Keeping the Arab Spring alive in Tunisia and Palestine
When looking at events in the Arab world, there are a thousand reasons to make us lose hope. There are also, however, a few things which stop us just short.
The moment we think that the Arab world has lost the ability to affect change, a surprising succession of events restores our faith and demonstrates that the region is still far from subdued and able to shape its own future.
Prior to 17 December 2010, no one expected the region, which Americans like to call the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), to witness a dramatic turn in events.
Even when Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in the heart of Sidi Bouzid, no one thought that it would be the decisive moment for political change in Tunisia, and a region stuck in the paralysis of despair.
Today, however, after the revolutionary movement has largely been worn down and besieged by counter-revolutions, mistakes and the inadequacy of the alternative elites, feelings of despair have once again come to the surface - and it almost seems that the region has surrendered to its fate.
At this horrifying moment, two highly symbolic events have taken place.
|The youth are carrying the beacons of hope at the darkest hours of despair.|
The first is Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet winning the Nobel Peace Prize for helping create the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring and averting a possible civil war.
The award came after Tunisia was no longer on the international news agenda unless it suffered a terrorist attack that resulted in wounded Western tourists.
The award has, however, reinstated Tunisia to the international scene and given a boost to the country's democratic transition.
The second major event was the start of what has been clled the third intifada, sparked by Palestinian youths who have had enough with Israeli arrogance and the loss of direction that plagues Palestinian political elites.
The action of Palestinian youth represents a vote of no confidence in careerist politicians who have failed to navigate the Palestinian cause from the dead-end it has faced for several years.
What happened in Tunisia is now happening in Palestine. The youth are carrying the beacons of hope at the darkest hours of despair.
Only the youth are able to change the rules of the deadly game of oppression and occupation, and they are shaping the future by wearing the enemy down.
The current actions of young Palestinian men and women represent a small part of an immense hidden power reserve, which could dramatically change the Palestinian and Arab reality if it were to explode.
These unarmed youths, despite the tragedies and challenges, represent unwavering resolve to counter Israelis armed to the teeth, who want to strip millions of Palestinians of their land, crops, water, air, love and security.
The events in Palestine prove that the Palestinian cause is not dead - and nor will it die, despite the huge imbalance of power, because justice cannot be measured by quantities of troops and arms, but by legitimacy and the desire for life.
While Israelis have succeeded in expanding their settlements, they have failed to kill the faith held by successive generations of Palestinians - that the land belongs to them and truth and legitimacy is on their side.
I only hope that Arab youth who are engaged in violent struggles in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region realise that their battle actually lays elsewhere and that the Zionist enemy is the only one benefiting from their self-destruction.
Also, I hope Palestinian youth can prevent politicians from taking control of this uprising, which they will ruin by resorting to strategies that have been proven as failures.
Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.