Monday, May 9, 2011

Will We Never Learn?

We've heard it so many times that it has become 'white noise,' but if there were ever a time to learn that History Repeats Itself, and those who don't learn its lessons are condemned to repeat it, it is now. The same political, social and economic conditions that led to the Russian Revolutions of 1905 (unsuccessful) and 1917 (successful) exist in the African countries currently undergoing revolution. It's so formulaic that it's predictable:

Political: Dominance of an individual, family or party for decades to centuries +Social: Suppression of political dissent + Economic: High unemployment = Revolution for change.

Take a look at Libya where Qadaffi has ruled for 41 years. The unemployment rate is 30% (and that's only because 10-20% of the population works in surveillance for the government. In Egypt, 90% of the population, which is Muslim, has been prevented from having political influence, despite their obvious majority. Similarly, Bahrain's government is Suni while 70% of the population is Shia, and the ruling family has been in power for around 200 years. Yemen has been under autocratic rule for 32 years, living conditions are poor, and a large percentage of the population is uneducated or illiterate. And in Tunisia a street vendor set himself on fire to draw attention to the fact that the government wasn't allowing him to make a living.

There have been demonstrations, possible precursors to revolution, in Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Morocco, and people are talking about Angola being the next country to have a revolution. And now the uprisings in Syria are becoming more violent ( don't "we" (the countries that assume some responsibility for restoring 'order' and 'democratic' rule, get involved earlier, when there may be opportunity for change instead of bloodshed? (I know; it's easy to say, but as world leaders watch governments fall, they might be more receptive to preemptive change).

I'll have more to say about this topic in upcoming posts. (And to think, someone once told me that I was wishy-washy, and needed to form some strong opinions!)

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