The Arab Renaissance :There is no partial freedom of the mind

As Libyan dictatorship falls, and the people of Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain and Jordan gather together in a quest to free themselves from dictators or dictatorial Monarchy, this article I had published before becomes more important. Especially because the West had earlier aligned themselves to so many of these Monarchies or Dictatorships that are now (hopefully) falling. What would the US do if the Saud family who rule Saudi Arabia fall ? We should view these freedom movements as potentially beneficial to all of us, as I see this as an Arab Renaissance. So I am republishing it.

“You cannot free a mind just to contain it with in boundaries. And when the collective mind gets free it multiplies the surge of new thinking, new art, new industry and new systems. It represents a surge in optimism and also therefore a surge in tolerance and secularism.

But it also entails a surge in the vulnerability as people explore a new found freedom.? As they pursue a dream that have dreamt in private and often in fear for many years. It represents a yearning and an almost impossible optimism often.? There lies the danger and vulnerability.? Any suggestion of controls of that freedom, a perceived violation of the newly discovered joys and optimism, can turn into a surge of anger and disappointment. At that time the vultures of fundamentalism, of terrorism, of extremist thought are waiting to feed quickly on the corpses of those dreams.

What the intense renaissance that is happening all over the Arab word needs therefore are new? leaders that can channel this new energy to take the once great civilizations back to the glory they knew. For if they do not, the vultures are waiting on the sidelines.? What happened in Egypt was so mature that it needs now very very mature leadership and systems to protect that maturity.

And I am afraid it needs far more maturity from the West.? There is nothing called ‘partial freedom of the mind’.? It is either free or it is not. The Tunisians are coming in their hundreds illegally to Italy. Once they came as unwelcome refugees.? Now the whole Western world has supported their fight to democracy. Encouraged their new found courage.? Now they come to Europe with same courage and expect to be treated as friends.? Did the whole world not encourage and applaud the Tunisians and hail them for their great revolutionary courage?? Now you cannot just hrow them into prisons.

As the people of Bahrain rebel against their rulers, the US must be worried about where their Third Fleet will go if the people decide NOT to have US naval bases in Bahrain.? You cannot encourage people to ask for democracy and then not bend to the will of those very people.? The West cannot then try and protect the Shia rulera against Sunni majorities, or vice versa.? The rulers of Saudi Arabia are of course now vulnerable.? Iranian people are potentially the best friends of the Egyptians and Bahraini people.? These are the new realities.

The West needs to re asses it role in the whole of the Arab world and can no longer be double sided. The Arab people are changing their destinies and are looking to shake of colonial shackles – it’s time that they did.? They were once the greatest sources of Culture, Astronomy , Mathematics , Medicine etc.? We should look forward to their re emergence and not view them any longer form one point of view-.

Oil ..”


13 thoughts on “The Arab Renaissance :There is no partial freedom of the mind

  1. Freedom a reality of humanity that would arise sooner or later. Those who try to suffocate the souls won’t succeed for long. Very thoughtful article. Thank you.

  2. Firstly, this “renaissance” by the masses in the middle east is just another vain attempt by the mind to find happiness through an external struggle. Required by the grand design, nonetheless.

    Secondly, a lot of this is Iran’s doing, especially the uprising in Bahrain. With the Iraqi Sunnis in tatters, Iran is now uniting their pack of Shias in the middle east towards an Islamic Caliphate?

  3. When the Near East was birthplace of mankind when humanity was evolving and were humans were exploring the stars, universe, live and the way to keep live(medicine) to understand live( maths) we lived without boundaries we travelled …
    To Life means to be equal in front of death. Every action was followed by kneejerk reaction.The sound of a voice had got a carry of great weight.
    The west is known for prosperity and sometimes symbolise a nation of poets and philosophers.Till now we are infantile, because we ignore the consequences of what humanity has done.The East has reached his adolescence.
    We all need to rise, to envelope and to miniaturise .So the east needs the west, the west needs the east as much as the north needs the south and the south the north.
    To change a single thing it needs the will to change it,what ever it is.It’s not enough to wish somebody-else to do it.
    Let us start by knocking down the boundaries in our heads and hearts.Leave fear behind.
    So it will happen.

  4. Dear Shekhar:

    Social upheavals always contain an element of fragility. When a whole nation collectively rises and its people overcome class differences for that one great moment when a despot is finally sent packing all become united behind this one great goal. When the sounds of the revolution have died down and the change of old orders have created a power vacuum these are the moments when the unscrupulous elements lurking in every society often pounce. Now is the time for those who created the moral narrative for an uprising to step forward, relentlessly so and make their contributions. They must quickly find a way to a realism that allows them to balance the idealistic goals of a new order with the pragmatism needed to implement them. The days and weeks after the people reluctantly relinquish their power they had found in the collective will to force a change are the most critical ones, when the unity of the masses no longer is demonstrated in the streets, when the intensity to force a change has lost its momentum.

    Egypt has impressed me tremendously. There is a very good chance that the “from the fire into the frying pan” syndrome will not get traction, that there will be an undiminished vigilance ready to be carried back to the streets. Africa in the past 30 years has suffered terribly from the ruthlessness of opportunistic despots under the guise of having eradicated colonialism and white oppression. Egypt, I believe will not fall into this trap. How the Western world will react once the excitement of having loudly applauded this wonderful fight for democracy gives way to the sober dictates of Realpolitik is a different question entirely.

    There is no doubt, that the winds of change are blowing across the whole Arab world. Much of the success to bring quick changes throughout the region will depend on the degree of brutality with which the ruling class will defend its turf. There will be an incredible amount of imponderables once the domino pieces begin to fall but one thing the west must not do is to try to prop up regimes that inexorably are heading for extinction.

    I see a broader aspects that gives so much rise for hope. The internet has pushed open windows into the world of plenty for those to peer in who silently and acquiescently have suffered their terrible lot. They have now seen our democracies, flawed as they may be but still vastly preferable to an existence that had assigned them to the nether regions of hopelessness. They will be silent sufferers no more. Maybe, just maybe, we are heading for a more just world, one that no longer thrives on class differences in the interest of the few who hitherto thought would hold all the power in their hands. As Egypt has proven, they no longer do.

    This wind of change that is now blowing across the Arab world will eventually gather strength and spread out over the whole planet earth.

    Best regards.


  5. What a very thoughtful article. I wish the Egyptians the very best. Their pride in their country, their wishes, their solutions, their democratic will and their desire for NOBODY else to take credit or dictate terms springs out from our TV screens and is clear for all to see. I did find it funny though, when one of them set up India as a shining example and then said, “But who knows the name of their Prime Minister.” Some of us do, Manmohan Singh and we admire you, right from your days as Narsimha Rao’s finance minister who made the first moves to open up our economy.

  6. Yes, we admire Manmohan Singh like a clown in a circus doing magic tricks of making money this case, lots and lots of people’s money that should have gone into building India.
    The weak puppet Manmohan Singh is probably worse than the British and Mughals put together.

  7. Manmohan Singh made the first moves to open up our economy – for loot by the Gandhi(Maino) family, for loot by the highest bidder in the UPA coalition, and for loot by western corporations trying to sell India more materialistic crap.

  8. very thoughtful evoking some of my own thoughts at the momentous ripple in history.
    but we have seen before how the great powers have thrown away these chances to further petty venal causes. the world today might have not been in that stage otherwise.
    my only expectation is from the arab people themselves.

  9. one of the things why i really like your work. great post.

    nice greetings from germany

    looking forward to Paani.. (?)


  10. Just read a blog on and our PM was given a new creative title: “headless chicken sardar”

  11. “The West needs to re asses it role in the whole of the Arab world and can no longer be double sided.” There is a very interesting article in the Washington post to compliment that sentiment of yours. It categorically states that America’s official lines for tyrants is not uniform and that it depends on how useful tyrants are to the U.S of A. Here’s the link

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