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The Spring Phenomena!   

Al Hayat - 16 February, 2012
Author: Abdullah Iskandar

The revolutions are carrying contradictions, outbidding and paradoxes, all linked to the moment of the recession of the authority targeted by these revolutions, the collapse of the wall of fear, the feeling of empowerment and enablement, the loss of the political and moral standards, and the attempts to expand the circle of influence and impact.

This is why the phenomena and demands exceeding the slogans of the revolution regarding the establishment of the state of the law, equality and justice can be understood.

And in order to bring the situation back on the right track during the gray stage, the revolutions’ transitional phases are trying to instate new rules governing everyone’s work, while benefitting from the wide popular protests against the foundations and practices of the former regimes. Hence, the missions of the transitional authorities – whether those elected or formed based on a settlement – acquire an exceptional importance along the path toward stability and transition toward the desired state, but also the establishment of political habits setting the bases of that state. In that context, the continuation of the phenomena opposing the concept of the state remains the main challenge facing the prevailing powers during the transitional phase, and they are prone to play a role in the upcoming stage.

Amidst the Arab spring where Islamic powers are emerging in the states witnessing transitional phases – namely Egypt, Tunisia and Libya – there are non-marginal phenomena carried in the news and marking a great defiance and a real threat in the face of the building of the state, although the degrees of the defiance and the threats may vary from one country to another.

In light of the Egyptian revolution that was launched in protest against arbitrary measures, injustice, tyranny and nepotism, a customary tribal council ordered the displacement of the members of a family belonging to a certain religion from their small village, following a dispute with citizens from another religion. And while the Egyptian elite fiercely criticized this behavior and the authority which approved it, the act in itself constituted a strong blow to the state of the law which should rely on an independent civil judiciary responsible for looking into such cases instead of the customary council in the region.

In parallel to this, the so-called Salafi movement in Tunisia summoned an Egyptian scholar known for his extremist and hard line positions in regard to equality, women’s issues and behavior. And while the ruling coalition during the transitional phase in Tunisia – especially the Islamic Ennahda Movement – is trying to maintain the civil aspect of social life in Tunisia, the detractors of the civil state are still imposing their opinions in premises shaping people’s awareness, especially the universities, while transforming the mosques into recruitment and instigation sites to clash with the supporters of the civil society associations.

At the same time, the Tunisian Interior Ministry announced the arrest of individuals and the confiscation of weapons, indicating that the latter found safe refuge in Libya before heading to Tunisia. This reveals that the Libyan transitional council, whose steps to instate stability continue to be obstructed, is still facing – in addition to the tribal tendencies which are for the most part linked to the previous authority – threats from terrorist groups.

But these events are the mere tip of the iceberg, since many others are not being mentioned by the news agencies or tackled by the politicians. We can imagine that some of what we do not know might be more dangerous and threatening vis-à-vis the goals of the Arab spring. This is why the transitional authorities should move from the stage of indulging the extremist activities to determining the clear foundations of the meaning of the civil state, as well as the limits of tolerance that can be shown in the face of those calling for the undermining of the civil state and the state of the law.
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