Thursday, March 03, 2011

Democratic Insomnia

It's hard to know where to begin with the unprecedented bravery of protesters in Arab nations. Since social networking sites, Facebook seems to be the main vehicle, have been so influential in what seemed to be rather spontaneous revolts, it is fitting to say that what started in Tunisia over a month ago, has definitely gone viral.

For millenniums Egyptians themselves have written history and built monuments that hold us captive when we see, and learn about them. Not only are the creations wonders of the world but a wonder as to why so many were employed/or enslaved for the mesmerizing constructions. Why is there such need for power!

Perhaps factors include tradition, socialization, social structure, ignorance, fear, false hope, a sense of helplessness, or what we presently could call a twisted sense of national success or power. The pyramids and sphinxes were built by tens of 1000s who were employed, and contrary to previous belief, slavery was not the large source of labour. In fact it could be said that many of the 6.4 million of today's Libyans are more slaves to the Ghadafi regime than any ruler previous.

As much as the pyraminds are monuments to what humans could do 1000s of year ago, the protests, bravery, sacrifice and peoples' attempts at freedom will be a great monument of achievement. At the present moment iron-fisted leader Ghadafi is desperately clinging to power at the expense of possibly 1000s of deaths, broken limbs and skulls. It is so far removed from our daily routines here. We have our crimes, but and impatient, rude drivers on the road, but it would be difficult to imagine protesting like a strike for example, and fearing being shot or beaten.

The events that are happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan and other countries, are also part of a monumental shift in tolerance, attitude, courage, knowledge, and seeing what's possible. The people, the captive are again captivating the world and we are transfixed. Instead of the permanent symbolic reminders of Libya's megalomaniac, these images and icons are being deconstructed, stone by stone.

Courageous protesters are providing the drama for the surprising, shocking, historical chapter, which may blast another road to be taken for a democratic evolution.

There are a number of profound, life altering, progressive and revolutionary lessons that will resonate for an eternity for the Arab nations, and any nation that are unlucky enough to have dictators who viciously rule and enslave it's citizens.

For one, it is false to believe that a single charismatic personality needs to take the lead for change. In the case of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya at least, the leader of the peoples' protest is a what, the idea of freedom that is shared by millions of leading characters. This type of reality show is worthwhile.

Another lesson is that the genie is out the the ignorance bottle. In this globally connected world of shared knowledge and ideas, everyone can educate themselves about anything anywhere, and social networks have played a significant role in the viral wave of protests that seem to be rapidly contagious. Simultaneously, a trend that has been seen in many media formats is the doubt about so many ideas and institutions of society. The origins of the universe, who or what created it, is refreshed, but also doubts about truth, honesty from what's in foods, containers, prescriptions drugs, doctor prescribed treatments, banks, oil companies, etc. The trend of asking why or why not about many things we were socialized into can reach any internet reader.

Pertaining to the North Africa revolutions, people who know that democracy and freedom exists elsewhere, say, "Why not here?", or "We want that too!" For over 40 years, almost all Egyptians have known one ruler, and limited freedom, while many lived poorly as the country makes billions as the 4th largest oil producer in the world. 75% of its income comes from oil revenue.

Another lesson is that change is possible, and turning the world you know, upside-down, is possible and life will go on, but with hope for much more freedom and improvement in the long term. Peaceful protests can work, and it can help to shift the allegiance of the all important army to the peoples' side.

This is extremely crucial because without the killing power of the army, the dictator has no one, except imported mercenaries to try and enforce his continued tyranny.

Finally, there is a lesson for those who rule with an iron fist. Never take it for granted that your evil power will last. It's almost funny that two weeks ago, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmedinijad spouted that governments like Libra's should let the people protest in peace, when his inhumane regime violently ended that idea in his own country.

Though there is mounting pressure from the world for Ghadafi to leave or be removed, his public denial of atrocities and sociopathic slaughter of "his people" has prolonged the democratic struggle in Libya. It will make their citizen's plight much more difficult, but other nations can still be hopeful of change in their respective countries. Bahrain, and other monarchical, or single party, or theocratic countries have been put on alert, and their leaders will realize that life as they knew it, can change because of peoples' restless need for democracy.

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