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Man waving a Palestinian flag. Photo by Ahmed Abu Hameeda on Unsplash.

The onset of the Arab Spring had raised expectations in the region of power being transferred to the people ultimately, but the ensuing developments have completely changed the dynamics of the pro-people movements in the region. While most of the Indian media has been obsessed with developments taking place in Afghanistan, it has nearly missed the country, which was the fountainhead of the so-called 'Arab Spring' about ten years back when people toppled a dictator that had ruled it for 27 years. Arab Spring had nurtured hopes that democracy might be able to get a toehold in many Arab countries based on the aspirations of the people.

Man wearing a headscarf to hide his face. Photo by Sohaib Al Kharsa on Unsplash.

However, recent events in Tunisia have raised concerns whether the small country which shook the power centres in this vast and strategic region, will it be able to handle its own aspirations as expressed by people ten years back. On 25 July, Tunisian President Kais Saied stunned the world by announcing the suspension of the parliament, the sacking of the cabinet and assuming emergency powers citing an imminent threat to the Tunisian state. These extraordinary measures are supposed to last for 30 days.

For Tunisia watchers the development came as no surprise, as Tunisians have changed ten governments in the last ten years and are moving along the path, which may lead the country towards anarchy. The events of the last ten years have infused most Tunisians with a sense of hopelessness and a loss of faith in parliament and the country's political parties.

May 11th 2021 - Emergency Rally For Jerusalem, Save Sheikh Jarrah protest in London.Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash.

This explains why Mr Saied's draconian measures were met with jubilation on the streets. His supporters were simply fed up with parliament, and yearned for change. But not everyone in Tunisia was happy. BBC reports that foremost among them was Ennahda (Renaissance) Party, the Islamist party that has the biggest block in parliament. It denounced Mr Saied's move as a coup. Other parties, as well as independent observers, concur.So, now the world will be watching the next move of the four organisations -- known as the Quartet for National Dialogue -- which in 2013 succeeded in brokering a compromise between Islamists and their secular rivals and averted protracted civil strife. Some observers believe the fault lies with the constitution that created multiple centres of power: the president, the prime minister and the parliament. In an ideal world that should create a well-balanced political order, with checks and balances that prevent domination by the president. But in an extremely polarised society it was a recipe for paralysis.

For the ruling party, problems accumulated - especially with Covid spiralling out of control -- the governance broke down, and the president occasionally blocked parliament and vice versa, each side tweaking the text of the law to suit its own purpose. However, what happens in Tunisia will not stay in Tunisia, as the experience of the past decade has demonstrated. Most autocrats of the region are harping once again that "Arabs are not fit for democracy" and the democratic forces are clinging to the hope that Tunisia will remain a beacon for the rest of the region. In fact, Tunisia is the third Arab country after Egypt and Sudan to say that it is fed up with the rule of the Islamists. With the exception of Qatar, most of the Arab countries have long regarded the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups as a major threat to security, stability and peace.

Comrade in arms. Photo by Sohaib Al Kharsa on Unsplash.

Many pro-west Arab commentators have drawn parallels with what happened in Egypt in 2013, when Abdul Fattah Al Sisi, then minister of defence and now president, intervened to remove the elected Muslim Brotherhood president. Most Arab commentators have accused the Islamists, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood, of spreading chaos and instability in the Arab world.Khaled Abu Toameh, a journalist based in Jerusalem, writing for Gatestone Institute on the issue says that evidently, many Arabs are pleased that the rule of the Islamists in Tunisia has finally come to an end. The jubilation in the Arab countries over the toppling of the Ennahda Party sends a clear message to the rest of the world against embracing or appeasing the Islamists. Toameh gives examples of various other writers in his report, like; Abdel Aziz Khamis, a Saudi journalist, told Sky News Arabia that the reason the Tunisian Islamists failed was because they "failed to believe in democracy in its true meaning, including freedom of the media, the independence of the judiciary and economic and social rights."

Prominent Saudi journalist and writer Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed stated that he was not surprised by the downfall of the Islamists in Tunisia. As the ruling party was associated with chaos and assassinations once they were in government. Al-Rashed wrote for Al Arabia newspaper, "...the extraordinary measures the president took came to rescue the country before the collapse. In fact, what he is doing is saving the Tunisian regime, and Tunisia, the country, from the chaos that had begun." Sawsan Al-Sha'er, one of Bahrain's most influential journalists and intellectuals, expressed relief over the ouster of the Islamists of Tunisia and said that this should serve as a reminder to all Arabs that Islamist parties -- Shiite and Sunni alike -- care about nothing else but grabbing power.

Saudi writer and journalist Abdel Aziz Khamis expressed hope that what happened in Tunisia would spread to other Arab countries. Urging Arabs to learn from the failed experience of the Islamists in Tunisia, Khamis listed a number of reasons why the Ennahda party failed: "It failed because it was not able to find real solutions to Tunisia's problems and because it was not concerned with serving the people or improving their living conditions." Khamis said that the Ennahda Party also failed because it was unable to transform itself into a political party "in the modern sense of the word." The party, he added, "was not able to leave the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood."However, if we analyse the reasons behind the failure of Islamist parties in the region, then one fact would emerge that first these parties are not given time to settle-in and start delivering, but are embroiled in various internal and external issues. The puppet master behind most of these interventions are the western countries and in fact these nations are least concerned whether there is a despotic or a democratic government till the time their gains are assured. And that might be one of the reasons why the Arab Spring has failed to deliver what it promised, i.e. power to the people.

(Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in New Delhi. He writes on Muslims, educational, international affairs, interfaith and current affairs., Views expressed are personal) (IANS/SB)


There are two types of welcome bonuses - deposit and no deposit.

By- Robert James

More and more sports betting sites are appearing on the Internet. They are especially popular in India due to the prevalence of cricket. Users from this country constantly use the services of sports providers and have the right to choose the best.

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Devon Hamper/wikipedia

Books that you can read in 2022.

Reading allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the world around you, stimulating your creativity and keeping your mind engaged.

A list of new releases published by Aleph:

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life?: How to Flourish in Our Turbulent Times

Many causes, including technology, climate change, demographics, and inequality, will cause our planet to change more in this century than in all of human history. Extreme change is offering unparalleled opportunities for individuals, companies, and society, as well as a 'adaptive challenge.' Those who can adapt to a fast-paced, complex, dynamic, and unpredictably changing world will prosper. Those who are unable to do so will suffer immensely.

Also read: Books to read in January

There are obvious signals that we need new ways of thinking about the world and our place in it all over the place. Our old ways of thinking about education, lifestyle, success, and happiness are no longer valid. What are the changes in the workplace? When future jobs are still being invented, how can you know what talents will be useful? Will 'jobs' even exist in the future, or will we be relegated to a world of projects and freelance work? What do you do with all of this and more?

What the Heck Do I Do With My Life? is a book on figuring out what you want to do with your life. Ravi Venkatesan argues that effective adaptation in the twenty-first century necessitates a "paradigm shift," a new attitude, new talents, and new techniques. Ravi also considers how, rather than drifting along like a piece of driftwood, we will need to live life more consciously, making deliberate decisions about who we are, what we do, and how we live.

Also read: Book Review: Philip: The Final Portrait

Neeraj Chopra: From Panipat to The Podium

On the night of August 7, 2021, a billion Indians' long-held desire came true as Neeraj Chopra won gold in the javelin in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The wait, on the other hand, had been extremely long. In reality, this is India's first individual gold medal in athletics since the modern Olympic Games began. The entire country showered him with affection when he did it in his signature flair and smile. The media went crazy, and the youth discovered a new source of inspiration. People flocked to get their photos taken with him, and businesses discovered a new wonder-ambassador. Neeraj Chopra: I'm Neeraj Chopra, and I'm From Panipat to the Podium begins in a small village in Panipat and tells the story of his formative years, which were marked by restricted resources and opportunities. It takes readers through his journey to Panchkula and then to the national camp in his quest to conquer the world.

My Cricket Hero: XII Indians on their XII favourite Cricketers

Pieces from Keki Daruwalla on Polly Umrigar, Fredun De Vitre on Chandu Borde, Gulu Ezekiel on Eknath Solkar, Hemant Kenkre on Sunil Gavaskar, Amrit Mathur on Salim Durani, Kersi Meher-Homji on Vijay Hazare and many more make for a great lockdown read.

It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

His book is a provocative read that makes us wish we had a life like his. Khalid Ansari's life has been an exciting and purposeful journey in service to his fellow human beings, beginning with his birth in Mumbai's impoverished Madanpura to a father who began his life as an orphan and a mother from a poor household. Ansari has attempted to depict some highlights of a splendored life that he has been lucky to experience, catching stars while chasing rainbows in this 'donkey's tale'. It's been la vie en rose for him, from founding newspapers and magazines to representing his country at the United Nations, accompanying dignitaries on state visits, covering cricket Test matches, nine Olympics, Commonwealth and Asian Games, travelling the world, and being awarded the Padma Shri award. The author has worked hard to keep this narrative from devolving into a 'I-did-this-did-that' pat-on-the-back, shabash!' By 'spicing' it up with dollops of frothy stories and self-critical bon mots, he has attempted a discourse on the meaning of life, the 'right path,' and the like, even as he has attempted a discourse on the purpose of life, the 'right route,' and the like.

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