The Revolution Has Just Begun

An article that went up on onlineopinion.com.au today:

The Arabs are Alive, and they are hungry!” – Ahmed Moor

“The war is over. The revolution has just begun.” – Che Guevara (Benicio Del Toro), after Cuban guerillas have overthrown Batista’s dictatorial regime on New Year’s Day, 1959, in “Che”.

Mubarak may be gone, but the Egyptian people’s struggle has really just begun. Apart from ensuring that promises are kept and that democracy flourishes, they will have to work very hard, and remain very vigilant if they are to triumph on an even more important front: the battle to feed their families – something decades of neoliberal policy has made increasingly difficult.

Remember the Nineties? That halcyon period after the collapse of the soviet union. There was a sense that the whole world was one place. That however things went, we were all in this together. The political argument that dominated was the battle between the forces of “Globalisation” and “Global Justice”. Essentially, it was a centuries old argument that ran along the old left-right class lines.

Then the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington occurred, and the left was split down the middle. We spent the next decade arguing about whether or not we should stand up for Muslims, who were, we kept being told, incurably backwards, misogynistic and not interested in building fair free societies like ours. We let the debate on economics go by the wayside and the cowboy capitalists, who had had the upper hand before the attacks any way, ran wild.

The revolutions in Egypt (and in Tunisia) show however, not just that our thinking on Arabs has to date been completely misguided, but that this global economic program has hit a wall in the Middle East. These uprisings show that people will not go quietly into poverty, that when they see the hopes of their children for even a basically decent life evaporate, they will fight back. It should serve to remind us that the real struggle, in the Middle East as in the wider world, is not between the West and Islam, or between radicals and moderates, or between secularists and religious parties, but between the many and the few, between the rich and the poor – or, more accurately, between the obscenely super-rich and every one else…

Read the rest here @ onlineopinion.com.au

About Austin G. Mackell

I am a freelance journalist who has worked for a variety of corporate and community outlets from my hometown of Sydney and from the Middle East, including from Lebanon during Israels 2006 invasion and from Iran during the tumultuous presidential elections there in 2009. I have recently moved to Cairo to watch the revolutions in Arab world unfold.
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