Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Down with the dictator!

 (Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 02 February 2011) 
I am so inspired by the recent political revolutions happening in the Mid-East. It is as if someone flipped a switch and the whole region decided it was time to challenge the dictators in power. I just love it when people realise that they are the ones who should be in control.
To be sure, there are times when the people are glad to have someone else run everything. They are happy to just go on their merry way, live their lives and not focus too much on the way the country is being ruled. This is part of the ebb and flow of a dictator’s existence. The quiet of the people helps the dictator establish himself in power.
It is the disquiet of the people where things start to change.
The people begin to recognise little things that are wrong or that favour the ruler instead of the people. They start to see the benevolent leader turn into a malevolent ruler. It is a process that has happened over and over in history – and the end result is always the same…the people revolt.
There is something instinctive inside a human that tells them when a leader has crossed the line. I have enjoyed seeing the photos coming out of places like Tunisia, Egypt and now Jordan (The Syrians are calling for protests to begin as well). The photos out of Egypt show a strong showing of women involved in the protests to out President Hosni Mubarak.
The crowds in Egypt chanted, “We’re not going anywhere, Mubarak. You are!” I saw a photo place on a stroller in front of a baby that said, “Enough.” It is these images that inspire me so. It is so very encouraging when people decide that enough is enough and get rid of bad leadership. And there seems to be a domino effect occurring in the Mid-East.
Here is a Washington Post report from yesterday, “Syrians are organizing campaigns on Facebook and Twitter that call for a ‘day of rage’ in Damascus this week, taking inspiration from Egypt and Tunisia in using social networking sites to rally their followers for sweeping political reforms.
Like Egypt and Tunisia, Syria suffers from corruption, poverty and unemployment. All three nations have seen subsidy cuts on staples like bread and oil. Syria’s authoritarian president has resisted calls for political freedoms and jailed critics of his regime.”
In Jordan, King Abdullah II fired his government yesterday (Tuesday) in the wake of street protests and asked an ex-prime minister to form a new Cabinet, ordering him to launch immediate political reforms.
The dismissal follows several large protests across Jordan – inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt - calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.
Really, it is but simple things that people want and need. Food that is priced within an affordable range, inexpensive fuel to get them to work, an economy that provides jobs for all and a political system that favours the people over those who govern the nation. When these very simple issues are ignored – a revolution is in the future.
The protests in Tunisia were successful and saw the end of that dictatorship. The Mubarak regime teeters on the brink. Jordan’s rulers are already changing and Syria is the next on the list. It just makes me want to dance with joy!
To top off this lovely cake with some delicious icing, it is the young people of these nations who are at the forefront of the revolutions. They are using social networks like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the protests and to let the world know what is going on during the protests – even as their government tries to cut them off from the rest of the world.
These young people are far more tech savvy than their government though, and they are letting the world know that they are ready to fight for a government that will listen to the will of the people. Just when us old fogies thought today’s kids were lazy and apathetic, they up and transform the world in a matter of a month. Shame on us old fogies.
We have obviously underestimated the young people. They have done what those of our generation have not. I am so inspired and feel so much hope that good has overcome evil. It feels like a new day has dawned and that day has no place for dictators. I say good riddance!
All of this newfound optimism makes me wonder…where will the next revolution be?

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