This commentary was published in al-Hayat on 19/05/2011
What was witnessed in Kuwait’s parliament yesterday was not part of the winds of freedom and change seen in the spring of the Arabs, who have taken to the streets while armed with their throats in the face of the tanks of alarmed regimes. The scene was not one of Kuwaiti democracy or that of a change movement that would not fall in the trap of the bullets and that blockaded the Arab authority with all that is condemning to it.
What happened under the dome of the Kuwaiti parliament was quite simply a bashing party among deputies who disagreed over the freedom and classification of detainees in Guantanamo, thus introducing the sectarian tensions in the country and the region to the house of the legislators, but with punches and insults.
While there is no arguing about the long history and vivacity of parliamentary life in Kuwait, as well as about the deputies’ stand-offs with the governments, the use by some of their muscles as a language of dialogue marks the infiltration of the infection of exclusion and eradication targeting the other.
The paradox in the action of the deputies representing the Kuwaiti people - and who considered that their fist is a tool to reform the nation through the correction of the deviations of others - is the same weapon used by the Arab authority in more than one location by facing the callers for freedom with eradication. If sectarian tensions are added to impulsive reactions, the barriers of differentiation between those who are ruled and those supposed to be representing the people and their demands collapse. One might even say that the authority in some Arab countries is closer to reason than elite groups who tend to counter arguments with accusations of treason and beatings.
There was another scene witnessed in Bahrain. It also featured violence in the form of retaliation by running over policemen. Although some use the excuse of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” the violence failed to conceal – since the beginning – the tendency to elude the language of dialogue and settlements despite the lifting of the banners of rights and freedoms.
Can there be settlements without middle ground solutions or is there a wish to instate Plato’s Republic to compete with Western democracies?
This is not in defense of stalemate or a justification for the governments and authorities imposing the era of the one-voice on all the people, at a time when the latter people are hijacked by the banners of the glorious leader who will definitely open the doors of Jerusalem, even he were to close all the windows of hope in the face of the generations of Arab oppression.
But would the greatest catastrophe not reside in the leader’s insistence on cloning his likes among the generations of silence, so that if the people were to rise and destroy the statues of those controlling their lives and livelihoods, the disciples would be able besiege them?!
Is Iraq, which was liberated from the dictator with foreign weapons, not an archetype of the fake democracy and the pillaging and discrimination that ensued? And although the number of parliamentary seats has increased, exclusion mounted and countless Saddams emerged.
Could Iraq be the stage of a revolution? Or have the seasons of mass murders dried up the Euphrates of hope?
In the meantime, it is also with violence that the Jasmine Revolution is being undermined, as the ousted regime features a class seeking benefits and privileges and is booby-trapping the path toward stability, right until the border.
And it is with violence that retaliation is being fueled in Egypt where the revolution youth are encountering seekers of retaliation and sectarian tensions that are soiling this revolution’s cloak and justice. What is feared is that the winds of “cleansing” and cancellation will grow in the name of eradicating the dubious, or through the use of religion to destroy the unity of the January 25 movement.
From Egypt, to Tunisia, Libya and all the countries unified by the limitation of the conspiracy to a group of citizens seeking justice outside the context of the security apparatuses and a loaf of bread before the victorious battles and the missiles, in all those countries the revolutions are being killed by the transformation of retaliation into a legitimate and methodic behavior that is destroying the state and obliterating the laws in the name of the legitimacy of the street.
No dialogue can succeed in light of such behavior, while the fist of eradication can bury the justice of reform whenever the victorious brandish the sword of preemptive “cleansing.”
Where do the boxers in the Kuwaiti parliament stand at this level?