With Hosni Mubarak out of the way I can see people getting hyper about the prospects of what could go wrong or right. As usual Pakistanis are heavy on the comparison side, where excited politicians like Imran Khan blowing trumpets on TV shows about a revolution and change coming from youth. Also the idea of experimenting something similar to Egypt in Pakistan is not dropped at all. People who believe Egypt and Pakistan are same are wrong, they are wrong about any other nation because Egypt was not Tunisia and would not be Jordon or Iran. All these countries that are going through change or have passed through the initial phases have different scenarios.
On the other hand Tunisians and Egyptians should be proud of themselves to come out on the street and challenge the status quo. They should also be proud of changing the course of history for their future generations. I think from past experiences we learn that the first step might be easy because it comes after a struggle where common emotions play an important role in rallying people around for a common cause. But as soon as the first stone is thrown the battle starts expanding to new frontiers. Mostly unseen or unwanted actors enter the political arena to hijack the common emotions and everything’s comes back to square one, as it happened in Ukraine or Iran or maybe it is about to happen in Tunisia. My understanding on this is that during long running regimes nations fail to contemplate and punch back their ideas, test their beliefs or even think out of the box. They tend to topple regimes but fail to align themselves on new setups.
They fail to address the newfound freedom with pragmatism, and their pride deprives them of opportunities to explore and look into new horizons. It is the first step to change or topple a regime but establishing a democracy that is based on rule of law is a mammoth task, especially in countries where the same regime governed the country for decades. The change does not come as dramatically as the overthrowing of a regime does. Because when the euphoria fades into future and people return back to normality things start going back sometime. That is why I believe true revolutions come through true intentions of individuals. It has to come from the change within to enable a regime or government to function. Because if individual is not changing it for better no matter how big an uprising was, there are chances that it could reverse back to where things started.
I have seen it myself over and over again, elections are not a solution it could create a bigger problem in some cases. I firmly believe elections do not make a democracy because it is very easy to tilt public opinion through many ways. It happens everywhere in US where majority of people don’t even know where Iraq is but vote for a president who wages war against it. So minus all these so-called factors the real issue is what is the mindset of individual who is striving to change? Is that individual changes to aspire to become someone who it is not? I often say that in Pakistan people can not make a queue properly of cars or people how can they respect others opinion which is essence of a democratic society. Instead of waiting in queue references and influences are brought in or simply pushing your way in works. This mentality where I believe that I can do this but no one else is allowed to do that or where I want one set of rules for myself and another for my fellow citizens how can a democratic rule be ture?
In other words what If enemies of freedom could use elections to spread their right or wrong agendas. What if the old regime comes back with a new face using different techniques but same old mindset? What if elements of the old regime, or the cadres of militant minorities, only pretend to embrace democratic norms in order to hijack the new democracy?
Sometime as in the case of Iran and Ukraine the so called revolution brings in different set of rules, in Iran democracy was over shadowed by the selected Ayatollah and his Majlis in Qoum while in Ukraine the hybrid presidential/parliamentary system that Ukraine established as part of the settlement after Orange revolution is being manipulated in order to concentrate all political power in the hands of a supposedly democratically elected president. In other words it is important to know that elections would not solve the fundamental issues or fix the troubles of decades. To say the least they would not enable the creation of a free and open society along with a liberal order.
Before going to elections nations such as Tunisia, Egypt and even Pakistan must pause and go through a vigorous debate, where people who are going to vote or get vote test their political arguments by presenting them to others, as well as attacking others arguments in a healthy environment. This will eventually create a baseline for ideologically coherent party organizations. It is only possible when voters know what they voting for and whom they are voting for. It is important to note that the health environment to enable these debates and the system to hold people accountable afterwards is intertwined with the prospects of true democracy. So those intending to lead could make a public case about their intentions. In case they lie or deceive they could be held accountable for their actions. The one who does that as we see in the case of caretaker regime in Tunisia, or the current regime in Pakistan is no supporter of the democracy that people fought with his or her lives to establish.
Closely attached with this whole package of democracy and elections is rule of law without a system that provides justice to people no revolution or uprising could survive for long. It is important to remember that elections and a different government elected after them is not a sign that freedom has prevailed outright. We should not forget that for the last many decades Tunisians and Egyptians even Pakistanis have paid high a price in freedom for the stability of others. It will be a shame to get blackmailed by the same again on the name of freedom this time rather than stability.