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突尼斯事件的啟示

一月 26, 2011 By: 青峰 Category: 新社專欄, 環球視野

1月14日,統治北非國家突尼斯(Tunisia,一譯「突尼西亞」)23年的本阿里(Ben Ali)被迫下台,流亡沙地阿拉伯,震撼其他阿拉伯國家。事件所凸顯的,不單是突尼斯一國的內政問題,更是整個阿拉伯世界的政治問題。

政制落後埋動亂種子

第二次世界大戰後,橫跨西亞、北非的阿拉伯世界,和許多地方一樣,經歷了去殖的過程。然而,西方殖民勢力離開,不表示代之而起的是健全的政治體制。

阿拉伯世界的政制缺失,主要反映在家天下、領袖終身制之上。以幾個影響力較大的阿拉伯國家為例:敘利亞前總統阿薩德(Hafez al-Assad),統治國家30年(1970-2000),死後由兒子繼位。伊拉克前總統薩達姆侯塞因(Saddam Hussein),統治國家24年(1979-2003),如非被美國出兵推翻,很可能會如敘利亞一樣父死子繼。沙地阿拉伯、約旦等,都是君主制,由國王掌實權,以王室內父傳子的方式承傳統治。埃及不行家天下,但仍是總統終身執政。納塞爾(Gamal Abdel Nasser)於1956至1970年任總統,死後由薩特(Anwar el-Sadat)繼任;薩特1981年遇刺身亡後,由莫巴拉克(Mohammad Hosni Mubarak)統治埃及至今,已達30年。

軍人干政在阿拉伯國家中亦非新聞。蘇丹的巴希爾(Omar al-Bashir)1989年發動軍事政變上台,總治蘇丹至今22年。利比亞的卡達菲(Muammar al-Gaddafi)1969年以27歲之齡發動軍事政變上台,統治國家至今已達42年,由於年屆七旬,繼承問題已日漸惹人猜測。即使很多阿拉伯國家有國會、政黨、選舉等,但權力仍多操於終身不易的統治者及與其關係密切的統治集團手上。

由此可見,多個主要阿拉伯國家的政治體制,有很強的封閉和封建性質,缺乏現代大多數民主國家所必備的權力制衡、公正選舉、政黨輪替等,令更換統治者等政治變動往往要通過不同程度的暴力,包括戰爭(如伊拉克)、軍事政變(如利比亞)、人民革命(如突尼斯)等方式達致。

數十年來阿拉伯國家不乏出色的領袖。然而,強如曾在1956年蘇彝士危機中力抗英國、法國、以色列的入侵,任內成功團結阿拉伯世界,被譽為阿拉伯英雄、阿拉伯現代史上偉人的納塞爾,也未能為埃及和阿拉伯世界建立一個現代化的政治制度。其實,統治者無論如何出色(數十年來在阿拉伯國家領袖中只佔少數)、如何強勢,在缺乏適當輪替機制下長期甚至終身執政,亦會嚴重桎梏國家的政治活力,同時更會為日後的權力交接埋下動亂的種子,故即使表面暫時穩定,也難保可以長治久安。1991年阿爾及利亞大選受軍方干涉而導致長年內戰、2011年突尼斯人民起義引發全國騷動,都是慘痛的教訓。

治國無方禦敵無能

政治上的不濟,連帶經濟成長、社會發展、對外戰爭也深受影響,令阿拉伯世界陷入治國無方、禦敵無能的困局。

除了少數受很多阿拉伯國家和人民仇視的親西方暴富海灣產油國外,阿拉伯國家大多遠較西方民主發達國家貧窮,而獨裁專制、施政效率低下、貪污腐敗、貧富懸殊、高失業率等更成常態,國內矛盾紛繁尖銳。至於連年內戰的阿拉伯國家如蘇丹、索馬里等,則更為不堪。反觀阿拉伯世界的主要敵人以色列,在政治上充分發揮了西方民主發達國家的優點,包括成熟的國會、公正的選舉、和平的政黨輪替等。這種機制,令以色列的政治長期保持高效、廉潔、穩定、活力,連帶經濟、教育,以至整體社會的發展水平,都遠遠拋離阿拉伯國家。以色列數十年來在強敵包圍、攻擊之下屹立不倒,又豈是單憑美國的支持?

目前,阿拉伯世界包括了20多個國家、3億多人口(包括阿拉伯國家內的非阿拉伯人),以色列面積僅2萬多平方公里,人口只有7百多萬。相比於以色列,阿拉伯世界擁有壓倒性的面積和人口優勢,數十年來在與以色列的鬥爭中卻一直處於下風,當中不乏恥辱性慘敗,政治體制上的落後實為一大致命傷。而政治體制不健全導致阿拉伯世界長期落後、積貧、積弱、挨打,也是美國和以色列所樂見的。

催生極端主義和革命

這種對內治國無方,對外禦敵無能的情況,令人民,尤其是年輕一代深感缺乏出路,容易走上極端主義和反政府的革命道路。

極端組織多年來招攬阿拉伯世界的青年在世界各地發動襲擊,2001年的「九一一事件」可說是當中的代表。這除了跟西方與阿拉伯、伊斯蘭世界長期敵對有關外,阿拉伯國家深刻的內部政治、經濟、社會矛盾也絕對不能忽視。最近導致本阿里下台的導火線是一名擁有大學學歷的26歲失業青年所售賣的水果與蔬菜被警察沒收,憤然於去年12月17日自焚抗議,造成民憤總爆發。人民成功驅逐本阿里,引發多個阿拉伯國家出現類似突尼斯的自焚事件和反政府運動,可見阿拉伯世界中的民怨大有引爆骨牌效應的態勢。如今,已有不少人把突尼斯最近發生的事件稱為「茉莉花革命」」(Jasmine Revolution),將其與格魯吉亞、烏克蘭等前蘇聯加盟共和國的「顏色革命」相提並論。

突尼斯的劇變,充分暴露阿拉伯世界政治體制上的缺陷。此刻,阿拉伯世界的政權會否因突尼斯事件而出現骨牌式垮台仍屬未知數,但阿拉伯國家的政治體制必須盡快革新,則肯定是毫無疑問的。

本文刊於《香港商報》2011年1月26日

2 Comments to “突尼斯事件的啟示”


  1. 青峰 says:

    突尼斯青年燃點革命烈火

    觸發突尼斯革命,迫使宰制國家23年的本阿里流亡,引發埃及等阿拉伯國家革命浪潮的,是一名叫Muhammed Buozizi的突尼斯青年。中文傳媒對他報道不多,根據BBC的報道和對他一名姊妹的訪問,可知突尼斯革命之火是如何燃點。現簡述如下,以補中文傳媒的不足。

    Muhammed Buozizi烈士是一名有大學學位的26歲突尼斯青年,家中有7兄弟姊妹。家人全都失業,只靠他在街上出售水果蔬菜的微不足道收入來支持。他由於無力賄賂,得不到許可證,經常受驅趕。

    2011年12月17日,他在擺賣時,被當局沒收水果蔬菜等僅餘的謀生物品,還受到毒打。他到政府部門申訴,但求助無門,引用他姊妹的說話(英語,翻譯),就是「All the doors closed before him.」,無論如何哭叫哀求,都不得要領。在走投無路之下,他以自焚控訴,他的姊妹說,這是「only solution」。2011年1月5日,Muhammed Buozizi傷重去世。

    Muhammed Buozizi焚燒了自己的身體,也燒毀了一個獨裁政權,同時更燃點起阿拉伯世界的革命烈火,而參加革命的,大多數是和他差不多年紀的青年。

    有關Muhammed Buozizi烈士自焚的詳情,可細閱以下的BBC網頁,網頁中更有他姊妹6分多鐘的訪問:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12241082
    他姊妹在訪問中的最後一句說:「Before in Tunisia there wasn’t any justice or solidarity, fraternity but now owing to Mohamed all young people can talk freely.」

    歷史會為Muhammed Buozizi這個名字立碑,也會為這個名字流淚。

    1
    • 青峰 says:

      「半島電視台」有關突尼斯Mohamed Bouazizi革命烈士的詳細資料

      有關突尼斯Mohamed Bouazizi革命烈士的生平,我查看了阿拉伯世界的卡塔爾「半島電視台」,得到更為詳細的資料,也知道一些早前西方傳媒及譯自西方傳媒的中文傳媒有錯(如烈士本人不是大學畢業生)。
      烈士自小父亡,兄弟姊妹眾多,10歲起便在市場做小買賣以養家,有時會將自己售賣的果菜免費送給比他更窮的家庭。可是,貧窮、勤奮、善良的他,卻經常受到警察欺侮。2011年12月17日,他在毒打、沒收等欺侮後,申冤無門,公開自焚,燃起了阿拉伯世界轟轟烈烈的革命火焰。詳情如下:

      「半島電視台」網站(這是世界頂級的新聞機構,宜多收看):
      http://english.aljazeera.net/

      THE TRAGIC LIFE OF A STREET VENDOR
      http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/01/201111684242518839.html

      Al Jazeera travels to the birthplace of Tunisia’s uprising and speaks to Mohamed Bouazizi’s family.

      In a country where officials have little concern for the rights of citizens, there was nothing extraordinary about humiliating a young man trying to sell fruit and vegetables to support his family.
      Yet when Mohamed Bouazizi poured inflammable liquid over his body and set himself alight outside the local municipal office, his act of protest cemented a revolt that would ultimately end President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s 23-year-rule.
      Local police officers had been picking on Bouazizi for years, ever since he was a child. For his family, there is some comfort that their personal loss has had such stunning political consequences.
      “I don’t want Mohamed’s death to be wasted," Menobia Bouazizi, his mother, said. “Mohamed was the key to this revolt."

      Simple, troubled life
      Mohamed Bouazizi was 10 years old when he became the main provider for his family, selling fresh produce in the local market. He stayed in high school long enough to sit his baccalaureate exam, but did not graduate. (He never attended university, contrary to what many news organisations have reported).
      Bouazizi’s father died when he was three years old. His elder brother lives away from the family, in Sfax. Though his mother remarried, her second husband suffers from poor health and is unable to find regular work.
      “He didn’t expect to study, because we didn’t have the money," his mother said.
      At age of 19, Mohamed halted his studies in order to work fulltime, to help offer his five younger siblings the chance to stay in school.
      “My sister was the one in university and he would pay for her," Samya Bouazizi, one of his sisters, said. “And I am still a student and he would spend money on me."
      He applied to join the army, but was refused, as were other successive job applications. With his family dependant on him, there were few options other than to continue going to market.
      By all accounts, Bouazizi, just 26 when he died earlier this month, was honest and hardworking. Every day, he would take his wooden cart to the supermarket and load it would fruit and vegetables. Then he would walk it more than two kilometres to the local souk.

      Police abuse
      And nearly everyday, he was bullied by local police officers.
      “Since he was a child, they were mistreating him. He was used to it," Hajlaoui Jaafer, a close friend of Bouazizi, said. “I saw him humiliated."
      The abuse took many forms. Mostly, it was the type of petty bureaucratic tyranny that many in the region know all too well. Police would confiscate his scales and his produce, or fine him for running a stall without a permit.
      Six months before his attempted suicide, police sent a fine for 400 dinars ($280) to his house – the equivalent of two months of earnings.
      The harassment finally became too much for the young man on December 17.
      That morning, it became physical. A policewoman confronted him on the way to market. She returned to take his scales from him, but Bouazizi refused to hand them over. They swore at each other, the policewoman slapped him and, with the help of her colleagues, forced him to the ground.
      The officers took away his produce and his scale.
      Publically humiliated, Bouazizi tried to seek recourse. He went to the local municipality building and demanded to a meeting with an official.
      He was told it would not be possible and that the official was in a meeting.
      “It’s the type of lie we’re used to hearing," said his friend.

      Protest of last resort
      With no official wiling to hear his grievances, the young man brought paint fuel, returned to the street outside the building, and set himself on fire.
      For Mohamed’s mother, her son’s suicide was motivated not by poverty but because he had been humiliated.
      “It got to him deep inside, it hurt his pride," she said, referring to the police’s harassment of her son.
      The uprising that followed came quick and fast. From Sidi Bouzid it spread to Kasserine, Thala, Menzel Bouzaiene. Tunisians of every age, class and profession joined the revolution.
      In the beginning, however, the outrage was intensely personal.
      “What really gave fire to the revolution was that Mohamed was a very well-known and popular man. He would give free fruit and vegetables to very poor families," Jaafer said.
      It took Ben Ali nearly two weeks to visit Mohamed Bouazizi’s bedside at the hospital in Ben Arous. For many observers, the official photo of the president looking down on the bandaged young man had a different symbolism from what Ben Ali had probably intended.
      Menobia Bouazizi said the former president was wrong not to meet with her son sooner, and that when Ben Ali finally did reach out to her family, it was too late – both to save her son, and to save his presidency.
      He received members of the Bouazizi family in his offices, but for Menobia Bouazizi, the meeting rang hollow.
      “The invite to the presidential palace came very late," she said. “We are sure that the president only made the invitation to try to derail the revolution."
      “I went there as a mother and a citizen to ask for justice for my son."
      “The president promised he would do everything he could to save our son, even to have him sent to France for treatment."
      The president never delivered on his promises to her family, Menobia Bouazizi said.

      Contagious uprising
      But by the time Menobia Bouazizi’s son died of his burns on January 4, the uprising had already spread across Tunisia.
      Fedya Hamdi, the last police officer to antagonise the street vendor, has since fled the town. She was reportedly dismissed, but her exact whereabouts are unknown.
      Meanwhile, the body of the man who started a revolution now lies in a simple grave outside Sidi Bouzid, surrounded by olive trees, cactuses and blossoming almond trees.
      He is sorely missed by his family, whose modest house is now one of the busiest in Sidi Bouzid, with a steady flow of journalists who have only just discovered the town where it all began.
      “He was very sincere," Basma Bouazizi, his shy 16-year-old sister, said. “We are like soulless bodies since he left."
      “We consider him to be a martyr," Mahmoud Ghozlani, a local member of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), said in an interview metres away from the spot where the street vendor set himself on fire.
      Proof itself of the progress made in four short weeks: such an interview with an opposition activist on the streets of Sidi Bouzid would not have been possible until the day Bouazizi inspired the revolt.

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