2011, 2011, 2011
Oh she raged and writhed, and the world shuddered.
At the centerpoint of the current economic malaise, are the least workable and sustainable governments, the authoritarian ones.
While even democracies saw and are seeing major ursurpings (the collapse of the seemingly invincible Silvio Wopaloni *its cool i'm italian lol OUR WORD, OUR WORD*), it's a sign of the times that no longer is dictatorship seen as viable. This ain't yo grandmammie's depression where dictators got power, it the other way around bitch.
And aside from Sub-Saharan Africa, which is still struggling with too much else to perhaps fully consider the question of civil liberty yet, these days there's only a few major regions where dictatorship still thrives...
First...Western Europe piece by piece threw off authoritarianism starting in the mid-1800's for the most part, and completing things in the 1970's when Spain and Portugal dissolved their police states.
Second....came Latin America in the 1980's.
Third....came Eastern Europe in the late 1980's and 1990's (though Russia exists in painful midground, and Belarus...)
Fourth is East and South Asia.... still in the process. Featuring democracies like Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, and Thailand. But also dictatorships like North Korea, Vietnam, China, Laos, and the currently in flux state of Burma.
And now....the time has come for that most tenacious home of dictatorship. The Middle East, the Arab world more specifically.
For a long time negative outside opinion, even within yours truly, had thought that perhaps the Arabs had a thing for dictators, strongmen, and kings. That they cared nothing for democracy and pluralism.
Than they proved us so so marvelously wrong.
After all, those same thoughts were applied to the peoples of all those democratized or democratizing regions in the past. Yes, including most of our own cushy Western Europe and North America. Congress of Vienna anyone?
As it stands. Four dictators have fallen.
Ben Ali of Tunisia first, ran away in panic from the unexpected uprisings among his people.
From there next fell Mubarak of Egypt after two weeks of mass demonstrations, he is now in custody there and on trial.
The chaos of Libya ripped open next, as a far more egomaniacal and brutal leader, Muammar Gaddafi brought out war against his people when they protested, forcing them into fighting back. And so doing he also brought down international intervention on his ass. And eventually he was left with nowhere to run but into the custody of the ragtag rebels he had so badly treated, and they inevitably put a bullet or two in him. Delivering him into the dictators history books alongside Mussolini and Ceausescu.
And lastly, Yemen's Saleh has finalized the agreement to step down from his role.
The aftermaths vary, Libya's as fresh as new fallen snow, the exact future unknowable.
Yemen's even more so.
Egypt has been rocky, a stodgy awkward military transitional council is poorly managing the transition and causing further unrest. Can Egypt arrive at stability and the longed for democracy?
Lastly, wonderfully, Tunisia has peacefully arrived at it's destination. The glowing light that proves that through the blood and chaos there is an exit sign. It can be done and has.
The story is far from over.
Blood still pours into the gutter by the gallons on gallons in Syria (and Yemen actually). The pressure on Assad's back is intense.
Elsewhere Bahrain smolders, the one truly depressing story in all this.
Reform is tentatively in the air in Jordan, Oman, and Morocco, will this sate the people?
What about Algeria? North Sudan? UAE? Kuwait? Qatar? And the biggest remaining Arab question.....Saudi Arabia?
What about beyond the Arab world? What of Iran? What of Belarus? Cuba? North Korea? Zimbabwe?
What about the whole region of Central Asia? Where only Kyrgyzstan has some form of real democracy going on?
And meanwhile also....there has been reform outside the Arab world, suddenly, shockingly, and almost unbelievably one of the world's worst and most enduring dictatorships has been dissolving peacefully and from within it's own government. I will make a post about this country in due time, it's the one event we've discussed least. And is as involved in the current Revolutionary Waves as the Arab world when you get down to it.
Welcome to Part Two, may the world shake to it's core.
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