Dear Laila has kindly provided a translation of my al akhbar article
An Imperfect Revolution
The Arab popular uprisings have proved that people can change the symbols of their ruling regimes. But a difficult question remains: are we able to change the social and economic reality, to improve the living conditions of the exploited and downtrodden classes and to achieve the social justice called for by the Arab revolutionaries?
Current indications are not encouraging, there is little call for optimism. Newspapers and television stations say that public feeling on the Tunisian streets shows that there has been no real change in the countryside, where the revolution began. This is despite the fact that the agriculture sector provides more than 12% of the national product and attracts foreign investment. Statistics show that agricultural exports rose by 10% after the revolution. However, none of these achievements were used to improve the livelihoods of small producers and agricultural workers. They did not lower unemployment, rife in the countryside.
The problem lies in the economic model followed by Arab countries. The revolutions have not been able to change this despite removing the sleeping faces from various parliaments. This model depends on economic growth based on the maximum exploitation of human and natural resources. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small class of capitalists who control national policy because of their influence and who promulgate laws to protect their property.
No uprising, revolution, spring or autumn can change this reality if this system, which builds its wealth on the exploitation of the weak, is not confronted. There are some positive indications that lead to cautious optimism. In Egypt, a popular movement has finally started in the countryside, where 18 million farmers live. It seeks to include farmers’ rights to land, water and a decent living in the new constitution. This is a pioneering step in our Arab World, which lacks targeted popular social action.