People are patient. Often, it takes a very long time before they rise against injustice, tyranny, corruption, and inequality. But they always rise if their needs are not met sensibly and with vigor. There are lessons to be learned, in today’s Arab turmoil, for all the present and future Arab rulers.
People rose during George III reign in the Americas and people rose during the reign of Louis XVI to bring an end to monarchies across Europe. They rose against the Romanov, and today they are rising in the Arab countries against several Arab rulers, systems, and the status quo.
In its ugliest forms, present and future Arab rulers like the Assad regime that practices torture, indiscriminate death, as well as economic injustices will be the first ones to pay the ultimate price. No one in the Assad regime studied the French Revolution to understand what was coming. Every tyrant believes he is immune.
People’s patience against tyranny and despotism is on a shorter leach than economic hardships or even social injustice. They will give themselves every reason to be patient whether that reason has to do with fear or hope. But once the people rise against violence, they are unstoppable. History is our witness. This is why the Assad regime is doomed no matter who supports it gets and how much it gets it.
Similarly, the Iranian regime will eventually fall. President Obama could have accelerated that process in June of 2009, but instead chose to go against history by shoring-up tyrants and men of extreme violence. Obama will be known as the U.S. President who befriended the losers.
Social injustices in places like Iraq and Iran will eventually culminate in the people rising on their own to change the system. Whether that will produce a just system in Islam is a bet many are taking. Many believe enlightenment will be the product after so much tyranny and terror.
Present and future Arab rulers in the Gulf, in North Africa, and in the Levant must create the conditions for enlightenment today. These rulers have the opportunity to write history that will lead the region out of the dark ages if only they are capable of focusing on their economy to spread prosperity to all. No Muslim would carry a gun if his take-home pay affords him the dignity he deserves.
Because of the Assad regime and the silence over its atrocities, his supporters are already paying the ultimate price today as they fight back angry Syrians, violent Islamists, and fighters from countries they did not know they existed.
Let Assad today become the ultimate example of what might happen to a regime of terror and violence. Arab rulers should see in Syria a microcosm of what they might experience in their own backyard soon if they do not reform their governments, eradicate cronyism, begin the process of implementing economic plans to benefit the people, and spread the economic opportunities to extricate themselves from the dark ages.
People are patient. But once they rise, there is no stopping them. The violent tyrants will go first, but to follow are those who think if they starve their people but do not torture them, it is good enough to maintain their grip unto power.
Let Syria be a lesson to present and future Arab rulers of what might happen if Arab Governments do not reform by abolishing all the reasons that started other mankind-changing revolutions. It is not about violence only. It is also about empowering the people to decide their own fate after they are provided the economic opportunities to feel the dignity that any Western man feels when his family is safe and sound.