There were several reasons why the people of Arab Spring countries shed off their long-inherited fear and repression and took to the streets to demand freedom, justice, and elimination of corruption. Tyranny was not the first of these reasons, nor was it the last. Tyranny opened widely the doors for the corruption of ruling cliques and allowed them to suck their countries dry while the majority of the people suffered from poverty and starvation.
In addition to tyranny and corruption, most Arab Spring countries had not witnessed substantial development especially as far as infrastructure, education, healthcare, and the rule of law are concerned. In fact, the regimes of those countries had never, for example, planned even to build good hospitals for their people to be treated. Yemen, among other countries, served as a typical model for such deterioration on all levels of development. Additional economic and financial problems like unemployment made the situation even worse. Those regimes simply lacked the minimum level of rational thinking and were never capable of achieving any good planning. They were exerting every possible illegitimate effort to monopolize power and tamper with the destiny of their people the way they liked.
People took to the streets in Arab Spring countries looking for a better future. None of the regimes involved learnt the hard lessons and examined the consequences from their counterparts in other countries. Ben Ali “understood” when it was too late for understanding. Qaddafi’s short sight deceived him into thinking that Libya was not like Tunisia and Egypt.
Ali Abdullah Saleh insisted on deceiving himself and others about his weak and ironic understanding of constitutional legitimacy and political opposition and democracy. The Syrian regime, following its fellow tyrants suit, was no exception thereof. None of those tyrants admitted that there were domestic reasons that drove people to protest and insisted on blaming conspiracies and illusive foreign agendas instead. They all behaved as if their people have nothing to complain about and were actually blessed with their rulers and should be even thankful for such regimes. A political maze that can only be solved in the framework of psychology!
One failure after another led to aggravating, and critically worsening, the political situation in the Arab Spring coun-tries. The ruling regimes showed no skill in managing the political crises wisely. Only prevailing was the security approaches and iron fist mentalities. In a nutshell, ruling regimes were politically short-sighted. This lack of vision combined with economic and social deterioration added more fuel to the political fire and increased deeply the tensions. Crisis management in the critical times of political disturbances needed one important trait, among others, that was lacking amongst the rulers of Arab Spring countries: wisdom. Political wisdom would allow regimes to absorb, to an extent, people’s anger and evade escalation that might eventually lead to massive destruction.
Had those rulers expanded the circle of managing the severe crises threatening the political existence of the countries themselves and sought the advice of trustworthy figures, they could have spared themselves and the countries the subsequent political and social damages undermining the future of the people. Such tyrants had always been keen on taking control of the decision-making process and marginalizing all sorts of opposition that might threaten their power and expose their corruption.
In addition to wisdom, opposing parties in civilized societies try to reach an understanding and address the reasons for their political disputes at the time of crises. This can be done through forming national unity governments in which all parties involved cooperate to face all the challenges and save the country from sedition. Repressive re-gimes never consider this option not only due to lack of political vision, but also for fear that doing so would unravel the rampant corruption that turned the country into a private estate whose resources only they benefit from.
In the midst of all this narrow-mindedness, the Moroccan political experience emerged as a good and different example of employing wisdom to address people’s grievances and spare the country an imminent explosion that was bound to become the inevitable outcome of considerably a long heritage of corruption, tyranny, poverty, and lack of development. The young Moroccan king Mohammad the 6th, took a very brave move when he decided to give the people the right to choose their government and responded to their demand for rotation of power. That wise approach enabled Morocco to overcome the political crisis. Democracy prevailed. Moroccans chose their government that would be expected to solve their problems and the one that would be held accountable for failing to do so. The severe crisis was contained wisely and Morocco was avoided to pay a terrible price for a political change.
In Yemen, there was a president whose long years in politics taught him nothing about the historical Yemeni wisdom. In Morocco, a young king was able to avoid wisely his country experiencing the political disturbances of its neighbouring states and help pave the way for a hopefully better future.
(Mohammad M. Alomar is the Editor-in-Chief of Robb Report Arabia. email@example.com)