Tunisia is today witnessing great chaos and upheaval. For the sake of the people of Tunisia who have shown tremendous courage and determination over the past 28 days to achieve the unachievable in Arab terms, I hope order and stability are restored soon.
But I have a bone to pick with the Arab League. A skeleton of bones. The League of Arab States, its official name, maintained complete silence as Ben Ali's security forces murdered dozens of demonstrators. Finally today, its Secretary General Amr Moussa said this is the "beginning of one era and the end of another."
Wow! Big words there, Mr Moussa.
Obviously the Arab League chief couldn't have gone against the will of the member states who all said nothing about the killings as they were happening. But for someone of Amr Moussa's background to sit idly by as a major earthquake took place in the former headquarters of the Arab League is inadmissible.
Why preside over a sham? The Arab League cannot be reformed. Nor can it be re-formed. The malaise is rampant in the member states. The Arab people, with the exception of a few Gulf states, hate their leaders. They say it in private all the time but cannot express their resentment and animosity publicly.
I sincerely hope that Tunisia succeeds where Iraq failed. The change in Iraq was imposed by Washington. The Tunisian people imposed their own will. The only other people to come close were the Lebanese whose massive demonstrations in 2005 forced a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, albeit at a much smaller price in terms of civilian casualties during the showdown.
It's noteworthy that the peoples of 2 of the smallest Arab countries have imposed their will against superior forces.
Food for thought...
In a move ingeniously designed and no doubt aimed at bringing the feuding Lebanese sects closer together, Lebanon's Minister of Labor, Boutros Harb, has tabled a draft law that bans for 15 years the sale of real estate between Lebanese of different religions.
The proposal, according to Harb, aims to protect coexistence in the country.
The background to all of this is that the Christians in Lebanon feel that they are being out-bought and pushed out of their traditional areas of the country.
The member of the cabinet (who is also a perennial candidate/nominee for president) makes it clear that it would be fine to sell land to a (foreign) Muslim or a Christian as long as they are not Lebanese.
Perhaps Harb is well-intentioned. Maybe he does have Lebanon's and the Lebanese' best interests at heart. I don't know. But Harb is very shortsighted if he thinks such a measure is going to help coexistence.
Say a Lebanese Christian sells a piece of land to a Muslim from Arab country Z who turns around and sells it to a Lebanese Muslim. Now where does this leave us?
The way things are in Lebanon why not just contract the whole country on a B.O.T. basis?
A man on a long journey through a perpetual desert.
The opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the views of any of my employers, past, present or future.