Monday, October 24, 2011

Would Democracy Thrive In Tunisia?

Tunisian Flag
We watched our TV screens today in amazement, but largely unperturbed as Tunisians take the first step towards an assumed democracy. Of course, if you have not lived in the oppression that they just came out from, you would surely only imagine what it is like... even worse if you live in largely free western democratic countries.

What, however bothers the assuming mind is the question on whether this is real? And the truth is rather unpleasant - at least based on history, which forms the assumption.

Over the year, many Arab countries has risen against their leaders, conquered and replaced them. The world has cheered from the sidelines or even in the case of Libya, joined in the tussle. Yet, none of these are entirely new; far from it.

The present (or former as you may wish to label them) crop of leaders being overthrown mostly all came to power through claiming to liberate the same people. So what went wrong?

It is because a brand new devil is used to replace the former.

In 1987, Ben Ali, with the support of the West, just like present-day NATO, outwitted and ousted President Habib Bourguiba in was termed the 'Jasmine Revolution' which was peaceful. After that, just like today, an election took place in which Ben Ali won an outstanding majority. That never-ending story only just rounded up this year.

It would be of interest to note that Mr. Bourguiba also came to power (1957) with a promise of freedom and democracy after the monarchy was abolished. But 18 years down the line in 1975, he managed to get the Tunisian National Assembly to invest him as a life president. It took 12 mores for Ben Ali to break that shackle from the Tunisians.

So as Tunisia goes back full cycle to 1987 (or 1957 depending on which you prefer), every sensible observer should be asking the question; would Tunisians remain on the pedestal of their individual rights to full-fledged freedom or would they slide back to idolizing the next man who emerges?

Will the new trench of revolution 'leaders' pull away the freedom and equality carpet from under their feet as previous freedom leaders did and return them to tyranny again?

One cannot say but in all, wish them well while watching with keen interest. As has been resounded, whatever happens from today, Tunisians themselves will decide their fate for every dawn that follows and write the victory history. Or otherwise, defeat their purpose and not write any history.

Yes; because history is always written by the winners.

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