Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez '13's Advice to Arab Spring Countries
Barkeep! Five araks over here, please. Plus some tabouli and figs. What's that? Oh sorry, my mistake. Let's make that one arak, four iced teas ... Actually, forget the arak. Make mine a Cuba Libré. Virgin. Thanks.
So tonight we're toasting you, Tunisia, for finally finishing your draft constitution. Sure, I realize that this is not the end of the story. You've still got some unresolved issues (and some opposition leaders crying foul about alleged changes smuggled into the text). But your constitutional process still remains the best in class. As my friend Taufiq Rahim recently put it: "[Tunisia] is the place where there is a potential for change, new ideas, and a new direction for the Arab world."
Okay. So guys, I'm sorry it's taken us so long to have this talk, but I just don't think we can put it off any longer. The main events of the Arab Awakening are now two years behind us, and you're all still having big problems with drafting and implementing new constitutions. Only one of you has succeeded in passing a constitution into law -- doing so in a fashion that just ensured all sorts of problems will go on simmering. (Yeah, I'm looking at you, Egypt.) As for the rest of you, you've gotten bogged down debating procedure or wrangling over language or arbitrarily extending deadlines.