Die hier schon öfter zitierte Mona Eltahawy hat im Guardian die Hoffnung, dass die Revolution in Ägypten die Araber aus dem Gefängnis der Israel-Obsession befreit. Zu lange, schreibt, sie, haben die arabischen Führer die Jugend mit einem Konflikt abgelenkt, der ihnen erlaubte, die wirklich wichtigen Dinge in ihren Gesellschaften nicht anzupacken. (Entsprechend war dann auch das Interesse an der Nicht-Lösung dieses leicht instrumentalisierbaren Konflikts.) Man kann nur hoffen, dass sich diese Sicht durchsetzt (ausgemacht ist das nicht):
Too many have rushed in to explain the Arab world to itself. „You like your strongman leader,“ we’re told. „You’re passive, and apathetic.“
But a group of young online dissidents dissolved those myths. For at least five years now, they’ve been nimbly moving from the „real“ to the „virtual“ world where their blogs and Facebook updates and notes and, more recently, tweets offered a self-expression that may have at times been narcissistic but for many Arab youths signalled the triumph of „I“. I count, they said again and again.
Most of the people in the Arab world are aged 25 or are younger. They have known no other leaders than those dictators who grew older and richer as the young saw their opportunities – political and economic – dwindle. The internet didn’t invent courage; activists in Egypt have exposed Mubarak’s police state of torture and jailings for years. And we’ve seen that even when the dictator shuts the internet down protesters can still organise. Along with making „I“ count, social media allowed activists to connect with ordinary people and form the kind of alliances that we’re seeing on the streets of Egypt where protesters come from every age and background. Youth kickstarted the revolt, but they’ve been joined by old and young.
Call me biased, but I know that each Arab watching the Egyptian protesters take on Mubarak’s regime does so with the hope that Egypt will mean something again. Thirty years of Mubarak rule have shrivelled the country that once led the Arab world. But those youthful protesters, leapfrogging our dead-in-the-water opposition figures to confront the dictator, are liberating all Egyptians from the burden of history. Or reclaiming the good bits.
Think back to Suez to appreciate the historic amnesia of a regime that cares only for its survival. In cracking down on protesters, Mubarak immediately inspired resistance reminiscent of the Arab collective response to the tripartite aggression of the 1956 Suez crisis. Suez, this time, was resisting the aggression of the dictator; not the former colonial powers but this time Mubarak, the dictator, as occupier.
Meanwhile, the uprisings are curing the Arab world of an opiate, the obsession with Israel. For years, successive Arab dictators have tried to keep discontent at bay by distracting people with the Israeli-Arab conflict. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in 2009 increased global sympathy for Palestinians. Mubarak faced the issue of both guarding the border of Gaza, helping Israel enforce its siege, and continuing to use the conflict as a distraction. Enough with dictators hijacking sympathy for Palestinians and enough with putting our lives on hold for that conflict.