“What would you think if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song,
And I’ll try not to sing out of key.
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends,
Mmm,I get high with a little help from my friends,
Mmm, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends……..” The Beatles (also sung by Joe Cocker and Arab Oligarchs)
“It is hard to say for sure who took down the portrait of the revolution’s most famous martyr, Mohamed Bouazizi, from its perch atop a garish gold statue on the street where he set himself on fire, touching off a season of revolt across the Arab world. One man said unnamed counterrevolutionaries did it, and another man said it was damaged by rain. Mr. Bouazizi’s neighbors say it was taken down in disgust, several weeks ago, after his mother, uncle and siblings left Sidi Bouzid, an act the neighbors considered a betrayal……. But more than that, they said they were furious at being left behind, in a place with no jobs, money or hope, without the famous Bouazizis to give voice to their despair……. It is a measure of the deep frustration in Sidi Bouzid that a few people have lashed out at the town’s favorite son. That anger is misplaced, most residents say, blaming the lack of progress here on the transitional government, which has moved slowly to address one of the revolution’s central complaints — youth unemployment — especially here in the towns of central Tunisia, where the uprising began. The bitterness here stands in stark contrast to a guarded optimism elsewhere in Tunisia about the progress of the revolution, and it threatens to undermine the gains: Several times in the last few months, disputes over jobs have led to deadly episodes of violence……..In Tunisia, as in Egypt, the optimism fueled by a popular uprising has crashed into the cold reality that life has not quickly improved, and in many cases has even grown more challenging as economies stall and interim leaders struggle to build a new system……….”
The Tunisian revolution is still unfinished, anymore than the revolution in Egypt. In both countries long-term dictators were overthrown but their appointees, whether civilian or military, are trying to keep the old order in place. In Egypt the military is asserting its supreme power and it looks set to keep on playing a leading role no matter who wins the ‘election’. The military rulers are almost certainly looking to oversee a “soft democracy”, slightly more open than under Mubarak, perhaps with leaders having term limits as in Iran (but the power of the military in Egypt, like that of the clergy in Iran, will have no term limits). In Tunisia there is probably more consensus among the people about the future of the country, but real change will be hard.
Both countries will eventually look more to the IMF and World Bank for financial help and advice on how to manage their economies. The IMF and IBRD are the same institutions that funded and advised the old regimes: ergo, don’t hold your breath expecting anything new. Both countries will also look to the West for help and advice, look to the same insane deregulated economic/financial system that has driven us to the brink of another depression.
Then there are the Arab counterrevolutionaries, flush with cash, who did not wish for the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings to succeed but now seek to subvert them. Now the Arab absolute monarchs and their media are talking as if they were behind the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt the whole time. They are holding the line, these Arab counterrevolutionaries, in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain, and they are making sure it does not start elsewhere. With a little help from their friends.