Integral Politics and Rebellions in the Middle East #2

Posted: March 9, 2011 in Current Events, Integral Studies

In Tunisia and Egypt, the rebellions that we are witnessing are as significant as the American Revolution or the French Revolution.  A significant number of people in these countries have reached a state of cultural consciousness where they are no longer satisfied with the mythic and tribal political dominance of the past and are ready to move on.  The mythic dominance is that of Islamic religious influences dominating politics. The tribal is the various ethnic factions that are supposedly held together by a military dictatorship.  The moving on is towards a democratic, responsible government, along with the cultural and economic benefits that accompany it.

The key point here is that it is a grass roots rebellion, thereby showing that the people, or at least a significant percentage of them, have reached a critical stage of cultural evolution and are ready for the change.  Because of that, it is absolutely critical that the outside world respect the process and not interfere unless assistance is clearly requested by the rebels.  Meddling in this process would damage it and probably meet with resentment and hostility.  This rebellion is about self-determination and as the overriding, shining principle behind it, that self-determination needs to be respected above all else.

That doesn’t mean that no assistance can be provided.  During the American Revolution, any meddling by a foreign country would have been resisted, however assistance from France, which was also in the throws of a similar democratic revolution, was accepted and valued.  It was accepted, partly because France was a traditional enemy of the British, but also because there was a sense of philosophical brotherhood.  Ben Franklin, one of the main philosophical forces of the American Revolution, spent time in France cultivating that brotherhood.

A similar way needs to be found for the west to assist the emerging African states.  Aid should only be provided when asked for, and even then with great care and diplomacy.  Providing aid through an intermediary with which the rebels might feel some kinship would be the most preferable rout.  I don’t know if the U.N. would fit this bill, but if they did, it would be an excellent opportunity for them to do some good.  One thing is fairly certain, and that is that the U.S. is not likely to be that vehicle as it is too involved in regional politics and vested interests.

The situation in Libya is quite different.  Egypt and Tunisia were both states that had already begun their journey into a more evolved culture.  Western economic influences were strong in both countries.  In Tunisia, it was said that the influences and improved standard of living which was a result of visits by western tourists and the whole tourist industry was probably one of the main sparks leading to a thirst for something more.  Egypt is one of the most educated and westernized countries in that area of the world, with standard of living on the rise as well.  While rebellion in these countries was at least partially the result of a preparedness for more democracy, this cannot be said of Libya.  In Libya rebellion was a result of decades of domination by an insane dictator, sparked by the band-wagon effect of the neighboring countries.  Rebels in Libya were long frustrated, saw what was happening in Egypt and Tunisia (the countries on its two borders) and felt like getting in on the action.  That is not meant to belittle in any way the dedication, determination and even justification of the rebellion in Libya.  It is just of a different quality.  Libya has not been exposed to western influence and economics.  The country is still very much in a tribal state (red) and, frankly, it is unlikely that they are ready for a successful transference to democratic politics.  They haven’t accomplished any of the intermediary steps and wouldn’t know what to do with it.  In the end, one dictator would probably be replaced by another, as has happened so often in third world countries.

I’m not sure what they are in need of, but it is clearly not the same thing as Egypt and Tunisia.

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