Saif Al-Gaddafi’s address reflects moral bankruptcy of Arab regimes
Like millions across the Arab world, I watched Saif Al-Gaddafi’s TV address. I wasn’t surprised at what I heard.
At its heart, the message that he delivered contains the same arguments that have been deployed by various Arab regimes, the Syrian regime especially, to justify its existence. The message can be summarized into three main arguments:
1- We are the guarantors of the unity of the country. If we go the country will fall apart.
2- We are the guarantors against Islamic extremism. If we go the Islamists will take over.
3- We are the only ones qualified to run the country. If we go, public services will collapse and the economy will suffer.
The use of these arguments reflects an absolute moral bankruptcy at the heart of the “monarchical republics.” In order to justify their existence, they refer not to what they have actually achieved, because they have achieved very little, but by what may happen if they are removed. It’s a cheap way of playing to people’s worst fear.
This same argument is being deployed aggressively, and with slightly greater skill, by Bashar Al-Assad and his propagandists at home and abroad to stave off a popular revolt and/or international isolation.
The only problem is that in both Tunisia and Egypt where regimes where brought down, there hasn’t been the predicted lawlessness or national disintegration. People can see that there is life after these regimes.
The victory of the Libyan people against their oppressor of 42 years will be a final nail in the coffin to these “lowest common denominator” arguments. It won’t off course stop people using them, but they are becoming extremely tenuous and increasingly ineffective.