Monkeys and Mad dogs: what would the new Middle East look like to a sleeping Sharon?
Seven years after he first slipped into a coma, former Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has begun to show evidence of brain activity. Those on watch for signs of life have been disappointed before when, two years ago, a report was released suggesting Sharon was stirring from his slumber. However, according to Israeli scientists, the ex-general is now demonstrating ‘normal brain activity’, a significant change on his vegetative state.
Although a hero to many Israelis, Sharon has been no friend to the region’s Arabs. Known variously as ‘Bulldozer’, ‘war criminal’ and ‘Baby Butcher’, the former statesmen is vilified from Baghdad to Tripoli. But the images of this retired general are not all black and white and towards the end of his political career, Sharon seemed to have a change of heart.
The Israeli politician moved his stance from hero of the settlement movement to head of the left wing, Kadima party, now under the wing of Tzipi Livni. But Arabs have not been quick to forget his part in the Sabra and Shatila massacre of 1982 or his role in the Six Day War. Continue reading below »
And pigs might fly?
For the last seven years, though, Sharon has been neither liberal nor right-wing, as he sleeps through some of the most radical changes the region has seen in decades. The remote likelihood has been creatively explored before, but if he were to wake from his coma now, a bewildered Sharon would find an austere Israel, more isolated than ever from its neighbors, only just clinging on to its most important ally: the U.S.
Although there has been no vaunted ‘peace in the Middle East’, the region would be barely recognizable to him. Post-Arab Spring, Arabs have voted in leaders who have to spend more time appeasing their electorate and less time jetting around the world stage. Empowered populations of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and even Yemen, ousted long-time dictators and demanded change. In effect, the landscape for an Israeli leader is a much more nerve-wracking one, seven years on.
Here we set the scene for the awakening of an Israeli leader effectively stuck in a time-warp. What would Sharon be greeted by if he was to wake up in the winter of 2013?
What do you think Ariel Sharon would think if he suddenly regained consiousness? How do you think things would have panned out differently if he'd maintained his health over the past seven years? Comment below.
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