21 feb And now?
Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrein, Morocco, Libya, Beijing….it will not stop. What to do if you are running your country with authority, fear, spies, torture and threat? Start thinking of an alternative before others (on the street) think it up for you. Where can the new rulers find examples of transition tactics? Asia gave birth to democracy in 1986 when yellow clad demonstrators peacefully pushed a dictator out of power in the Philippines. Mongolia, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan followed: on the streets the hope grew. In reality very little changed. Twenty five years after the Philippine uprising the son of power heroin Corazon Aquino serves as president of a country still poor and run by cronies and nepotism. Across Asia elections are held but vote buying taints the results. Economic growth rewards the few, not the masses. The same families are in power. Free press is rare if not non existent. Democracy exists in name only.
Will the Arab world fare differently? Will it follow the brick-by brick tactics of, say, Indonesia, where the authorities at least try to create a more balanced civil society? Indonesia, the world’s alrgest Muslim country, as the best possible example for Muslim nations, rather than Europe or the US? Let’s get real: this would be very good news indeed. Democracy is – after all- in the eye of the beholder. Or is it?