Lybia, India and China: Liberation movements or riots?

India and China

The revolution in Libya has already claimed hundreds of lives. The constant deterioration of circumstances is now forcing the Indian government to undertake measures in order to ensure the safety its citizens in the African country. According to the foreign ministry in New Delhi, plans have been set up to evacuate the 18.000 Indians living in Libya via land route, bringing them to Egypt and flying them out to India from there. Citizens living in Tripoli and Benghazi, the two most affected cities, have top priority.

The passenger ferry “Scotia Prince,” offering space for 1,200 people, is already stationed in Egypt and awaiting instructions to get home Indians from Benghazi, which will be the first city to be evacuated. The cities in the interior, however, are not as easily accessible, since clearance by the Libyan government is required in order to evacuate the people living there by air.

The Secretary of State Nirupama Roa, asked for patience in coping with this mammoth task. However, according to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, there is no need to worry: “Let me assure the nation that all Indians are safe and all those Indians who are willing to be evacuated will be evacuated safely and without any expenditure incurred by them,” he said.

In Libya, many Chinese companies have been attacked and looted by armed protesters. This amount of violent actions is an answer to the Arab world revolutions, more specifically to the military corrupted regime of Muammar al-Gaddafi, which has been the center of most of these protest and conflicts in Libya.

This has been analyzed and seen as a wave of unified protest actions to make the Chinese government move against the Lebanese cause (the overthrow of their military dictatorship and the change into a more open, modern, democratic society and politic system). But China doesn’t want to position itself neither with Gaddafi’s regime nor against it, as the Chinese politicians think it might be bad for their image (as an oppressive regime).

Beside all of these, the intervention of the UN Secretary General has been crucial to determine the opposition against all the important conflicts recently burst in the Arab world. Ban Ki-moon has condemned Gaddafi’s actions as “crimes against humanity” and he has advised him to stop all these terrible and violent actions that are making the whole situation even worse.

What led to revolution

The North Africa Revolution was an intensive campaign of civil resistance, including numerous street demonstrations and walkouts. The demonstrations were caused by several factors; high unemployment, food inflation, corruption. People wanted to oppose by lack of freedom of speech, poor living conditions but most of all, they were willing to fight against authoritarian governments.

The North African liberation movement began in Tunisia in December 2010 and led to the ousting of longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. The protests constituted the most dramatic wave of social and political unrest in Tunisia in three decades. The riots resulted in deaths and injuries, most of which were the effect of police and security forces actions against demonstrators. The protests were sparked by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, who by this action wanted to demonstrate generally prevailing conviction that Tunisians were deprived their fundamental rights. As the consequence of revolutionary attitude of Tunisian citizens, president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, officially resigned, ending his 23 years cadence.

The Tunisian protests inspired similar actions throughout the Arab world. The Egyptian Revolution began after the events in Tunisia and also led to the ousting of Egypt’s longtime president Hosni Mubarak. Furthermore, protests have also taken place in Algeria, Yemen, and Libya.

Will it spread to other regions?

In China the term “Egypt” has been blocked in the different blogging web pages as a way of stopping the spread of protests. They wanted to avoid the parallel comments that were emerging between China and Egypt. This kind of protests began when Western-style democracy came, as China described.

Burma is a military-ruled country, but as Mark Farmaner of the Burma Campaign UK said, in Burma “the army has always been prepared to shoot when it’s ordered to”, “there’s no separation of president and military in any way”. As in other regions protests are reaching a high level of violence, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burmese opposition, wants to dialogue with Burma´s political leader.

A 53 –year- old tutor in the biggest city of Burma, Yangon, said anonymously “tears welled in my eyes when I watched the Egyptians, overjoyed after Mubarak Leith. I want to tell them that your fight has paid off but we don’t know where our future lies”.

In conclusion, as the American Revolution in the 18th century was inspired by Europeans mentality (for example the French Revolution) in Arab countries protests could trigger democratic revolutions worldwide. This means that civilians may ask for better living standards and non-dictatorial political systems.

An International law expert at Central European University in Budapest, Professor Hurst Hannum, warned about the idea of thinking that West-democratic-regimes will extend to nearby countries, can be unrealistic.

From the previous paragraphs we can point out a local analysis of the possibility of Pakistan and Afghanistan becoming Egypt has to be made, in the sense that key elements differ from country to country.


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