Why Revolutions were Necessary for Change in the Arab World
Countries are governed by systems that are safeguarded by the ruling class to maintain their authority. The system does not change with the change of officials in government and, largely, the ruling class. The reason behind the system’s failure to change is a political ideology that is present in the given country and governs the sociopolitical and economic aspects of the country. It is unlikely for an ideological system to create a provision that will make it irrelevant. Therefore, only individuals subscribed to the ideology are favored to get opportunities as insiders and decision-makers (Camejo, 1969).
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Revolutions are the only way to upset the current system and replace it with a new one. Mao Zedong was right in portraying that political power can only be obtained with the help of the power of a gun because without a powerful assault at the current political system, no desired results can be achieved (McLellan, 1995). The ruling class wishes to maintain its ruling authority under all circumstances. In this regard, it identifies the sections of the population that are discordant with its governance and creates distractions to derail further efforts against it.
Successful revolutions are able to defeat this strategy because they arise out of the desperation of people whose main reason for the uprising is an individual need to create a better society for their own benefit. The aim of the revolution becomes the collective aim of each individual, and when one’s effort is thwarted, the encouragement coming from others advancing the same cause serves as a buffer against the full destruction of the overall revolutionary spirit of the people. When the whole society has a single aim of ousting the current governing regime, it becomes a power that cannot be stopped (Camejo, 1969).
Revolutions have to be true in their intentions; they require that each member of the revolution recognizes and identifies with the overall cause of the revolution. The main aim of the revolution should be to change the current setting, and therefore, movements that seek to advance other causes other than change are not true revolutions. In the same manner, a movement to change only parts of the political system that is oppressive cannot succeed as a revolution because it does lead to a regime change that will eliminate the factors that led to the formation of the movement.
In the Arab world, most countries prior to revolutionary change had undemocratic regimes that made it impossible to have an honest political system using the electoral mechanism. The result of the authoritarian regimes has been the maintenance of power by a few individuals who are disconnected from the plight of the majority of their citizens lacking basic amenities. The lack of a proper political structure that accommodates views contrary to those of the then-current regime has created a political opposition vacuum that is required to serve as a check and balance to the ruling class (Mouawad, 2011).
Infiltration of the ruling class with individuals who represent the plight of the society and are willing to direct a change in the system has not succeeded. The political system tends to auto-correct itself to maintain its ideology for the benefit of the majority of the ruling class. A case example is in Lebanon where an uprising to change the regime replacing it with a favorable one similar to the ideas presented by the assassinated prime minister Rafic Hariri failed after it was hijacked by sectarian interests, who instead advanced their cause of defeating another regime (Mouawad, 2011).
In the Arab world, the conditions necessitating revolutions have been created over a long period as political leaders retained power and became too attached to their seats of power for their own good instead of service to their citizens. In the initial oppressive stages of the Arab regimes, the society was cheated into feeling powerful in determining the affairs of their country in what seemed like a fair representation of their interests and opinions. However, as regimes stay longer in power, the masses realize the illusion that they have been living in as they notice that their opinions and interests were disguised interests of the ruling class who made them believe it was theirs (Mouawad, 2011).
Once the masses became conscious of the illusion of power that the oppressive regime was giving them, they became agitated for being fooled. Generally, they began noticing the ills in the society that arise out of the authoritarian nature of their regimes. The masses realized that the hard and fierce character of their nations that they took pride in was a manifestation of the ideology of their regimes that kept them from identifying the ills in their society attributed to the regime. State violence and extreme cases like imprisonment dealt with conscious opinions on the oppressiveness of regimes from individuals. In some cases, governments expelled, from the country, intellectuals advancing the revolutionary message. Democratic Arab states like Egypt only had sham elections carefully crafted to maintain the power of the incumbents (Mouawad, 2011).
The realization of the lie was a painful stab to the population. It also became a unifying factor for citizens to advancing their dissatisfaction with the regime. As the common consciousness of the citizenry in the Arab world became aware of the oppressiveness of their regimes, more cases to support the cause for regime change began to emerge. This included mismanagement of public funds, corruption and nepotism, marginalization, and selective application of the law (Mouawad, 2011).
The manner in which the oppressive regimes in the Arab world like that of Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, dealt with discordant voices ensured that for a long time, there was no worthy opposition to their dictatorship rule. However, the mass awakening to a conscious realization of their oppression by the citizenry could not be stopped in the same way. On the other hand, the masses who wished to topple the regime could not use the already skewed political system to initiate a regime change.
The political power could only be taken by force. There had to be a single target for the force so that it has the most significant output. This target was the top leader of the oppressive regimes in each Arabian country. The anger was to be directed to the leaders, and their removal would necessitate a change in the political structure and, thus, a regime change. The revolution in the Arab world needed no leader and instead relied on the collective rhetoric of the notable young voices in the population who coordinated protests and rallied strikes. The societal uprising needed a general direction that was provided by individuals without political ambitions whose only aim was to see as many people as possible rally against their governments, as a way to address their oppression that validated the revolution in the first place (Camejo, 1969).
Revolutions were necessary for change in the Arab world because the political system present could not accommodate any strong opposition voice. The citizenry had a collective consciousness that realized the graveness of their oppression and could no longer tolerate it. Lastly, nature by which the existing regimes dealt with opposing voices to their governance meant that only a revolution would be capable of ousting them from power.
Camejo, P. (1969). How to make a revolution. Web.
McLellan, D. (1995). Ideology. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
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Mouawad, J. (2011). Lebanon: the last conservative regime in the region? Web.