Images from last Saturday’s march in Yemen protesting the Saudi-led bombing campaign evoke memories of the Arab uprisings in 201l. Their importance & inspiration to suffering humanity around the world in the struggle for democracy & human rights cannot be overestimated.
Women played a leading role from Egypt to Bahrain to Yemen. While the US-NATO justified their wars as salvation armies for women from the tyrannies of Islam, women in veils were leading protests against violent military resistance from the regimes. And of course the youth were just as glorious & defiant.
The Arab uprisings have been mocked, vilified, & many have written obituaries for what might have been. But cynicism is not a useful analytical tool. The politics that drive such profound & massive social upheavals don’t just go away by repression–even of the monstrous scale of the US-backed Egyptian junta & even if people need time to recover psychic energy, evaluate what happened & their options, & decide lying low is the ‘better part of valor’ for now.
Protests continue in Bahrain; the forces of revolution against the Assad regime recently publicly marched; Palestinians continue Intifada against all odds; & Yemenis marched during a bombing siege with warplanes circling overhead.
So much is at stake for the US & European powers in the Middle East that they bankroll Israel as a military fortress against democracy to the tune of well over $4 billion a year; that they are willing to turn whole countries into a killing field; that they vilify war refugees as Muslim terrorists; that they foment anti-Muslim hysteria, persecution, & legislation; that they constantly fine-tune the rancidities of Islamophobia to orchestrate all these crimes. Islamophobia is the soundtrack to a comprehensive program of counterrevolution in the Middle East.
We have more to learn about the character of democracy & how to make social change by studying the dynamics of the Arab uprisings than by parsing irrelevant distinctions between politicians.
Long live the Arab revolutions! Long live Palestinian Intifada!
(Photo is March 26 2016 march in Sana’a, Yemen)