^pic from Amnesty International
Bahrain Yemen and Libya are on the streets today.
People are being shot by live rounds.
This is not good.
In a rational world, any ruler that uses lethal force on peaceful assemblies should immediately, by law, have all his personal financial assets frozen.
Sadly, we do not live in a rational world, so in the absence of laws that apply to rulers, we have to fall back on reason.
The Arab world looks chaotic at the moment. But it is not chaos: there is a very clear process happening.
We are looking at the overthrow of an old, repressive, corrupt form of government by young people who are expressing the basic truth of democracy - the power of the people.
A new consensus is forming in the collective mind of the worlds youth, many of whom are unemployed due to a generic failure of the prevailing economic system.
The complexities of what is happening are immense, but at the same time, there is a very clear choice before the Governments and regimes that are faced with revolt.
Repression. It worked in Iran, but not in Tunisia and Egypt.
Pay unemployed rural youth to come in and terrorise the protesters, kill them in their hundreds, arrest, torture and kill them until they are subdued for a few more years, unwilling subjects, cowed yet resentful, or choose to emigrate, joining the diaspora of professional people that have leached from your country over the decades. A people holding back their anger. Until the Next Time.
It is very probable that this condition will cause some to turn towards violent religious (and non-religious) extremism.This will frighten Middle America, and will have Consequences.
If you try repression and lose, you are going to have to go into exile, and may find that your financial assets are frozen.
Option 1 is not very attractive.
Contact, meet with and talk with protesters.
Resign if that is what it takes to make them stop shouting and start talking.
Take early retirement, and pass into history as the last king or dictator of your country, who is known for his graceful and constructive concession to democracy. The country will recover, with much of the diaspora returning.
You, or your interim successor should hold elections as soon as possible.
Option 2 is very attractive.
The choice is very simple. What we do not know is what happens next in those countries. To a great extent it depends what happens with the economy of the liberated countries. If unemployment and poverty continues, the outlook is not good.
If the economy is transformed, democracy and good governance can prevail.
Tho most attractive option is to address unemployment and poverty directly by creating work in the infrastructure, especially water.