Never Whipped Again Abdenour Toumi
Never Whipped Again
Arabs today disapprove of a scornful saying, used by regimes as an alibi of terror, that ruled them for decades, if not century: “Never buy the slave without the baton” (“la techteri el-aʼabda ela oua el-aʼasa maʼahou”), although current events in the region are proving this ridiculous saying wrong. Thanks to el-Jazeera and Facebook, millions of tyrannized people in the Arab world are rising up against their delusional regimes and the neo-colonialists, and are changing the geopolitical cards that have been dealt in the region. Arabs have excelled in turning predictions of American pseudo-experts about North Africa and the Middle East upside down. The surprising riots and political rallies of the people, whose organizing means of expression against oppression are Facebook and el-Jazeera, have been reported worldwide and profoundly analyzed. el-Jazeera is playing a leading role in helping the Arabs revolt against their aging leaders with their catastrophic public policies.
El-Jazeera has become the voice of the wretched in the region by covering the socio-political upheaval and transmitting their despair in order for the world to understand the source of the Arab malaise and fanaticism. el-Jazeera has always been a controversial news channel that quickly gained a large audience in the region, destroying the local states’ TV propaganda, but has been mislabeled by the West and moderate Arab regimes as carrying an Islamist agenda. At its debut, the channel created confusion in the Arab world where media generally is costumed and controlled by the regime, so it is no wonder that people hardly trusted the network because of the green light given by the host country, as well as the support of the Qatari Royal family. The Qataris seem as though they are not dictating and are endorsing the networks editorial line, giving freedom and professionalism to the hungry; young journalists and communication experts came from all over the Arab world, most of them editors and anchors in their native countries. They brought about the desire of change and created a new dynamic in the regions’ conflict and crisis management equation. They succeeded in breaking taboos, subjects which were used as monopoly games from the regimes. such as the use of the Palestinian cause as political capital and legitimacy to eternalize power. Then came the Islamist question, and the paranoia to “fight” terrorism, but as it turned out, people were terrorized by their regimes.
Today, el-Jazeera is showing live images and analyzing what is happening in the Arab streets, although its critics still see it as a menace to the “national security/regimes eternity,” and the geopolitical interest of their masters in the region, being characterized as amateurish, sensationalistic and unprofessional. Its intended that Arabs receive credible news, treating adults like adults, and not like children being fed fairy tales of liberation, revolution, and fighting terrorism, because now the people can fight for their own freedom, fight the terrorists, and reject the terrorizing policies of the regimes.
Tunisian and Egyptian revolts are clear examples of a new political landscape in the Arab world. One could argue that el-Jazeera and Facebook imploded the theory that political parties and pressure groups will usually produce a dialectic struggle to reach power in the civil state (edawla el-madania). They are also rejecting critics from the old generation who say that the current generation is not interested in public life, and is caught in the middle of a deadly equation el-Harga (illegal immigration in the West), religious radicalism, and a generation of hitists (Wall holders). Mohamed Bouaʼaziziʼs case resulted in scrambling the cliché, and creating a new narrative in the struggle against power.
There is an emerging socio-political climate in the region, in which people increasingly surpass all official sources (state controlled media) with all its shortcomings. el-Jazeeraʼs office in Cairo has been closed, and their reporters are persona non grata. The regime in Egypt still does not get it, or does not want to get it. The moment of truth has come, which we see through Facebook, comments on el-Jazeeraʼs website and in the news control room via their Blackberries, hence both social media and the satellite channel are reporting the same extraordinary story that is making history for the Arab people-- people who have finally waken up from the suffering and painful whippings of the baton.