From Arab Spring to European Autumn

London Riots 3rd Dayby Engr. Sharique Naeem

This year witnessed mass protests by Muslims in the Arab world, against despotic dictators. For years the voices of people had been suppressed by oppressive tyrants. However, with a stunning display of bravery the Muslims took to streets to protest against the regime. The people came out in their thousands, the likes of which the Arab world, had never seen before. These Muslims were met with brute force unleashed upon them by the Dictators. Inspite of this, the protesters did not resort to vandalism, thefts and destruction of public property at large. The very dictators, whom the western democracies had backed for decades, became the object of critique and condemnation once it was clear that they would no longer be able to continue to rule, in face of growing protests.

The governments of western democracies had hailed these uprising as a yearning for a democracy. Indeed some countries in the west, had used all the arsenal at their disposal to export democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and lately in Libya.

However, even a cursory glance at the chants of the protesters in the Arab world, shows that they wanted a regime change, and replace despotic tyrants with a system of governance from Islam. In arrogance however, the west had continued to maintain, that democracy is the only alternative, for the Arabs, and the people at large, who seek to progress, want justice and prosperous economies, accountability and rule of law.

While the full effects of Arab spring, are yet to unfold. Another undercurrent has begun to surface, and this time it is the heart lands of western democracies. Events in recent years, have brought to limelight symptoms of a chronic problem, which in the past were easily and deliberately kept away from the spotlight. The Western democracies today are struggling to cope with the growing frequencies of economic-quakes rattling their economies. From the financial bubble, austerity measures, to the constant need of bailouts of banks, insurance firms, and now countries like Greece, all point to the single direction that the chronic problem is failure of Capitalism. And the Governance model of democracy, has terminally failed to ensure economic justice for the masses which it boasts to represent.

Apart from the issues of economics , viewed as unjust by a sizable segment of society, which has prompted protests in Greece and Spain, the protests in European democracies also expose the values on which the capitalist had sought to build societies. The August riots in UK, riddled with vandalism, theft, and burning of property stands in stark contrast to the protests in the middle-east. The culture of materialism, individualism, and secularism has created a broken society, where the concept of demanding rights has fused with the unchecked freedom. As one rioter in UK commented that they were showing police and “the rich” that “we can do what we want”.

The mass protests this year in Greece, which historically has been considered the birthplace of Democracy, and the unfolding riots in UK, which has been called the Mother of Democracy, has put both the notion, and credibility of Democracy as a model of governance, and capitalism as a system into an intellectual and political challenge. A Challenge the likes of which it had not seen since the fall of Communism in the 80s and the fall of Caliphate in the 1920s.

Indeed if democracy at its best, in UK, is reaping bitter fruits than it stands no chance, of solving the far deeper problems of countries elsewhere. For example in Pakistan, some quarters have tried to cover the failure of democracy, by suggesting that democracy needs more time to bear fruits. The failure of democracy in Pakistan is not coincidental, for a poisonous plant merely bears poisonous fruits, though with variations of climate and geography.

As the western democracies struggle to cope with their ailments, and the Muslims in the Arab world brave the tyranny of dictatorships, it has become appalling clear, that neither democracy nor dictatorship can give the masses true economic justice and a rule of law without bias of race, ethnicity, or capital. This brings to question, that what can serve as a viable alternative? The prospects at hand, with regards to model of governance and system, are either Communism, or Caliphate. As the intellectuals, and the masses in the Muslim world, in particular the Arab, spearhead their efforts toward’s a real regime change, it is only wise not to trade dictatorships with democracies. The viable alternative for the Arab world, is to establish a model of governance, based on the ideology of the masses, i.e. the Caliphate. Once established, the Caliphate can then serve as a practical reference point, and an answer to what many in the west are now pondering upon: if not capitalism and democracy, than what?

For now, the trending issues in Europe are only likely to continue, though not as monumental as the Arab Spring, but with respective significance, into what could be termed as the European Autumn. The similitude in nature is fascinating. Spring sees the birth of new flowers, with beauty and fragrance, and autumn witnesses the falling of dry leaves.

Sharique Naeem is an automation engineer, and a writer and political commentator. His writings have been published in national newspapers of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Yemen & Iran. He can be reached at



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2 responses to “From Arab Spring to European Autumn”

  1. Imran Ali Avatar

    You're confusing democracy with capitalism – they're not the same… one is an economic system, the other the means by which a governing institutions are staffed.

    The protests across Western Europe are driven by capitalism, consumerism and unregulated free markets, not democracy. And quite frankly, relative to other countries, they're not deeply destabilising.

    A caliphate could still be deeply capitalist and suffer the same problems. Democracy is not at the root of economic problems – it is often the solution to many ills.

  2. readinglord Avatar

    @Imran Ali

    I tend to agree with you.

    Democracy like all systems can be

    abused, but in essence it is the

    best system available for human

    welfare and development.

    We know and saw democracy and

    dictatorship in practice but know

    nothing about caliphate except its

    mention in Islamic

    history as a good caliphate of

    'Khulfaa-e- Raashidin' and the

    worst one of Yazid.

    Will the writer please enlighten

    us about it as to what kind of

    system it is and how will it work

    in today’s scenario?