What the Tahrir Square Has Brought:


What the Tahrir Square Has Brought:
A Gift Wrapped in the Possibility of Making a Win-Win World

Ruby Amatulla

The victory at the Tahrir Square lifted the bar for the Muslim world up high in the heaven. So far the image of the Muslim world has long been tarnished with violence, intolerance and extremism. With that backdrop what a contrast is it that hundreds of thousands of long oppressed poverty stricken Egyptians coming together and with the slogan “selmiyya, selmiyya” — “We are peaceful” toppled one of the long lasted powerful tyrants in the Muslim world.

A success story such as this might very well work as a catalyst of mindset change of the fastest growing vast young generation of the Muslim world. If the 70% of the Muslim world [35 years or younger] are convinced that there is an infinitely better way than violence and bloodshed to bring about a change then extremism is already invalidated and defeated: that is the recipe for long lasting peace, justice and progress in the Muslim world.

It appears countless young hearts and minds are already getting the message across the Middle East like a wild fire and soon many other places such as Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. would follow suit.

This is exciting and inspiring, however, this is just the very beginning of a long process of transformation towards self-rule and achieving accountable and transparent governance of the societies that have long been exploited and mismanaged by the autocratic and corrupt regimes. If this process is not carefully monitored and reinforced at this critical primordial period when a lot of factors and forces are taking shape that would dictate future for a long time the situations may get out of hand and slide into dangerous and destructive directions to a lose-lose outcome for the world.

When oppression, bondage or any form of massive injustice reach a threshold should know NO LIMITATION posed by geographical, political or religious or any other boundaries in human affairs. In every process of emancipation or struggle in a nation there were other nations and people who got involved and made critical contribution. The Quit India movement, the anti-Apartheid movement, etc. just to name a few. History is full of such examples.

The West and the rest of the world want democratic rule and world without extremism and violence. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent since 9/11 to help change the mindset of the Muslim world especially its fast growing huge young population to be away from extremism and confrontational attitudes towards the West and others. Now that the golden opportunity approaches nearer there seems to be timidity and hesitations.

Granted the involvements and reinforcements should not appear like forceful imposition on these countries. The most positive factor here is the overwhelming spontaneity and the thunderous uprising occurring in many countries in many forms and shape. This is the most opportune time and critical time of assistance who ever could assist.

As far as people of a nation are concerned no other ideas would work in today’s global society where the mindset and modus operandi of humanity is providing a powerful backdrop for the values and aspirations of liberty, equality, dignity and equity for common people of the world. No other ideas can offer socio-political systems that can address their issues and needs better than self-rule and open accountable system of governance.

The people of this world which has gone through the two great World Wars, the Quit India movement, the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Apartheid movement, and finally fought tenaciously the Cold War and defeated it with –among other things– the Solidarity movement to fight to gain equality, dignity and liberty of humans would not regress or accept anything short of it anymore.

Changes are inevitable. If constructive ways were not offered it would force its way through the most destructive bloody path. To avoid this most unfortunate alternative there are certain things that can be done now.

In today’s extremely interdependent global society there is no longer one country versus another. Rather it is more like transnational collusions of the elites and the special interests of both sides to victimize the people of both sides. In order to bring about a countervailing power to check these immensely powerful transnational collusions there must be transnational people-to-people alliances. The recent event of Egypt is collaboration between the people of Egypt with the world-wide media and world’s moral support and the support of civil society of the West that brought Mubarak down only within 19 days uprising.

These people-to-people alliances are the most effective countervailing force to minimize the corrupt and counterproductive pursuits of many power hungry elements still existing in places like Egypt. They had a grip on the socio-political infrastructures of the society and they know very well how to make things work. Even now there are elites in Egypt who are still contemplating any possible move to maintain the status quo as the voices and organizations of the uprising dwindles down with time. They may buy time to somehow to cling on to power even if that means to camouflage themselves in the flags of freedom. These dangerous elements are existing now and will exist for some time to come for which the freedom movement activists would have to stand guard for sometime to come. The Western Muslims could come handy in working with the Egyptians or others in the same boat to pursue the cause from the Western front.

The Western Muslims are the potentially powerful catalyst in our time who – if become active – could bring about enormous international will towards conflict resolution and constructive engagements. I have been advocating their role on the international front in bringing a win-win world in our time since 9/11.

They are the bridge-builders of our time: being the common denominators of the two most interdependent and interactive but polarized worlds -the Muslim world and the West – they have the legitimacy and the capability that is unique. The PEW survey recently exposed about the American Muslims that should basically hold true for all other Western Muslims. According to PEW majority of the American Muslims were born in different lands: they are well educated, well-to-do compare to the mainstream Americans, they are well adjusted with the mainstream, well exposed to both cultures, tenacious, versatile, and are part of and well conversant with the values, cultures and mindsets of both sides. They could be the promoter of conflict resolution and constructive engagements, the most effective bridge-builders of our time.

This bridge building is critical in our war torn, polarized global society. The Muslim world needs the West for its wealth, experience, and cooperation in technology and advanced logistics and know-how to help raise the speed of transformation that is critical to break the approaching crisis of the Muslim world.

On the other hand the West now needs a stable prosperous and progressive Muslim world for its own security and progress. This has been dawning on the Western world and that is being realized in the Western leadership now. They realize reaching out to the puppets and not to the people has been counterproductive and enormously costly in the long haul.

What is tragic is that this change of heart in the West is being largely missed by the MW. Missing this enormous change of mindset has caused the MW to miss enormous opportunity that have knocked at their doors during the last few decades especially since 9/11. The Western Muslims could have helped to awaken the Muslim world about this but they failed.

This missing the boat and the confrontational situation as a result has been fully exploited by the vested interests across borders and the ruling class in the Muslim world. The rulers who thrived on the patronage of the Western supporters raised the fear of extremism in the Muslim world and the possible consequences to the West as a result of granting democracy in those areas. The Western leaders generally were bought by the scenarios of threats. The Western Muslims could have intervened and invalidated that fallacious argument. The Tahrir Square event and what is happening now in many Middle Eastern countries are testament to that truth that the young generations being exposed to the world are not closed minded fanatics. They are same young people as anywhere else aspiring dignity and freedom and a better life desired by people anywhere.

If elections are held free and fair in the Middle East and in the Muslim World today it would be liberating liberal force for self-rule and open transparent societies. Extreme religious elements do not have grip on the socio-political process where fare an free elections take place and there are glaring examples such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia etc.

The transition to be smooth and most beneficial to help crate a win-win world is to use all kinds of the bridge-builders to put to work and put to use. The Western Muslims are the bridge-builders of our time.

At last the time has arrived. The time of reckoning and reclaiming is here for the Muslim world. The possibilities are endless and enormous for the one-fifth of humanity that constitutes majorities in more than fifty countries – the Muslim world – and controls more than three-fourth of world’s oil reserves now can –God willing- attain the pace into the future overcoming the past failures and moving towards peace, justice and progress.