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The Arab Spring and the Autumn of the Dictators

For the last few weeks, I have been, like so many other people from the Muslim world, engrossed in the uprising in Libya hoping for a quick end to Qaddafi’s dictatorship. As someone who comes form a country where one after the other dictator has conveniently defiled the national constitution in the name of national service, this new tide of popular uprisings against dictators is really heartening.

This new wave of popular revolutions not only dispels the often racilized views of Arabs and Muslims (A FOX news commentator recently declared that Arabs were genetically unfit for democracy) but also sends a strong message to any future adventurers in our part of the world. It seems our people will no longer allow local dictatorial puppets to become the local policemen for the imperial interests.

These new revolutions, of course, should also be a lesson to the generals in Pakistan: it seems they can no longer oust popularly elected governments in the name of national security.

There is an ironic moment in Pervez Musharraf’s (remember him?) post-coup speech where he indicts Nawaz Sharif’s government for “politicizing the armed forces.” The fact that he does that with a straight face exactly at the moment when he himself has suddenly become a politician is akin to work of art in sophistry.

I also like this image of Musharraf in uniform being greeted in Lahore as he canvasses for his so-called referendum: a general playing a political without even a hint of irony.

let us hope that this new wave of popular uprisings in the Middle East will forestall any future military adventurism.

Next, we need to teach some lessons to our over-fed and anachronistic waderas and zamindars. I am sure there time will come soon.

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Thoughts on Libya Bombing

As I write these lines, the international forces have started bombing key installations in Libya. My feelings on this new air war are, as usual, deeply split. Part of me is sad because it is yet another Muslim country being bombed by the US and its allies. But another part of me is hopeful, as these actions were absolutely necessary by the world community to finally stop Gaddafi.

As the implementation of this “No Fly Zone” continues, let us keep reminding ourselves that this, at least, is not a war engineered by the US. This war started because people of Libya rose against their dictator, who, in turn, unleashed the might of his armed forces against his own people. The purpose of these airstrikes is to stop him from eliminating this first serious popular resistance to his autocratic rule.

Though the idea of yet another Muslim nation under attack infuriates and saddens me; I am, at this point, grateful to the world community for their efforts to enable the Libyan people to fight against Gaddafi and his ilk. We should also remember that this aid by the West cannot and should not be mobilized to make any claims on the future of Libya: this aid should not become a claim to Libya’s resources in the future and if it does become that, we will be there to remind the world community.

And we should keep reminding them even now, repeatedly: The Libyan people started this revolution; they asked for your help; you helped them, but you do not and never shall own their future.

I also hope that if the people of other Middle Eastern nations seek global help against their tyrannical governments, the world will be there to support their efforts for democracy. And if the Muslim nations have a problem with the West bombing Libya, then send in your own troops, planes, and your warships to aid this effort. But I think I will see pigs fly before I see Saudi planes–the most modern airforce in the Arab world–on Libyan skies. It is time to rethink our region and to finally express that tyranny of any kind–no matter what underwrites it–has no place in the world.

So, here it is: thank you world for helping the Libyan people and thank you people of Libya for rising against tyranny.

(Read Aljazeera’s Live Blog on Libya)