Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oppositions in Revolutions (photo update)

With the Tunisians taking back their country from their once dictator, Ben Ali, commentators are now predicting a ripple effect where the people under the same form of dictatorship will be inspired to also mutiny in the streets in hopes of achieving the same revolutionary results. We are already seeing this happen in Egypt (Yemen, Saudi Arabia), where the government is typically very swift in their reaction to quell any dissent. I mean these guys are extremely organised in their anti-riot procedures.

I was caught in a demonstration in Al-Azhar mosque during Israel's invasion of Gaza and when I eventually got outside, the generals had set up a nice little couch outside and had guys dressed in French waiter's outfits to serve them tea as they watched their soldiers beat on the protesters (click photo to enlarge).

I digress…..

Now what - I believe - makes the Tunisian revolution (if you please) so inspiring and replicable is the fact that it was the people, and only the people that rose up against the government. Not some opposition party with its own agendas and struggle for power. Explanation you ask?

Well an opposition led uprising can quiet easily be made to look like an insurgency/coup and will therefore receive less sympathy from the public as a whole as well as the international community.

An opposition party led revolution is limited by its supporters because the changes they are pushing for will be based on their own agenda, one that may not be in line with public as a whole. On the other hand, when the agenda is a clear and simple "removal of the current power", it becomes much easier for everyone who has suffered under that authority to become a stakeholder in the movement without fear of what may replace it. Obviously, not knowing what may fill that power vacuum can be apprehensive, but its less apprehensive and more focusing than having to worry about supporting a movement that will put someone that you are suspicious of in power. Therefore, to get the massive public support, you don't want to cloud their thoughts with negative thoughts of the potentially dismal future, rather, you want to keep the focus on the liberation of the people from tyranny.

That’s why I think the Muslim Brotherhood made an excellent decision to not involve itself in the ongoing movement in Egypt. It is also probably why ElBaradei is merely joining protests and not leading them. (So much for that - they are still playing it cool and not hijacking the whole thing though)

Over in Sudan (the bit in the north), there have been minor scale protests, not so much against the leadership but rather the ending of subsidies on food and fuel. The coalition of opposition parties has naturally used this to bring forward threats that a similar situation as that in Tunisia could be repeated here/there (Where am I?). However, Bashir, whilst seemingly sinister to the international community, actually has quite the support base locally. Also, since the opposition parties are many and not really in line with each other, it’s really hard for the public to get behind them and execute a concerted revolt. Instead, the smooth war criminal can confidently say stuff like:

"The day we feel that the people reject us we will go out to them in the streets so that they can throw stones on us…. We will not go outside Sudan [if a revolution breaks out] but we will be buried here".

He was also confident and cheeky enough to state that the Sudanese people had disappointed the opposition parties by not going out in full to protest the recent increases in food prices.


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