Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tribal interests

Given that the petition calling for greater democratic freedoms and direct elections circulated months ago, and that arrests of dissidents occurred weeks ago, it was rather odd to read that UAE tribes just this week "spontaneously" expressed their support the rulers of the nation. Spontaneous generally comes with a connotation of contemporaneous with the triggering event.

Was "spontaneous" meant to communicate, without saying so explicitly, that the expression of support was prompted without a request and without coercion? And did it mean that in actuality the rulers had solicited the open expression of support from the tribes, including a denunciation of dissidents who were related to the tribe?

But the more I think about, the more I wonder why the interests of the tribes aren't aligned with the interests of the rulers. After all, greater democratic freedoms and direct elections would weaken the tribes as a political unit. No?

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