A lot has been written on the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and now Libya and Bahrain seem to be going the same way. Here at Muslim Identity, we support and promote self-determination with means and goals that are geared to the 21st century and not copied over from the last century of excesses.
Arabia is leading the way once again — in thought, in action, in co-operation, and in peacefulness. This is the fuzzy foundation being built for the rest of the 21st century, a century in which we will all have to live together with some responsibility falling on each individual. Let us briefly take a look at the ways in which the status quo has changed forever:
1. A few lies have been put to rest: Arabs are authoritarian, Muslims are against democracy, women have no role in Arab societies, Arabs/Muslims are violent, etc. We have seen revolutions like never before, with protesters self-organising, defending neighbourhoods, and even cleaning up after the protest phase is over. This is a big lesson in the grass-roots neighbourhood-mosque-level organisation built into the fabric of daily Islamic life.
2. Technology vs. Technology. The protesters are revolutionising technology to counter the authoritarian use of technology. At the same time, activists in different countries are watching each other, and the world is watching the technology tactics used by authoritarian regimes to give themselves a few more days or buy a bit more time.
3. Evolution to Revolution. No one really knows where each revolution is headed, as there is no precedent and no script for it. While one country wants constitutional monarchies, others want multi-party democracy — but almost all are confident that they can get there. They have overcome the biggest hurdle — fear — and have moved decades-old inertia to the side. Hopefully, they will prove the nay-sayers wrong once again and write their own destiny as their societies dictate. Democracy is not Westminster — it really is the rule by consent of the governed.
4. Comfortable with nationalism and with Islam: There is no sudden Islamist rush or unnecessary fear among young people who are as comfortable with Islam and their nationalism as they are with technology. The Internet and mass media have educated people to the degree that they know more or less who they are, and how they relate to their neighbours to others, and to global forces and identities.
5. The ousted or soon-to-be-ousted rulers are appealing to the darkest fears of people, while young people are full of hope and confidence that they can build a new tomorrow, no matter what the odds. They are realistic that they will have to do with less, but will do so with dignity — this is the way of this century.
6. Arabs are Muslims are writing the book on political science, and changing the course of human history in a good way, once again. The sheer belief and conviction comes from a deep, hitherto untapped source.
7. The ex-colonial powers of the West has almost no role in what is going on. Perhaps, this is the first real freedom from colonialism.