The trial against medical staff that treated protesters in Bahrain is now in full swing. The lack of any significant reaction from Europe against the Bahraini regime amidst continuous human rights violations stands in stark contrast to the reaction against other Arab dictators. It is a shame that political and economic interests prevent the West from severely sanctioning the tiny Gulf state.
Posts Tagged ‘ Arabian Revolution ’
Protesters and freedom fighters in the Arab world can count on the sympathy, and sometimes the support of Western democratic nations. But this sympathy clouds our judgement, because we automatically conceive the rioters as heroes. The villains are those resisting change, sometimes willing to give their lives for the dictators. Yet, we hardly understand why. The democratic principals that we hold dear and that we wish new regimes will adopt should make us want to know the whole story.
Past and present show that not just political exclusion, but more so economic underperformance can lead to popular protest and rebellion. These lessons should be applied to Spain and Greece, where Europe’s economic crisis is hitting hardest. The possibility of political violence in Southern Europe’s poorly performing economies cannot be excluded.
France’s bombs on Gbagbo and Italy’s bombs on Khadafi show that Europe’s countries dare to act in their former colonies. Accusations of neocolonialism by evildoers should be accepted as compliments, as it means standing up for human rights, even in countries where acting militarily is sensitive.
With Khadafi’s would-be massacre looming in Benghazi, Europe has proven that it is still willing to take on a messianic role to fight for freedom. The enthusiasm that David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy have shown to protect human life with all means necessary deserves the deepest respect and stands in stark contrast to Germany’s inexcusable cowardice. Libya deserves European military support in escaping from the yoke of a madman that has oppressed its people for generations.
Catherine Ashton might be the most criticised European of the last few weeks. While the peoples in North-Africa and the Middle-East were fighting for their freedom, our High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy only managed to produce some vague statements in response. She seemed powerless to do anything more substantial. But is that entirely her own fault? The answer to that question will be given below.
Over the past weeks, we have witnessed in the Middle East what few have held possible: we have seen the downfall of two dictatorial regimes and ongoing unrest. All eyes were first on Tunisia, then on Egypt. The whole world watched as history unfolded, yet many Western leaders did not know what to do or say. Amidst the turmoil, the EU has been reminiscent of its absence.