Thinking about moderation

The only enduring feature of Arab autocratic regimes is the pragmatic rationale to which they irremediably abide, making them always ask for the moderate solutions. In itself, they are the most perfect example of stability seekers. Notwithstanding the fact that they do so in the hope of preserving their regimes, the final outcome is, well, political stability.

When Mubarak warns against the hanging of Saddam, he knows what he’s talking about. Hanging such a symbolically-charged character can only lead to more turbulence. And turbulence is the worst nightmare of Mubarak. In the Arab world, public hangings only occur if the regime thinks it contributes to political stability. Assassinations, torture, or any other type of repression are done in private settings, in prisons for example.

The same reasoning can apply to the pragmatism of Nabih Berri (Lebanese speaker of Parliament). Driven by his sole desire to stay in power at whatever, this guy has lately positioned himself as calling for compromise. The famous “dialogue” sessions (that are in fact monologues) were instigated by him. He championed the voice of moderation so much that this crooked semi-mafia ex-warlord was admired by Al-Akhbar’s editorialists.

For me the lesson to extract from all of this is a bit different. The fact that only these guys represent the voice of moderation, compromise and reason should be a signal to how low we have come so far. So low, that only corruption, and the preservation of mercantile and/or elite/statist interest is creating some kind of calculated humanism.


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