The recent wave of unrest has brought to surface many misconceptions that people have about the Middle East. Here are the misconceptions and their true answers::
1. The Middle East is bound to remain without freedoms forever
When discussing the recent wave of revolts, many commentators spoke with cynicism, arguing that there cannot be freedom in the Middle East. However, many people forget that the Middle East was once the location of the most advanced cultures in the world. With time, brutal dictators have taken power. If we all stand up against their oppression, then freedom can indeed be brought to the Middle East.
2. In the Middle East, a good dictator is the most you can ask for
A good dictator does not bring freedom. He might bring calm. He might bring prosperity. He might even bring happiness to some. However, he will never bring freedom. The populations of the Middle East have the right to the same freedom as those in the West. On the other hand, there is a legitimate concern that the rush to freedom will be twisted into repressive radical dictatorships . However, if new democracies are built slowly and carefully, they will be a vast improvement on the current crop of Arab dictators.
3. Israel is the cause of all the Middle East problems
Israel has absolutely nothing to do with the very serious issues affecting other Middle Eastern countries. While Israel has been used as a pawn for dictators to keep power, the issues affecting the daily lives of Middle Eastern people is of far greater importance. These issues include: poverty, freedom and human rights. By focusing on Israel, the world is telling dictators: as long as we can use Israel as a scapegoat, we will not pay attention to the horrible atrocities which you are committing against your own people. It is high time that we concerned ourselves with the plight of the Sudanese of Darfur, the women in Iran, Kurds, Copts amongst many others who are paid lip service by world institutions.
4. The Western World has always helped the Middle East advance towards freedom
If you look at a map of the Middle East, you will see that most countries have straight lines as their borders. There is a simple reason for that: European bureaucrats drew these borders. The Middle Eastern mess is partly due to artificially made states that do not represent cultural or geographical continuity. Today, the Kurds, a proud people, still do not have their own homeland. And, while Libya is the focus of the Obama administration, it ignores the cry for freedom in Syria, Iran and many other Middle Eastern countries.
5. The UN is an advocate of human rights in the Middle East
The UN is one of the most important international bodies ever created. It is hard to know how many conflicts were averted due to the international cooperation which it has fostered. However, the UN has been high jacked by those who do not hold world peace as a priority. The UN Human Rights Council has become a farce. It is run by some of the greatest abusers of human rights. If freedom is to come to the Middle East, the United Nations must also change. It must once again be a force that holds dictators accountable, rather than being the plaything of oil barons and their customers.