I think those who wonder what might be the Arab people response to the big ME project and the demand for reforms in the ME should listen to the Arab people, not the Arab governments or Arab press. Trying to offer as much as I can in this respect, I've translated some of the responses I found in the BBC Arabic forum and although they may not be viewed as very promising, they are no way consistent with what we hear in the Arab media. As expected the most welcoming replies came from Iraq and the worst from Palestine and in between those extremes, came the replies from other Arab countries. The only thing that surprised me was that many posters from Saudi Arabia were optimistic and showed much better understanding and acceptance than the rest of the Arab countries. Here are some of these posts:
It's understandable that the Arab rulers would refuse the reforms in a western style (although I'm sure they refuse reforms in an Arabic style, if there's anything like that) but what is not understandable is that the Arab citizens would refuse the reforms just because they come from the others. I think the Arab people refuse the reforms that come from outside just because their rulers made them accustomed to look negatively to whatever comes from there, and I think the only ones who lose from rejection of the reforms that come from outside and that is mixed with rejection of the reforms from inside too, are the Arab people.
As for Bush, I think he has thrown the ball in the Arab governments' court (in his press conference) when he said that he believed that the reforms should suit the culture of the people. So do you think that any Arab government will be serious in making any change without the American pressure?! I doubt it, and I think the USA in her call for reforms in the Arab world is like someone trying to carve in a solid rock.
When I hear terms like freedom and democracy, I feel like there's a silly play America is trying to sell, just to laugh at the Arab people, because the Arab people have known these hollow terms that don't express what they mean.
During the past 50 years, the pan-Arab nationalists and the Arab monarchy have been leading the Arab world, the first saying "we are the socialist who look for Arab unity and development…" and the Monarchists made their countries their own property and both have been ruling by fire and iron fist, so enough and a thousands times enough and I wish the super powers move to save the Arab people from this nonsense.
What's the common thing among the Arab rulers who refuse the invitation to the G8 summit? None of them got the power through elections, therefore any initiative that may push towards democracy and justice and the basic citizen's rights must be not only rejected by them, but also considered as a danger to the state's security and peace.
Muhannad Al-Magreesi-Tripoli /Libya.
I think that the change should come from outside and that's because of the dictatorial nature of the Arab rulers and because they only care about their personal interests.
America reforms the ME? And for who's interest? Is it for the interest of the Arab people? Of course not, it will be for the benefit of Israel by bringing rulers who serve Israel and America in the first place and create a spoiled generation in the region that will not care about the future.
If we cannot make the change by ourselves, then why not let the others help us? Let's put the faked pride aside. It's because of our silence and fear from the change that we went through all of this, we were insulted, tortured and our women were raped by our rulers, those who surpassed everyone in destroying their own people so that the wont be able to face them "He who fears to climb mountains, will live his whole life in holes". Let's allow the others to help us climb the first rock towards the top.
Who took away the freedom from the people? It's the regimes and they don't represent their people anywhere you go in the Arab world. They're only opportunistic minorities that live by sucking the people's blood. The change will not come from these regimes, not without strong pressures from outside. The regimes that are asked to make the changes are the main source of all the corruption so how can we expect from the disease to make a change itself in a way that brings the cure!? Here's the Saudi minister of internal affairs reply to the people who demand reforms saying, "You want a democracy that put Prince Abdullah on the shelf??" This is their attitude, so how can you expect from people who think in this way to make true reforms?!
Saad Al-Saadi/Jidah/Saudi Arabia.
The fact that the Arab people may refuse the reforms is a dangerous flaw. If our customs and traditions do not allow Democracy, freedom and social justice, then to the Hell with such traditions. Besides, what did the Arab governments offer to solve the Palestinian issue, for instance, so that we should wait for them to make the change now!? We should start the change now or else the number of Arabs living in western countries will be more than those living in the Arab countries and then you can feel happy with your traditions and "historical issues" in countries with not citizens!
Mohammed Muhsin/Iraqi in Dubai.
Those who question the possibility of a reform that comes from outside should look at Iraq now. Is there a single Arab who enjoys the same freedom we have now? Any politician no matter how high he is in position is prone to be questioned and fail politicaly if he wasn't faithful to the people, and if Iraq was spared the terror from outside, many regimes would've collapsed without the need for a G8 summit to deal with the Arab situations.
The Arab people are incapable of reforming their system for many reasons:
-The regimes that maintain firm grips on the power and who will make the same old excuses, "It's not the right time" and that they have more important issues like "liberating Palestine" which has become an excuse for every misery.
-The so-called Arab intellectuals and thinkers have ideologies that they refuse to debate and some of them use these to defend and justify the presence of the dictators.
-The opposition in most Arab countries is mainly from radical Islamic groups that try to drag us back a thousand years with their blind hatred.
-The Arab street is hopeless and deceived and cannot tell right from wrong and seem to agree on one thing and that is hatred for America and wishing her downfall, sympathizing with criminals like Saddam, Bin Ladin, Hamas, Jihad and Hizbullah, therefore there should be a strong pressure from outside and especially from America and Europe on the ME governments to make radical changes and these should be political, economic, social and educational.