Following are excerpts from a TV show featuring Algerian journalist Khaled Omar Ben Guiga, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on January 21, 2013:
Moderator: Are our societies heading toward an historical change, because of the change of regimes?
Khaled Omar Ben Guiga: Indeed we are – but a change for the worse. We cannot confine the will of the peoples to the issue of changing the rulers. In other words, we cannot say that a people will change for the better merely because it has changed its ruler. Change is dependent upon the awareness of the peoples, and their awareness is shaped by the elites. The elites remain the same. The political, cultural, and economic elites remain the same, so it is only natural that this is happening. Therefore, in a nutshell – the Arab peoples are heading toward more defeat, decline, and even suicide.
Moderator: Things are that bad?
Khaled Omar Ben Guiga: Yes.
Moderator: Why are you so pessimistic after all these revolutions and the Arab Spring?
Khaled Omar Ben Guiga: Take a look at all the places where a revolution is taking place – from Syria to the Arab Maghreb.
After the revolution in Egypt or in Tunisia – does the butcher now give me fresh meat, instead of just bones? Does the customs officer no longer take bribes? What has changed in these peoples in these past two or three years?
We must not expect any change for the next decade, at least, because these rulers emerged from sick societies. This has become evident. Take Syria, for example. Does it make sense to destroy a country, and to become a refugee in Jordan, Turkey, or elsewhere? Does it make sense to destroy my home in order to topple a dictator? Does it make sense to rebel, make sacrifices, have my schools closed, get my children killed, and destroy my entire country, just in order to topple a ruler? Take a look at Egypt! The Muslim Brotherhood have been educating the people for 80 years. Have the values of Egyptian society changed? Has the rate of sexual abuse and crime not risen in the past two years? Has the society not lost its security? What is left? At some point, we must be honest with ourselves.