Thursday, February 17, 2011

This time the domino theory looks probable

While the scaremongers have in the past often warned of the domino theory it hasn't actually happened. But it does look as though it's happening this time.  

And where it's happening is taking world leaders by surprise. Especially in the west, where successive governments have propped up, financially and otherwise, the regimes which have now gone or are under threat.

First we had Tunisia, then Egypt and there's increasing unrest in Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Iran, Yemen, Bahrain...

In the west they're usually lumped together and believed to be the same. But while they have in common the fact that they don't have democratic political systems, they're actually quite different from each other. Absolute monarchies, life presidents, secular, Islamic republic...

They also have very different economies, very different wealth, very different societies.

Currently they all also have in common the fact that large numbers of the people want change. And they want change because they want a better deal, a better life.

In the poorer countries the unrest is about standards of living and jobs. In the wealthier such as Bahrain it's about politics. Much as in Northern Ireland it's politics dominated by religion - Catholics vs Protestants, Shia vs Sunni.

I'm hearing a lot of surprise that modern westernised Bahrain, with at least half the population being expatriate, is one of the dominos. But in fact there's long been unrest there.

I remember on my second visit back in the late seventies seeing huge piles of sandals and flip-flops in the streets. In answer to my question I was told that there had been large demonstrations the night before and the demonstrators can run faster from the security forces if the kick off their sandals. From the amount of footwear I could see it must have been a good-size demo.

Coming back to my hotel after dinner I saw Public Defence units on most street corners and intersections.

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