If you know nothing about totalitarian regimes and how they work, then the only logical explanation is that the people who don't rise up against their opressors must support the regime. As I mentioned, that's only logical if you know little to nothing about how these regimes operate.*
How was Hitler able to do what he did with little fear of reprisal? How did Stalin stay in power for so long despite his barbaric behavior? Why didn't the Iraqis just rise up and kill Saddam if they were so unhappy with his regime? The short answer is fear. The long answer is far more horrifying.
The 20th Century philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote a fairly definitive piece on totalitarianism aptly titled The History of Totalitarianism. In part three of the series, she actually analyzes the regimes of her time, including the one that she fled (Nazi Germany). There is one persistent theme that permeates all the totalitarians of the 20th Century, and that theme is horror: unmitigated, illogical, random, senseless horror. Totalitarian regimes last so long because they successfully create an unyeilding sense of hopelessness in the people.
|Not a totalitarian|
Not a lot of people know this, but Saddam Hussein personally sanctioned rape as a tool to be used to get dissidents to capitulate. Some of you might say "I'd be willing to endure that for liberty!" But would you be willing to doom your family to that fate? Saddam's goons wouldn't just rape you, they'd arrest and rape your entire family in front of you. They would round up anyone that was even remotely related to you: cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, your spouse and your children.
That's also how the Nazis operated. Jews in concentration camps knew that should they commit suicide or try to escape, the SS would torture their families. And who in a totalitarian society would even hear about your death? How can you be a martyr if no one even knows that you died for a cause you believed in? Executions are only public for high profile figures, and that's to show that no one has a power greater than the regime. For everyone else, they get the silent treatment. They disappear into thin air, and it's as if they never existed.
So riddle me this: if you knew that partaking in some sort of resistance would almost inevitably doom your family to a horrifying fate, would you still rebel? To suggest that totalitarian regimes exist in the Middle East because the people actually support them is a ridiculous claim at best. The people may be uneducated and brainwashed, but they all know the price for dissent.
Let's not equate acquiescence for complicity, shall we?
*Although I am by no means an expert on totalitarianism, a good portion of my scholarship in college was spent studying totalitarian regimes and how they are born from democratic societies.