A Brand New Arab World

By AbdAllah Black













Did you ever wonder why there are a lot of straight lines on the map of the Middle East? If you don’t know already, it is because the European colonial powers decided to divide the colonies by a ruler and a pencil based on their interests and need.

The other attempt, again unsuccessful, was by President Bush to create a “New Middle East” that was supposed to follow the “birth bangs” of the 2006 Israeli-Lebanese war. Yet, it seems that the Middle East is now drawing its own future, not with pens and rulers but using their own blood as ink to draw their demands for freedom and justice on the face of international politics.

It is very reasonable to think now about the same Tunisia scenario to be repeated in several countries in the Arab world. Simply put, people now know the way through which they can choose their leaders!

Egyptians are facing death on the streets — the death toll already is over 100 — for one demand: “The People want to overthrow the regime.” Yet President Mubarak is, and has always been, listening more to outside than inside.

The overall situation from an international perspective can be understood from the hesitant and superficial decisions that Mubarak has taken so far. The Middle East does not afford someone other than himself in this critical position. Unlike the reaction to the similar Tunisian scenario that took place less than two weeks ago, the Obama administration is still holding firm to Mubarak and his regime as the ruling power of the most important and central of Arab states, which fits Mubarak’s personal interests in staying in power and not joining Tunisia’s deposed president Bin Ali in his Saudi Arabian exile.

The fact is, Egyptians are no longer looking to the outside; no longer asking for the international help which they have always been calling for. It is all now in the hands of the people. President Obama, sadly, has already lost his credibility on the Egyptian street after the famous — now infamous — Cairo Speech where almost all promises turned out to be public diplomacy.

The question of what is on the horizon, although hard to answer, can only be answered through listening to the slogans heard all over Egypt. After 30 years of oppression, Egyptians are no longer demonstrating only in the hundreds or write their anti-regime slogans in tiny handwriting; now Egyptians are in hundreds of thousands all over the country tearing down the photos of president Mubarak that have been hanging there forever, telling him personally to step down.

The Egyptian regime has been portraying a false picture about the political movements inside Egypt in order to maintain its power. Yet, now after the veil is uncovered, the Obama administration has to look deep into Egypt for a new alternative. But this time around, Egyptians are not allowing foreign powers to choose their leaders. They are doing it for themselves.

Something is forming up, I would even drop the term “Middle East,” with all what it carries of historical connotations, and call it a Brand New Arab World.

AbdAllah Black is the pseudonym of a student affiliated with Columbia University.

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