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Wednesday
Jul 30th

The Arab youth revolution... a bad year for dictators

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egyptianflag“There is no doubt that mathematics and astronomy owe a great debt to the Arabs,” wrote George Sarton a Harvard historian of science in his introduction to the history of science. It all started more than 1,000 years ago, in the Ninth century to be exact. An Arab genius named Musa al-Khawazmi, while the west was living the dark age, went to India to study their science.  There he took a hard look at the Indian sifr (zero), which had been used mainly as an empty ring for calculation convenience.   al-Khawazmi then came back home and introduced what is now used and known in the west as Arab numerals and the concept of zero, which resulted in a scientific revolution where algebra and computer science have been built until today.  Without the Arab zero, there wouldn’t be a digital and social Network, there wouldn’t be Facebook and there wouldn’t be an Arab revolution.
 

And Arab dictators wouldn’t have been doing what they have been doing for years: squandering Arab wealth and brutalizing their own people.

The Arab youth revolution has been the most transforming revolution in history.  Millions of young men and women have put their lives on the line and have taken to the street to ask for freedom and dignity.  The American youth who used the social network and Facebook to elect the first Black president have been missing.
 

American youth are on the social network mainly to be entertained and in pursuit of happiness as an empty zero.
 

Now, it all comes back in a full circle.

 As Arabs introduced the concept of zero to the west a millennium ago, they are at it again, now giving the west a new meaning of social network that could topple dictators and transform societies.
 

The Arab revolution in Tunis, and Egypt  that rid those countries of their longtime dictators, now is spreading in Libya where a lunatic dictator is cornered in his green zone capital city, and to Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain, Sudan, Syria, Iraq and even Iran. Arab people are not just standing at, but storming the gates of corruption and dictatorship. The Arab revolution is connecting and inspiring people all over the world.  North Koreans and Vietnamese are studying the Egyptian revolution for their own fight for change.
 

America youth, however, are no place to be found.  The average American spends only 15 minutes a month on Politicos, and, according to Nielsen, total minutes spent on Facebook increased nearly 700 percent year-over-year, growing from 1.7 billion minutes in April 2008 to 13.9 billion in April 2009.  
Women spend more hours watching cooking on TV than actually cooking, liberating themselves from the kitchen to the coach.
 

The Arab revolution is taking the west by surprise, and the west can’t have it both ways. They can’t support undemocratic dictators and democracy at the same time. You can’t talk about peace all the time and wage wars everywhere. You can’t support Arab people revolution and  Arab military entrenchment at the same time.

They can’t launch  homeland security at here while waging a homeland insecurity war in the world.  They can’t support Israel’s occupation of Arab lands,  and support the peace process at the same time.

 Obama, can’t send a kind public message to the Muslim world while privately sending drones to assassinate Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
 

America can’t fight Muslim fundamentalism abroad and spread Christian fundamentalism at home; can’t fight Afghani Taliban and support Israeli Taliban; can’t fight religious Jihadists and nourish financial jihadists, because more people committed suicide for economic reasons than religion ones.
 

We can’t talk about liberating Muslim women and ignore subjugating our own women at home, with almost 600 rapes a day and 5 millions assaults on women committed each year in America alone.
 

I understand the Arab revolution is not over, and the challenges of post revolution are mounting. But there is no going back to business as usual.
 

It has been a bad couple of months already for Arab dictators, and it is going to be a bad year not just for the Arab dictators, but for dictators all over the world… government dictators and corporate dictators as well, because the Arab revolution is a people revolution, where people all over the world can win.
 
Ahmed Tharwat/ Public Speaker/Host of the Arabic TV show BelAhdan , Airs on Public TV,  Saturdays at 1:30pm www.ahemdiatv.com
 

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