Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

In Arab Spring, truth can beget freedom

From Syria to Morocco, repressive leaders at least now admit the woes their regimes cause. That admission can lead to success for pro-democracy protests.

About these ads

The only real harvest from the Arab Spring so far has been in Egypt and Tunisia, where revolutions have led to emerging democracies. Yet in a few other Arab countries, ongoing protests have at least yielded a small crop of truth-telling from autocratic leaders.

In Syria, for example, President Bashar al-Assad admitted Monday that corruption within his government “has left a great deal of sorrow,” with the economy near collapse. Last week, a widely despised and wealthy businessman, Rami Makhlouf, announced he was quitting business to deal with charity.

In Jordan, King Abdullah II said in a speech June 12 that “no one in Jordan has a monopoly on reform or its promotion.” That’s a small step in admitting the monarchy shouldn’t have absolute powers.

But it is in Morocco where protests have especially forced a new official bluntness about the country’s woes, especially the link between a lack of jobs and a lack of political rights.

Last Friday, after months of limited concessions, King Mohammed VI proposed a new constitution that would, among other things, enshrine “all human rights as they are universally recognized.” And in a rush to head off more protests, he ordered a July 1 referendum on the document.

The proposed reforms, if approved, would mean a transition to democracy rather than a full democracy. The popular king would still appoint a prime minister to govern after an election, for example, and retain military control.


Page:   1   |   2

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.