Overthrow of an Arab autocrat

January 18, 2011

THE ANALYSIS by Inter Press Service's Emad Mekay, "People power succeeds without Western backing", is a very good piece and a timely focus on what I suggest ought to be a central feature of what those of us not in Tunisia, and particularly those of us in Western countries, have to say.

This is the first overthrow of an Arab autocrat through popular revolutionary means, without the army intervening through a coup or palace reshuffle, and without intervention from the West for over half a century.

Many readers will recall arguing against the liberal imperialist scheme that Western military intervention, or intervention through fomenting a cat's-paw movement, was the only way to oust such regimes in the stagnant East. Now there is an answer in fact and not just argumentation--even at this early stage of the Tunisian revolution.

Revolutions happen. Desperate, impoverished people, battered by the world crisis are not doomed to passivity and being spectators in their own immiseration. And they bring fear not only to rulers in lands far, far away, but to the governments and ruling classes much closer to home in the most powerful states.

They open up alternatives to capitalist globalization and the imperial hierarchy of states. Amid all the welter of new facts and developments that will come up over the next weeks and months, we shouldn't allow that to be lost sight of.
Kevin Ovenden, London

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