Saturday, March 12, 2005

gulfnews.com: 'Kifaya' is the bud of a new movement on Arab streets

gulfnews.com: Opinion: "'Kifaya' is the bud of a new movement on Arab streets

By Youssef M. Ibrahim, Special to Gulf News
The recent protests in Cairo and Beirut have been organised with the chant of a new Arab movement kifaya, Arabic for enough.

The word, says the Egyptian democracy advocate and sociologist Dr Saad Al Din Ebrahim, is fast becoming a mantra for millions of Arabs wanting to seize their own destiny.

Certainly the slogan has surfaced in banners carried into those street demonstrations, but more important it has now found its way on television shows, read in opinion columns by Arab pundits and certainly advocated by millions of Arabs in the privacy of their homes from Casablanca to Riyadh.

Could this one word be a harbinger of a muscular popular Arab revolt such as the movement that guided millions of people in Eastern Europe in shedding their tired old despotic regimes after the fall of the Soviet Union?

Scepticism abounds, but so do tell-tale signs that it is in fact building up into a people's revolution, certainly in Lebanon, but also in Egypt and to some extent elsewhere in the Arab world.

Ever since the assassination of the former prime minister of Lebanon Rafik Hariri on February 14, the Lebanese have taken the lead from the Egyptians, who started the Kifaya movement.

Egyptians have for a year now been asking President Hosni Mubarak not to run for a fifth, six years, term at age 77 or in the least to create the mechanism for orderly succession.

The Lebanese adopted it in their street protests as a vehicle to demand that Syria ends its 29-year-occupation of Lebanon.

Could this be early warnings of an Arab political tsunami? If so, which ruler or what Arab policies are next in the line of fire?

Certainly across the region, kifaya is now addressed to concepts of government including dynastic tyrannies handed down from father to son, massive theft of public funds, the prevalent lack of transparency in business and the conduct of the affairs of state and mental retardation spread by imposters posing as religious leaders.

To all of these, Arabs have for some time now said kifaya."

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