I do not know about you guys but even though I am delighted at a democratic reflex appearing in some Middle East countries I cannot but help to be worried sick at the same time. I am not going to write a treatise on the recent events because for one I am not a specialist and for second I am somewhat biased as being anti fundamentalist and pro Israel, though anti Israeli religious right, of course.
Still, when I see how easy cliches are thrown around and how some Venezuelans think that Chavez is next in line after Mubarak I think that I should go on record. So here, some personal observations that you can take as you wish.
I support the Tunisia upheaval fully because Tunisia is perhaps the most modern Arab state. Secularization there went well and I think that right now the odds of a fundamentalist take over are limited. If the French have failed in their colonial ventures Tunisia is probably their lesser failure. Watching TV it was impressive to observe how many Tunisians had a perfect command of the French language even though with a local accent. Not that I am proud of that colonial inheritance in any respect but at least it indicates a reasonably high educational level and the ability to access to all sorts of information. That is, the outgoing regime could not filter it all. I allowed myself to wonder whether the educational level of Tunisians is actually significantly better than the one of Venezuelans.
I am of two minds as to Egypt because there is no guarantee that it will avoid a religious fundamentalist take over. Egypt was always ambiguous on many things and its cold peace with Israel always seemed to me a purely pragmatic act paid for by US of A help. We will see if decades of peace and Israeli tourists made eventually a difference, but I remain pessimistic. Not that Mubarak should not go, he should and the risk needs to be taken. After all the worse is not always certain and Cairo 2011 is not Tehran 1978.
Finally I cannot help but observe how the international press and opinion are supporting so easily the anti Mubarak protesters even if on occasion some journalist cannot hide their doubt. Contrast that with what happened in Venezuela in 2002 where most international press tended to support Chavez even though our marches and rallies had little to envy the Egyptian ones today, all population proportions considered!!!!! They know now how wrong they were and how right people who started blogging then were.
I am pretty sure that when Venezuelans go back to the streets to demand Chavez departure the international press will be more sympathetic, but the question remains: how many years do we need for a dictator to screw a country before finally CNN, BBC, AFP, AP, Reuters and the like finally decide that he should go? Are journalists so devoid of critical spirit, so uneducated about the country they cover not to be able to analyze early enough that things are not what they are supposed to be? That the worst is quite possible?