By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
……. The protests are a fire alarm that the promises are not going to work anymore, said Sawsan al-Shaer, a Bahraini columnist. But governments that have stuck around for 20 to 40 years are slow to realize that, she said.
“Now the sons are coming, the new generation, and they are saying, ‘I don’t care that my father agreed with you — I am asking for more, and I am asking for something else,’” Ms. Shaer said.
Most rulers have surrounded themselves with a tight coterie of advisers and security officers for so long that they believe the advice that just a few young people are knocking around outside and will tire in good time, she said, even after the fall of the presidents in Tunisia and Egypt.
“The rulers don’t realize there is a new generation who want a better job, who want to ask what is happening, where did you spend the money?” Ms. Shaer said. “My father did not ask. I want to ask.”
The growing population throughout the 3,175-mile zone from Tehran to Tangier, Morocco, has changed too much, analysts believe, for the old systems to work.
“There is a contradiction between educating a lot of your population and creating a white-collar middle class and then ruling with an iron hand,” said Juan R. Cole, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Michigan.
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