enough for a small protest to affect the regime’s status for the streets to become under the protesters’ supervision. Crowds and dreams of change grow. The days of anger begin. Then slogans are raised, ones that the citizens did not dare utter only days before inside their homes. If policemen fire shots to disperse the protesters, Barack Obama objects to the excessive use of force and demands the authority to hold a dialogue with the protesters.
The new scene has spread fear among the region’s countries. The barbaric way Qaddafi’s regime dealt with the protests in Benghazi reveals the extent of his fears. The Colonel has spent his time and his country’s fortune on attempts to put out the fire of revolutions and uprisings abroad, but he released his army on the streets when shouts for change rose in his country. He likes revolutions, but when they are far. He supports change, but when it is distant. The way the Iranian authorities dealt with the protests yesterday also reveals a deep fear. The revolution that emanated from the force of the crowds and the streets is afraid today from the crowds and the streets.
There is a strong confusion and obvious fear. It is a bleak and explosive scene. Many countries have wasted successive decades. There are poverty and marginalization; a stumbling development and a lack of institutions; poor education and unemployment. The dark clouds have assembled. The bludgeons are not enough, and bullets are prohibited or extremely expensive. The time of peace of mind has ended. Excessive peace of mind is as harmful as permanent worry.