The Meaning of Tunisia

by Bill the Butcher

There can’t be too many today who are entirely unaware of the revolutionary tsunami sweeping the Arab world, so the usual introductory remarks can probably be dispensed with.

But there must be a lot of people who are deliberately hiding the significance of this wave from themselves. There are, of course, none so blind as those who will not see.

Since we have to begin somewhere, let’s take a look at how it all started.

It was a small thing, as such things go: a 26-year-old student, one Mohamed Bouazizi, burned himself to death after the authorities confiscated his fruit stall because he didn’t have a license [1]; and he, almost certainly, didn’t have a license because he didn’t have the money to pay the bribes necessary to get a license. That’s how it goes in far too many nations of the world.

A small thing in itself, maybe, one death, a single tiny tragedy. But remember the story of the straw that broke the camel’s back? Instead of silently moving on, the people of Tunisia, incensed by decades of oppressive dictatorship, finally rose up in revolt. That tired old phrase, the “Arab street”, suddenly took on new meaning as people cast their fear aside, kicked out the dictator, and to this day are intent on ousting the people who succeeded the tyrant. But that was not the end.

Like the spark that sets off the bushfire racing through tinder-dry undergrowth, similar revolutions erupted in – so far – Yemen, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and most important by far, Egypt, where the government is so spooked that it has shut down mobile phones and the Internet. Unless truly terrified and tottering, governments don’t take such desperate measures. And it is tottering; the Egyptian dictator’s son and heir apparent has allegedly fled the country for Britain, complete with his family and an enormous amount of loot, er, luggage. [2]

Yes, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt is still holding on, but it’s only a matter of time. Nothing is ever going to be the same again.

Now, what is the real significance of these protests, beyond the obvious desire of people to kick venal despots out of power?

Let’s look at a few that may not have been apparent to everyone.

First, every single one of the regimes whose people have revolted, so far, has been a puppet of the Empire operating out of Washington, DC [3]. Ben Ali of Tunisia was one of the United States’ favourite satraps, and so is Saleh, the vile Yemeni tyrant who is one of the Empire’s most servile “allies” in the Global War Of Terror. As for the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian people aren’t rebelling against the only legitimately elected force there, the allegedly tyrannical and terrorist HAMAS; they’re rebelling against the corrupt comprador Fatah regime, so beloved of the Empire and the so-called state of Israel.

And as for Mubarak. Oh yes, Mubarak. Where to begin? Should we talk about his status as the Empire’s most allied ally in North Africa? Should we mention that he, too, is a participant in the genocidal sanction regime against Gaza, along with the so-called state of “Israel”? Should we mention that the Empire has declared [4], while blood flows in the streets of Cairo, that Mubarak is stable on his throne?

It’s interesting, very interesting, that not one of the Arab countries in Washington’s cross-hairs – not, let’s say, Syria, for instance, or Libya, those allegedly oppressive tyrannies – has seen a single protest, let alone a revolution. Nor has Gaza, where the “terrorist” HAMAS “oppresses” the people by trying its best to provide housing, food, and social services. Nor has Lebanon, invaded – for the latest time – in 2006 by the so-called state of “Israel”, to applause from the Empire. Not one of them has seen a revolt, let alone a revolution.

Isn’t that interesting, now?

I wonder what exactly will happen when Washington’s favourite tyrants begin to topple like, well, ninepins. In this day and age, people aren’t blind, and the Internet has brought the world together like nothing ever has before, as the tottering Egyptian dictatorship obviously recognises. What happens when the fire consumes the Empire’s proxies across the Arab world? Who will feel the most threatened then, with the compliant satraps replaced by democratic regimes answerable to their own people, or at least trying to be?

The so-called state of “Israel”, that’s who.

It’s hardly a secret to those in the know that the regime oppressing Occupied Palestine can continue to do so only because of the tacit, and sometimes not so tacit, support of dictatorships and monarchies across the Arab world. With that covert support stripped away, the Zionists will know their days are numbered. They will be entirely dependent, even more than now, on the Empire for survival. And given their history and what passes for their thought processes, their default response will be to unleash war against all the newly free Arab nations. Washington, which is utterly in thrall to the illegitimate regime, will find a way to approve. It has after all, approved everything so far, including the bombing of schools and hospitals.

But that might no longer be enough.

What, precisely, happens when the wave of revolution washes away such verminous scum as the House of Saud? Will a democratic successor regime continue to supply oil to the Empire? Will Iraq’s comprador regime continue in power, and how, by massacring its own people? Will the other oil-producing monarchies in West Asia democratise quickly to survive, or wait to go under?

And then, what happens when the democratic nations of the Arab world act according to the wishes of their peoples, and not according to Washington’s dictates? What happens when the Empire finds its unmentionables trapped in an energy squeeze? Caught between its own survival and that of the illegitimate and murderous regime in Occupied Palestine, what will the Empire do? Can it invade and occupy the Arab world, or will it finally abandon the Zionists?

Democracy in the Arab world, then, is bad. It’s terrible. If at all possible, it has to be stopped.


Well, there is the theory that allowing democracy in the Arab world throws the door open for Islamic parties. Ergo, allowing Arab democracy means allowing Islamic fundamentalism. I’m predicting right now that you can expect this idea to play all over the so-called “international” media in the coming days. (It’s already begun, with news reports of how Tunisia’s “Islamists” have returned home with the revolution, and how the Muslim Brotherhood – a decaying collection of fogies utterly overtaken by events in Egypt [5] – will rule the Arab world, post-revolution.)

It’s a ludicrous proposition, of course.

If we’ve seen anything at all, it’s that suppressing Islamic parties is what leads to Islamic revolutions. It happened in Iran, and in Algeria [6], where the army took over with overt Western support after a religious party overwhelmingly won an entirely democratic election. And let’s not forget (though I’m sure a lot of people reading this will try their best to forget it) that the raison d’être of that bogie of bogies, Al Qaeda, isn’t blind hatred of Western “freedoms”; it’s opposition to the utterly vile House of Saud ruling from Riyadh.[7]

Allow Islamic parties to take part in democratic elections, and you’ll see how fast Islamic extremism will wither away, if only because those in power will try and stay in power by appealing to the broadest base possible. Look at Turkey, for instance.

But people who could be deluded into believing that Saddam Hussein was behind 11/9, and that London was “45 minutes from destruction”, can be deluded into believing anything, it appears. At least the Empire will hope so, and act on that hope. Its economy needs Unending War, after all.

Meanwhile, as far as I can see, what happens in Egypt will prove decisive. The illegitimate Zionist entity obviously realises it, too, [8] and will do whatever it can to prevent that from happening. But, apart from putting pressure on the Empire, it can’t do much. At the time of writing, the next couple of days will prove to be the making or breaking of the Revolution. Mubarak will either go under or try and stay in power by a massive, blood-soaked massacre [9] of the protestors, a massacre that might be justified by tales of armed terrorists hiding amidst the people. (And if that happens, you can imagine the relief with which the Empire’s Mubarak Fan Club [10] will leap to his support).

Expect interesting times.[11]

But the floodgates are creaking, and the democratic momentum is unstoppable. It might take a while more, but the writing is on the wall.

Even King Knut couldn’t turn back the tide.

Postscript: While the “Arab Street” burns, and young men and women give their lives for a better tomorrow, we in India are launching our own revolution. We forward text message jokes about our kleptocratic “leaders”, and are yet to see even a single mass protest about spiraling prices and rampant corruption.

Every people deserve the leaders they have ruling over them.