The democratic political movement continues to sweep our Arab world, moving from country to country, albeit in different circumstances. After the success of the two revolutions in Tunis and Egypt in removing symbols of tyranny and corruption that ruled over the political systems in each country, and the continued struggle for change by democratic forces in both countries in order to turn the page on the entrenched authoritarian systems, the peaceful protest movement calling for democracy, justice, and confronting corruption—in which tens of thousands of citizens, male and female, have participated—has moved to Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, and Morocco, accompanied by writing and support from Syrian intellectuals and Arabs from the other countries of the region.
The demands of these popular protest movements, though born of different situations, nevertheless converge around the same calls for political and economic reform, organization of free and fair elections that secure a democratic transition of power, and amendments of laws that violate the rights of citizens to express their opinions peacefully.
Particularly in Libya and Bahrain, but elsewhere to varying degrees, these demands—and the citizens raising them—have been met with repression and terrorism, in the forms of arrests and killings. As a result, dozens of victims have fallen. The situation further deteriorated in Libya in recent days and the Qaddafi regime is committing massacres against the civilian population.
The Arab Network for the Study of Democracy strongly announces its solidarity with those resisting tyranny throughout the Arab world and salutes the maintenance of the nonviolent nature of these movements, which must remain peaceful. The Arab Network demands accountability from the political and security officials responsible for the loss of life in Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen, where the authorities resorted to violence and repression, and calls on international sanctions against those responsible for crimes and human rights abuses.
The Network emphasizes that the path of reform and transfer of power is built upon the principle of popular mandate, and relies upon combating corruption, constructing democratic institutions, and constituting an independent judiciary. This is the one path that will protect Arab societies from chaos, tension, and disintegration—and the only way to guarantee a transition to a new phase, one of political, social, and cultural reconstruction.
As for continuing on this path of corruption and repression, preventing freedom of expression, refusing change, and resorting to raising the specter of sectarian, tribal, or regional fanaticism to terrorize and extort citizens in exchange for their security and livelihood—these obsolete methods no longer work. It is a path only of futility, without avail.