About 10 years ago a desperate act of protest against the state violence of a single citizen, Mohamed Bouazizi, unleashed in Tunisia, and then across the Middle East, an unprecedented uprising known as the Arab Spring.
Bouazizi’s dignity and sacrifice not only served as a call to action for millions of people who were fed up with state oppression and abuse in the region, but also ultimately – albeit temporarily – drew the attention of the international community to their plight.
However, the Arab Spring has failed to bring democracy, justice and equality to all people in the region. Indeed, as we ‘celebrated’ its 10th anniversary earlier this year, there were many talks, discussions and talks held in an attempt to determine what was wrong with the democratic movement of 2011.
I believe that a crucial factor in the failure of the Arab Spring was the fear of the “chaos” of the international community, and in particular of the Western powers, their fear that the overthrow of corrupt autocratic regimes and the establishment of genuine Arab democracies significantly reduce the situation in the region. “controllable”.
In the months and years following the Arab Spring, the West’s efforts to prevent “chaos” in the region allowed those most at risk of losing from democratization – Israel and its vassal allies, the dictatorships. from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – silencing dissenting voices and calls for democracy through violence and increased oppression.
The West’s self-serving decision to turn a blind eye to the abuses committed by these authoritarian states in the name of preserving an unjust status quo has enabled the Egyptian military to massacre more than 1,000 civilians in August 2013 and imprison some 60,000 Egyptians for their political opinions. He allowed the Saudi regime’s hired killers to murder dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Istanbul consulate in 2018 and jail women’s rights activists like Loujain al-Hathloul for baseless accusations. The indifference of the West also allowed Morocco to repression of journalists, artists and activists criticizing state authorities, some of whom remain in prison and die on hunger strike.
Meanwhile, being humiliated by Israeli authorities, evicted from their homes by Zionist extremists, mutilated and killed by occupation “security forces”, and slowly suffocated under the weight of an apartheid regime, continues to be the daily reality of Palestinians. The West, in its hypocritical attempt to maintain “stability”, has ignored their suffering.
And yet, by turning a blind eye to these growing abuses of Arab dictatorships and the apartheid state of Israel, the international community was not in fact preventing “chaos”, but was sowing the seeds of a new revolution. Because there can be no real stability without democracy and justice.
Ten years ago, the last act of one man resistance in Tunisia made millions of people across the region realize that they can no longer grab it and take to the streets to demand change.
Today something similar is happening in Palestine.
The plight of residents of occupied East Jerusalem Sheikh Jarrah, who are forced to leave their homes to make way for Jewish settlers, in addition to images of Muslims attack by Jewish extremists at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, sparked a huge wave of support for Palestinians across the Middle East and around the world.
The dignity of the Palestinians, abandoned by the international community but still proud and fighting for their rights, is an inspiration to millions of people suffering under equally brutal regimes in the region.
However, those in power in the West are either silent about what is happening in Palestine or claim that it all started with attacks by Hamas. Perhaps they think that if they continue to support Israeli apartheid and its regional allies in the name of “stability”, calls for democracy and justice in the region will eventually die out.
What they fail to understand, however, is that the gap between the Arab populations and their rulers has never been wider and, above all, that the Arab populations have now reached the point where “they are not. ‘can do more’.
For years, the Palestinians suffered on their own – abandoned by the international community and Arab leaders, as if their struggle was over and nothing could be done to help them. But over the past few weeks, they have shown the world that their thirst for life is intact and that they are not ready to give up the fight. Their dignity and resilience have made us all suffer under Israel’s regional allies, and the desire for freedom and justice has made us realize that we too “cannot take it any longer.”
The Palestinians have rekindled a craving for freedom that is overwhelming and will spread everywhere.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.