AMERICAN IN ARABIA Finds Recycling in the Middle East - of Leaders

Published March 7th, 2012 - 12:15 GMT
Are these the two sides of the same political coin? Faces for power in the Middle East.
Are these the two sides of the same political coin? Faces for power in the Middle East.

Here’s a quick lesson in Middle Eastern politics. Apparently, when it comes to electing a President, there is no guilt by association. In Yemen, Egypt, and Libya, the Heads of States were run out like bandits. One was burnt like a frijole; another is handcuffed to his hospital bed. And Gadhafi, well, he was sodomized and killed. They were greatly disliked so naturally we would assume that anyone associated with these former leaders would be, at the least, shown the door.

In these scenarios, we see that Middle Easterners do recycle after all. In all three aforementioned situations, the former vice president is running for reelection or has been elected as the next country leader.

Let me get this straight: The president caused an Arab Spring against himself but his right hand man is the replacement? To me, this is like saying, “Your brother is a diseased criminal and I would never left him even near my town. His moral fiber itself is rotten and if we met in public, I’d personally bite his head off. But your other brother, sure, he’s welcome and he can marry my daughter.”

In Israel, we're seeing the same faces on the PM rota time and time again. Even the comatose Ariel Sharon served right until falling into his deep sleep. Not a repeat offender on the PM seat, he had been in key political and military positions from the get go, not unlike Egypt's leaders who started as military men and shuffled between power positions for the last 40 years.

Mubarak served as vice president to Sadat before his own supreme 30 year rule. Yet, neither age nor being a convicted war criminal put Sharon off from  running again. There is no fresh blood on the Israeli political circuit. Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu have all dominated the PM seat, doing two pops each.

I asked my Arab colleagues if they thought this was at all odd to them. They kind of shrugged and said, “It’s normal. Besides, you guys do it too”. We do? What about our revolution against our British occupiers where we kicked them and their tea party completely out? Look at us now, we have a government where when a president is elected, he brings on a completely new staff.   We do it too? Oh, come on!

And when that president serves the first term, he makes drastic changes! Well, not too drastic since he wants to get reelected. And he’s trying to bring both parties together, so he needs to walk softly. Plus, the Congress and House are led by two different political parties so there’s a lot of red tape. Y

ou know, now that I look at it more closely, our system is much like the recycling of the last guy: the same politicians scratching each other’s backs and throwing the general public a bone every now and then.

Look at our current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. She has been calling the White House home for a good twelve years now as First lady, congresswoman, presidential candidate,  and now repesenitng the U.S. globally. It is expected that she will go for President again in her lifetime. Clinton junior, Chelsea was also under scrutiny recently for getting her coveted anchor position at the American flagship NBC, when most journalism majors don't even get to see the inside of a newsroom. And don't even get me started on the Bush dynasty. Or the Kennedys for that matter. The Roosevelts... You’re right. We do it too.

So on paper, it looks like this massive Middle Eastern revolution was no more than like washing one’s hair: lather, rinse, and repeat. The Arab Spring has rinsed and washed away most of the old, dirty build up of the past regimes. But where’s the promised change?

Lives were sacrificed and now mother’s are wondering if their son’s lives were worth it. Don’t repeat your old hairy styles of governing, or our governmental system for that matter. Shave off all the corruption, lies and start brand new. Instead of just a haircut or even a nose job, on the same old ugly mug, how about you give your government a whole new face lift?

By Brett Weer and staff

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