What is so complex about understanding injustice?

What is so complex about understanding injustice?
5 min read
12 Dec, 2014
Across the region, there has been an explosive reaction to the systematic oppression of ordinary people - and it doesn't need highly paid 'analysts' to figure out why.
Repression of dissenters does not repress dissent [Getty]
Let us agree that, no matter what the Arab Spring of 2011 has led to so far, it was a breath of fresh air in the suffocating prison cell of Arab rule.

It was a societal earthquake, unpredictable in timing, but fully expected - sooner or later - from the ever-mounting underground tension.

Let us agree also that the scene of Arab rulers, whose eternal control was taken for granted, standing opposite a subdued population, is no more, regardless of appearances.

Arab rule has been made of criminally corrupt "republican" regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere, playing happy family games with the older neo-colonial monarchies in the Gulf countries, among others.

The older regimes' corruption and oppression are more polished than the rest, laced with claims of traditional social balances and long-established patronage rules weaved, in some cases, with religion's guardianship.   

The global order

Both types of regimes are sponsored by the West - the monarchies directly, the "republicans" indirectly. The newly enriched republican regimes were co-opted into the global order while pretending to uphold nationalist principles of independent development, social justice, and defending Palestinian rights.
     The struggle for liberation has today evolved to stand against both internal and external colonisers.

No amount of "realistic" analysis can wipe out the achievement of the Arab world's mass uprisings in shaking the old order to its foundations.

Most people, old and young, in the Arab world, were overjoyed to take to the streets, to act collectively, to reclaim their lives as symbolised by gathering in their millions, across the Arab world, in Tahrir Squares, so named to celebrate the triumphs of the anti-colonial liberation movements of days past.

The struggle for liberation has today evolved to stand against both internal and external colonisers.

Currently, the talk is all about dark forces manipulating gullible masses in cynical struggles, but back then in 2011 and 2012, with the people, young and old, inhaling the prospect of freedom, worries about the hijacking of the peaceful uprisings were remote, and, if known, seen secondary to the prospect of shaking the old regime.

Hopes and dreams were much bigger than the calculated pragmatism of functionaries switching sides or what black operations might be planned.

Glimpsing a better future, the masses of the Arab Street exploded in collective action, a vivid reminder of the 1950s and 1960s national liberation movements. The now familiar media mantra attributes the West's failure to anticipate or understand the uprisings and their subsequent developments to their "complex nature". 

But, really, what is so complex about understanding people rising up against injustice? 
     Glimpsing a better future, the masses of the Arab Street exploded in collective action.

Hasn't injustice always been the main reason behind revolutions, uprisings, demonstrations, vigils and other mass protest movements throughout history?

Does the world really need political analysts to clarify the nature of injustice and the ensuing birth of resistance? Is it not clear enough to foresee the inevitable rise of nihilistic extremist organisations when natural human resistance against injustice is savagely crushed?

Shall I draw you a picture?

What would you expect when peaceful means of resolving conflicts are ignored, and people in their thousands, nay millions, are expelled from homes, are suffering in Palestine, tortured in Abu Ghraib prison, or dispersed with bullets and barrel bombs in Syria? 

Is there is a need for an instruction booklet to explain that the occupation of Palestine, for example, is an historic injustice staring the world in the eye for three generations, leading to armed resistance in all its forms?

Do we need to run "cultural" workshops to demonstrate why the invasion and occupation of Iraq is an utter injustice which devoured more than a million lives and remains the main cause of the death and destruction pillaging the country?

The cycle of violence is escalating in the Arab world in a widening and rising spiral. 

When someone says they cannot understand the explosion of violence by the masses, or the support, in some cases, for what is alien to the very core of society, it is because they choose to see such as explosion within the context of its history. They fail to grasp that it is but the latest reaction in a chain of brutal suppression of a yet-earlier explosion that followed another yet-earlier period of sustained injustice.
The revolutionary spirit still burns [Getty]

Bleeding wounds

Palestine with its glaring injustice is the bleeding wound that periodically pushes young people to the verge of despair and madness, but in the consciousness of many Arabs and Muslims, the more recent tragedy of the invasion and occupation of Iraq is of equal impact - and the city of Fallujah is the very throbbing heart of that injustice, a reminder of massacres witnessed in silence.

I mention Fallujah because, I believe, it is the city that embraced the spirit of demanding justice and dignity, giving birth to an uncomprising fierce resistance years before the Arab Spring.

It is, also, a classic example of the brutality, racism and hubris of the US-led war of aggression combined with Iraqi treachery. Fallujans who survived the largest US offensive since Vietnam, are now labelled "terrorists", or al-Qaida, or members of the Islamic State group, bent on terrorising their own people and destroying any hopes of democracy.

The ten year continuous, Israeli-style collective punishment by the Iraqi regimes which followed the Americans, have led to more protests in Fallujah and other cities. In 2011, Baghdad's Tahrir Square called, together with those in Tunisia, Syria and Egypt, for dignity and an end to occupation.

Demonstrators were shot at, arrested, abused and tortured. This is injustice, right? So, what is so complex about understanding the anger and hopelessness engulfing our young people?

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.