The insurgences that started in Tunisia and quickly spread across the Middle East and North Africa have been naively and misleadingly designated “a pro-democracy movement” by Western media outlets, foolishly implying that the people of these nations have bizarrely disowned the entire history of Arabic culture and religion to clamour for Western-style political reforms. Applying the same broad brush stroke to countries as disparate as Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain, the BBC and other mainstream broadcasters have persisted in painting the revolution in sanguine western hues. Their far-fetched outpourings have been echoed by European and American politicians in an astonishing propaganda coup.
When Mohamed Bouazizi poured inflammable liquid over his body and set himself alight outside the local municipal office in Sidi Bouzid, he acted out of anger and frustration sparked by years of tyranny and oppression. This was the catalyst for the so-called Arab Spring. To attribute the subsequent unrest to Arab aspirations for Western-style democracy is frankly ludicrous.
If the revolutionaries succeed in overthrowing brutal regimes, the endgame is unlikely to be any form of democracy the West would recognise. We’re not in Kansas any more. So pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. He should know that autocratic secular regimes (e.g. Syria) are likely to be replaced with very unpleasant fundamentalist ones. The recent conflicts may not be indicative of a move towards establishing a new caliphate, but, we have to face it, our beloved Western democracies are reviled in these places as corrupt, capitalist, militaristic systems where votes are bought and the media Zionist-controlled.
So can we now drop the “pro-democracy” tag? It’s about as convincing as a scarecrow’s diploma.