the surge of uprising in the maghreeb, levant, mesopotamia, arabia and now persia reminds me of albert camus’s epoch making book of the post world war II boom years, “l’homme révolté”.
to my mind, the entire book begins an ends in the first eight-word unit of question and answer: “what is a rebel? a man who says no”...
forgive me for using some blogger’s license and belaboring the obvious here, but i feel like pointing out that the philosopher, for me, the greatest of the 20th century) punctuates the logical impossibility of saying yes and at the same time revolting: anything man says “yes” to is binding, a reason to accept, rather than reject.
applied to the current case (so far) of the arabophonic mediterranean, iran and the yemen, the popular rebellion is only about saying no to the incumbent rulers and the particular mode of rule they have employed until now. i, for instance, cannot in good conscience, come forth and say that the peoples of the region are insurrecting against the regimes that not only nurtured and strengthened those absolute rulers but also spawned them.
“les hommes révolté” of yesteryear had freedom on their minds; perhaps an absurd, impossible, illogical, extreme, absolute freedom that brooked no boundaries. the mutineers of the maghreeb, levant, mesopotamia, arabia and persia seem to have a long way to go, before they can articulate their idea of freedom beyond exchanging new tyrants with the old... after all, what happened in iran 32 years ago, they still call a “revolution”.
İ am not trying to undersize the movement(s) in the maghreeb, levant, mesopotamia, arabia and persia under any circumstance. till this moment, masses in unison have dethroned two despots and are shaking several more thrones, which is an achievement in itself but may or may not turn into a victory dependent on the content of freedom the rebellion eventually generates. yes, i am partial to freedom and any supersedence that does not engender freedom is a loss for entire humanity, winning does not always mean victory. our ancestors who inhabited these lands taught the world, taught history the meaning of freedom. again, not far from the maghreeb, levant, mesopotamia, arabia and persia that have never truly possessed it, democracy as a praxis and process of freedom was created as a form of mind and life, native to the mediterranean.
ex orientes lux! hence shone the light of modernity, millennia ago.
ex orientes lux, however, it moves on toward the occident.
no wonder, we, all of us in the mediterranean, including the hellenic mediterranean, have to learn or re-learn democracy from those in the west, who learnt it from us.