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article imageOp-Ed: Theocracy Reigns — Could The Future Be Worse Than The Past?

By Jesse Rutigliano     Nov 18, 2011 in Politics
The celebrations may be ending prematurely in the north of Africa. It took just under a month of protests for Tunisia’s former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Al to pusillanimously flee to the far more strict Saudi Arabia.
Egypt’s former oppressor Hosni Mubarak was forced out of leadership in just 18 days, the protest numbers and motivation was some what surprising given the fact that Egypt was one of the more liberal countries of the Arab region. Then the civil war erupted in Libya, with the megalomaniac that was Muammar Gaddafi stating early on in the conflict, and I quote “Martyrdom or victory” It certainly wasn’t the latter that concluded the war in devastated Libya.
With the attempted murder of Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh by the more radical of protesters in early June, the tyrannical midget was advised to shift power to his Vice-president Abd al-rahman Mansur al-Hadi whilst he recovered in none other than the despots paradise; Saudi Arabia.
His return to Yemen in September caused the protests to metamorphosize into a much more voluminous, venomous and vicious affair (feel free to use a red pen and add any other -o.u.s suffix desired)
The protests still persist in Yemen, as well as the theologically torn Bahrain and the Assad stated “Pillar of the Arab world” Syria. The wars and violence these protests caused is terrible, but the victory (and surely we will see several other dictators fall before the ‘Arab spring’ is jotted down in the books of history) celebrations may be premature with the outcome of ‘democratic elections’ possibly worse than the previous state of governance.
The first in line for elections was Tunisia, which is obvious given the chronological order of events. The result was a coalition consisting of the Islamic party An-Nahda and certain other reactionary groups (which up until recently had an affiliation with Ben Ali’s past regime)
Formally Tunisia was a democracy with a multi-layed system and the main force running the country was the notoriously repressive and secular Constitutional Democratic Rally. This elected Islamist party seems like going down the same route as past regimes, the only difference is sharia law could be implemented on its citizens, certainly not and improvement.
In Libya things don’t fair much better with new leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil stating that as a Muslim country, we have adopted the Islamic Sharia as the main source of law. Accordingly, any law that contradicts Islamic principles with the Islamic Sharia is ineffective legally.” The past Sharia law that it existed in Libya was hand picked by Gaddafi, for example polygamy wasn’t legal and women had more rights. Under the strict Sharia that Jalil wishes to implement the country could be facing more turmoil.
The countries that remain on the waiting list for a more liberal future could be waiting a prodigious amount of time. It seems a bleak prospect for all involved. The West lost allies, the Middle East gained theocracies and the celebrations will be short lived.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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