Power and psychoanalysis

 01 Aug 2013 - 2:34

When former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was on a visit to the United States, renowned American host Charlie Rose asked him, ‘Why is there no democracy in Egypt?’

“Simply because the people are not ready yet,” Mubarak answered. 

This same argument is being repeated every once in awhile by leaders in Arab countries in a desperate attempt to avoid reforms and demands for change, and to stop the wheels of political mobility that have started moving on the streets of Arab countries. This brought the rules of Mubarak, Ben Ali, Gaddafi and Ali Saleh to an end. It will also bring the rule of Bashar Al Assad to an end soon. 

Psychiatry Professor Dr Nahla Nagi believes that it is impossible for rulers who remain in power for many years to step down. She cites two reasons for this. First, long-serving rulers always feel they are great and have big egos. They are arrogant and believe that they are unique compared to other people in their country. Nagi says these feelings make these rulers hold on to their thrones. She says this soon turns into fear of being brought to account once they step down.

Rulers in the Arab region have their own cultural peculiarities. The tribal culture of some Arab countries makes it necessary for the chieftain to stay in power forever. Power means the chieftain is above questioning. He cannot be asked to step down. 

In a recent study, Jassim Al Saadon says that Arab rulers start their careers as reformists who initiate renaissance projects. Soon, however, these rulers start to believe that they are their own states, Al Saadon says.

Rulers start as reformists, but soon they end up confining themselves to a small circle. They fail to see anything beyond this circle, being surrounded by the seductions of absolute power and enormous wealth, which make them hear only what they like to hear, and create their own world, where they are the centre of the state. Cities, universities, stadiums, squares and main roads must be named after them and after people they like.

Arab rulers in republics and kingdoms are not different. It is the extent to which they are ready to see themselves as their own state that differentiates one ruler from another. This also depends on the number of years these rulers have been in power. 

Al Saadon says Arabs have failed miserably in their development projects because such projects in their countries are always dwarfed by the personal projects of these rulers. He says there can be no development without the state. This is why there is regression and joblessness in Arab countries. 

Above all, says Al Saadon, in Arab countries human beings are robbed of their dignity.

 

When former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was on a visit to the United States, renowned American host Charlie Rose asked him, ‘Why is there no democracy in Egypt?’

“Simply because the people are not ready yet,” Mubarak answered. 

This same argument is being repeated every once in awhile by leaders in Arab countries in a desperate attempt to avoid reforms and demands for change, and to stop the wheels of political mobility that have started moving on the streets of Arab countries. This brought the rules of Mubarak, Ben Ali, Gaddafi and Ali Saleh to an end. It will also bring the rule of Bashar Al Assad to an end soon. 

Psychiatry Professor Dr Nahla Nagi believes that it is impossible for rulers who remain in power for many years to step down. She cites two reasons for this. First, long-serving rulers always feel they are great and have big egos. They are arrogant and believe that they are unique compared to other people in their country. Nagi says these feelings make these rulers hold on to their thrones. She says this soon turns into fear of being brought to account once they step down.

Rulers in the Arab region have their own cultural peculiarities. The tribal culture of some Arab countries makes it necessary for the chieftain to stay in power forever. Power means the chieftain is above questioning. He cannot be asked to step down. 

In a recent study, Jassim Al Saadon says that Arab rulers start their careers as reformists who initiate renaissance projects. Soon, however, these rulers start to believe that they are their own states, Al Saadon says.

Rulers start as reformists, but soon they end up confining themselves to a small circle. They fail to see anything beyond this circle, being surrounded by the seductions of absolute power and enormous wealth, which make them hear only what they like to hear, and create their own world, where they are the centre of the state. Cities, universities, stadiums, squares and main roads must be named after them and after people they like.

Arab rulers in republics and kingdoms are not different. It is the extent to which they are ready to see themselves as their own state that differentiates one ruler from another. This also depends on the number of years these rulers have been in power. 

Al Saadon says Arabs have failed miserably in their development projects because such projects in their countries are always dwarfed by the personal projects of these rulers. He says there can be no development without the state. This is why there is regression and joblessness in Arab countries. 

Above all, says Al Saadon, in Arab countries human beings are robbed of their dignity.