The sight of Iraqis and Palestinians voting earlier this year and of the Lebanese who turned out in their thousands to protest Hariri’s assassination was called an Arab Spring for spurring talk of change in the Arab world.
With Saddam Hussein standing before prosecutors and the names of the rich and the powerful of Syria and Lebanon on the pages of the Mehlis report, October could be the start of an Arab Autumn, in which we shed the old and prepare for the new.
Accountability has come knocking on the door of Lebanon and Syria too. U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis is to deliver a report expected to point fingers not only at who ordered an assassination that turned Lebanese politics upside down and forced Syria to withdraw from Lebanon but also at the murky world of Syrian-Lebanese client politics and the two-way cross-border corruption it engendered.
Arab governments and officials are fond of saying corruption happens everywhere and happily point fingers abroad. Some Arab papers for example highlighted the plight of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay who is facing charges of money laundering and conspiracy in a Texas campaign finance case. But rare is the case of corruption brought to trial in the Arab world.
The Mehlis report is changing that.
Autumn is the season when gardeners plant the seeds for spring. Accountability is the seed we’re planting this autumn in the Arab world. Let’s hope it bears fresh and vibrant blossoms.
Born in Egypt in 1967, Mona Eltahawy was a correspondent for the Reuters News Agency in Cairo and Jerusalem and also wrote for the Guardian newspaper from the Middle East. Mona is also a frequent contributor to opinion pages in the US and abroad. Her Op-Eds have appeared in The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, and The Christian Science Monitor. She has also been a guest analyst on ABC Nightline, BBC Newsnight, MSNBC,Fox News'' The O''Reilly Factor and various NPR shows. She is based in New York.