Monday, July 18, 2011

Learn From Saddam’s Experience

By Yousuf Mubarak Al-Mubaraki
THE mentality of Arab rulers has not changed since the Arab Spring revolution erupted in Tunisia. They remain stubborn and refuse to take any step to know why their people have rebelled against them. They have not learnt from the Tunisian or Egyptian experiences, so they have repeated the same mistakes. They are still arrogant, take one-sided decisions, and fully depend on assistants and advisors who have been abusing their powers, in addition to the oppressive security forces who disrespect the dignity, wealth and freedom of the people under the guise of confronting the alleged conspiracy against the regime.
The Arab rulers should have learned from the experience of Saddam Hussein and his cohorts after the collapse of his regime in 2003 made possible by Americans, who helped him rise to power in 1967. He had a number of agreements with America and this should have served as a lesson for the Arab rulers to implement reforms, guarantee the freedom of their people and improve their living conditions. They should have called for an emergency Arab summit under the slogan “Conciliation with the People”.
However, they have continued to engage in tyrannical acts. If you ask the people why they have rebelled against their leaders, the most common answers are: injustice, oppression and inequality.
In fact, Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) has warned us against injustice. He said, “Injustice is the darkest day in heaven.” God Almighty gives power to whoever he deems fit, so power shall remain but it should come with justice for all. The Arab leaders must read history and learn from their Awqaf ministers, who will surely impart their knowledge on some events in Islamic History. For example, when Muawaya Ben Abi Sufian was writing his will, he told his son, Yazeid, “Consider the people of Iraq. If they ask you to dismiss their ruler everyday, you should do so, because dismissing a man is easier than facing a hundred swords pointed against you.”
This clearly shows the importance of dealing with the people and responding to their demands. We can cite as good examples here the Kingdoms of Jordan and Morocco, whose regimes presented political reforms to remain in power. A ruler should not only focus on the financial needs of his people. He must consider all aspects, such as freedom of expression, multi-party system, respect other opinions and avoid injustice. He should enforce the law on everyone and refrain from playing favorites or depending on the opinion of advisors whose main concern is the accumulation of wealth, even if it entails harming relations between the ruler and the ruled. These advisors are like rats; they scamper away once the ship starts sinking. The best ruler is one who is loved by the people and defends their interests according to established reforms.
When the messenger of the Persian Empire asked for directions to the palace of Omar bin Al-Khattab, the people told him, “You will find him sleeping under the tree.” The moment he saw him, he uttered, “Oh Omar, you have achieved justice, felt secure and slept soundly”, because justice is the basis of power.
May God the Almighty bless the Arab rulers with honest assistants or advisors who guide them towards the right path and encourage them to love their people.
This commentary was published in The Arab Times on 18/07/2011

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