Arab Spring Nations Don’t Yet Grasp Freedom of Dissent
Gotta wonder how deeply ingrained all the lies and conspiracy theories propagandized by M.E. dictators (current or former) really run. 9/11, Obama’s birthplace, anti zionist propaganda. How much of that is really credible vs. just repeated with a wink and a nod.
what will theses Arab Spring populations even think of freedom of speech? I’m not sure they want that the way Americans have it.
Editor’s note: Ed Husain is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “The Islamist.” He can be followed on Twitter via @Ed_Husain
(CNN) — The fall of dictatorships does not guarantee the creation of free societies. There is often a period in which we witness the legacy of tyranny. The Arab uprisings have overthrown tyrants in Egypt and Libya, but the populations and lawmakers have yet to grasp that democracy is not only about free elections but creating free societies.
When sexual harassment of women increases on the streets of Egypt, when centuries-old shrines of Muslim saints are destroyed with explosives in Libya, when screenings of films such as “Persepolis” trigger riots in Tunisia and Christian minorities across the Middle East feel under siege, then we must stop pretending that all is well with the Arab Spring. But all is not lost either.
Arab societies are on a journey. They can easily take the wrong turn. The attacks on the American embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen are examples of the ongoing presence of intolerant, tyrannical actors in Arab societies.
These are people who were born and raised in dictatorships. They are accustomed to thinking that a government controls its citizens — that a film or documentary cannot be produced without government approval. For decades, this has been the reality of their lives, and they strongly believe that the Western world and its citizens have a similarly controlling relationship between individuals and government.