The reproduction of tyranny

The reproduction of tyranny
4 min read
06 May, 2015
Comment: Fear has replaced hope as the counter-revolutionaries force their will on the people, but we must not give up hope, says Lamis Andoni.
Counter-revolutionaries have taken advantage of the turmoil in Syria, Libya and Egypt [AFP]

The most painful parts of the success of the post-Arab Spring counter-revolutions are the return of tyranny and its reproduction in media and society.

This culture of tyranny appears to have become normality, while justice and fairness are the anomaly. The issue is not just about the regimes, in their various labels, or of the bloodthirsty militants disguised in religious garb.

It is also about a set of social values, be they related to relations between individuals or values governing work relations.

For all the slogans of freedom that filled the Arab airwaves at the start of the revolutions that swept through the Arab world, they have never been translated into new values.

This is the crux of the matter when it comes to the ferocity of the counter-revolutions.

The implication of altering existing values - substituting dignity for fear and subservience - is that groups and individuals become aware of their rights.

Altering the existing values would allow the oppressed to empower themselves through both ethical foundations and constructs, and the rule of law.

But empowering the citizenry is the last thing that the rulers and elites want, and even those with progressive ideas who praise justice and freedom.

Indeed, there is a real crisis that has been built up steadily over decades of tyranny. It begins with education, both at home and in school.

What is built on fear ultimately produces petrified souls that may well resort to oppressing the weakest at the first opportunity.

The regimes began to use intimidation and fear-mongering in the media, and they would not have succeeded without the rise of the Islamic State group and its ilk.

This raises many questions about the real nature of these organisations.

These groups have served the counter-revolutions well.  They are a part of them, and have prompted broad segments of society to accept a return to injustice in exchange for safety and security.

The triumph of the counter-revolutions also explain, to some extent, why some elites have accepted if not also called for the return of colonialism.

The pretext is stability and getting rid of the "terrorism" of the IS and other armed militias in order to prevent further destruction and erradicate "barbarism", which has spared neither the people nor their histories.

Some of these militant organisations have cooperated directly with the regimes they supposedly target.

Evil triumphs

     Submission is the most important instrument to ensure that people are primed and resigned to accept tyranny.

The profound psychological impact of the destruction, torture, murder, and massacres, has brought submission back to the hearts of many who previously believed in hope. 

The slogans of the revolution, such as "freedom and justice", mean nothing anymore.

Instead, there has been a shift to survival of the fittest, and that oppression and bullying - at home, school, in the workplace - are required to maintain one's influence, status, and power. 

True, the direct destruction we see is the harshest.

The scenes of death, burning, torture, starvation, and displacement are so painfully and unbearably cruel that they numb our minds and senses.

But the destruction of these values of freedom and well-being destroys our futures, and not just the past.

Yet this does not mean that the cause of the younger generation, or even the middle-aged revolutionaries, has ended.

The cells and dungeons bear witness to their resilience.

There are still those who haven't surrendered and continue to struggle all across the Arab world.

But the destruction of human values allows sectarianism and racism to spread.

These ideas become a means of survival when in fact they prevent social awareness about rights and justice from evolving.

The oppressive and tyrannical policies and practices we are witnessing are the result of the collapse of the foundations of the state.

There is no proper regulation of relations, nor is there room for the rights of citizenship.

The oppressed find no succour in laws and legislation, but rather, injustice is institutionalised and codified under various banners, most notably that of counter-terrorism.

We have not lost hope but we must renew it, and must make a stand against the current.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.