Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gaza Cracks Down, Breaks Down

A news report about Gaza caught my attention yesterday. The government has started to enforce a law banning men from being hairdressers.

It might seem like a small thing, but more than a few men will be thrown out of work by the crackdown, and it is just the kind of corrupt and petty bureaucratic micromanagement that set up the revolution in Tunisia.

Just as importantly, it undercuts Gaza’s international support. It had been doing fairly well at persuading the world that it was the victim of forces outside of its control, but if its top priority is to put people in jail based on cultural prejudices, it is hard to make the case that its difficulties are anything beyond its own making. It is, at least, a contradiction for Gaza to jail its own workers while asking for outside help.

Could there be a revolution against Gaza’s repressive government? It won’t happen based on a single day of arrests, obviously, but the government is in a weak position to begin with, so if it continues to demonstrate corruption in such public ways, its authority could break down in relatively short order. Don’t forget that it was corruption that led Gaza to drive out its previous government.