People Power Continues

Revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa

EDSA People Power Revolution

On February 25, 2011 Filipinos will be marking the 25th Anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution.  This was the first of its kind. It revolutionized the way fundamental change in government could be executed. This was a peaceful revolution by the Filipino people that ended 2 decades of Marcos dictatorship.  Assassination of Benigno Aquino and the tampering of election results in 1986 served as catalyst for the revolution, prompting the thousands people to throng along Epifanio delos santos Avenue (EDSA), calling for the ouster of the seated President.

In the past revolutions had always been bloody and protracted. Revolutions then could only be won with guns. The French Revolution in the late 18th century toppled that ruled France for centuries. It lasted for 3 years. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia, with Vladimir Ilyich Lenin at the forefront, has removed Czar Nicholas II and the Russian autocracy from power. Major political and social upheavals have ensued as a result of years of armed,  organized rebellions and civil disobedience against the existing leader or monarch.

From 1989 to 1990’s we have witnessed the downfall of the Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc that included East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Similar to the Philippine Power Revolution, voice of the people that was repressed for years has toppled the communist governments and likewise destroyed the Iron Curtain that existed in Europe since World War II.

Oil-rich countries of the Middle East and North Africa, ruled by monarchs and dictators, seemed untouchable and resistant to reform. However, 2011 is bringing us a wave of unrests that is sweeping the Arab world. Tunisia has started it all. A desperate act of a young man, Mohammed Bouazizi, who set himself ablaze after having denied a license for his produce stand, has inspired many Tunisians to flock into the streets and protest against corruption, poverty, rising  food prices, insufficient investment in the public sector, authoritarian political system and rapacious lifestyle by the president’s family. The victory of the Jasmine revolution, as it is now popularly called, has sent President ZIne el-Abidine Ben Ali into exile.

Lotus Revolution in Egypt

Inspired by the success of the Tunisian revolution Egyptians tried to follow suit. Who would have thought that Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak a key ally of the United States in the region since 1970’s, a key arbitrator in the Israel-Palestine peace process and a key power broker in the Middle East, would be forced to resign after 17 days of relentless demonstrations at Tahrir Square in its capital Cairo after having ruled the country for 30 years. Social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and You Tube were instrumental to the success of the Lotus revolution in Egypt and Jasmine revolution in Tunisia. 

 As turmoil continues to beset the Middle East, a domino effect is palpable. Series of protests are sprouting in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Iran, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait and even Djibouti.  Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Libyan’s Moammar Gadhafi, Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh and other Arab leaders must be gripped by terror as events unfold daily. Their hold onto power is uncertain. Will people power once again prevail? Let’s wait and see.

1 Response to People Power Continues

February 20, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Our country's was indeed the first of its kind, and will probably the only one of its kind.

The latest unrests in different countries are not as bloodless as that of our countries. For me, this, in itself is an honor for me as a Filipino.

Post a Comment