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The Arab Spring: Opening A Pandorra’s Box?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 4, 2011

By A.K. Verma

(July 04, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) The so called Arab spring represents a massive popular movement, not

In this photo taken on a government-organized tour, Libyan women demonstrate during a rally in Green Square in downtown Tripoli, Libya, Friday, July 1, 2011. A defiant Moammar Gadhafi threatened Friday to carry out attacks in Europe against "homes, offices, families," unless NATO halts its campaign of airstrikes against his regime in Libya. -AP Photo

seen or predicted in the Arab world ever since the Suez sponsored Nasserite upheaval. It is as significant as the falling of the Berlin wall. The effects of the falling of the Berlin wall are still being felt. Similarly, the Arab spring will lead to irreversible and continuous changes.

Although a common thread links the movement in all the regions its origins are not monocausal. The common denominator is that the entire region seeks a total transformation of ruling political structures and processes, fundamental reforms in governance to foster social equity and emancipation of the poverty ridden classes. The downtrodden have risen to forge a new identity, to look for better opportunities in education, development and personal enhancement.
The spring started in Tunisia with a policewoman slapping a young adult who immolated himself later. This ignited into a blaze the widespread discontent which had been there in Tunisia against the regime, leading ultimately to the flight of the president of Tunisia. Reactions followed in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria where similar undercurrents of discontent prevailed against the autocratic regimes. The Egyptian president had to abdicate also. The Yemen President, hurt in an assault at the Presidential Palace, took refuge in Saudi Arabia. Other rulers are facing armed insurrections.
The specific issues vary from country to country but broadly they can be placed in two categories. The movements in Tunisia, Bahrain and Libya are more social than political or economic, engineered by unhappy tribal or sectarian maladjustments, aggravated by authoritarian rulers. In Egypt, Yemen and Syria the roots lie in political, economic and sectarian dissatisfactions. Only Bahrain is monarchial: the rest of the five countries are republican. Great anxieties are being felt in their neighbourhood, especially the monarchies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the gulf region. If the unrest spreads to these regions, absolutely unpredictable consequences can arise. Instability in Saudi Arabia will lead to severe repercussions in the oil and energy politics of the world. There are many who dread at the thought of instability in Saudi Arabia as it is also the custodian of the Muslim holy places of Mecca and Medina. Read the rest of this entry »

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