Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Freedom is contagious

Clapping their hands to freedom, the people of the Arab world are demanding their right to live a free life, to live in Freedom! The very same people who once had their lips sealed to the word called Freedom are now openly talking about it. But then what does freedom really mean? To some it means the right to do what you want to do, in the way you want to do it. To some it means expressing yourself by giving your opinion to anything and everything. To some it means immunity from the power and control of another. And to some it simply means telling someone to stop bossing and imposing strict rules and laws without discussions and consent.

Who said that you cannot live happily, make a lot of money, or live a healthy and wealthy life under an autocratic regime. Didn’t the people in the Arab world under the autocratic regime live a comfortable life, enjoying almost all materialistic highs in life? Coming to think of it, they even lived a better life than people from democratic nations. That’s why, Freedom is not about earning materialistic pleasures in life...it is more about freedom of the mind. It instils the ultimate power to the people to choose, to respond, and to change...and be able to do all this without having to be kicked or brutally killed for not following instructions enforced by a selfish regime.

Constitution for slaves
As the great Martin Luther King said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” Quite rightly this is exactly what the undaunted people from Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Yemen, and Bahrain are out to do. They want to live like the people in other democracies who fearlessly and liberally express their right to information and opinion.

It is indeed a big revolution, a kind of a metamorphosis for the people from an autocratic regime to be moving towards a regime that will not ask questions or explanations for their actions. My heart goes out when I see pictures of free Egyptian women singing and dancing as they walk down the streets of free Egypt. They could never think of walking so freely under the Mubarak regime.

The aftermath of revolutions
The fight for freedom is good and ought to continue with greater vigour over the years to come. But then, all in not hunky-dory after the collapse and downfall of such autocratic regimes. Critics argue saying that the downfall of a regime can have a ripple effect and can lead to the crashing down of the economy. Agreed, that there is a lot of uncertainty and chaos until fair elections and selection of a fair government is put in place. But then even the human body retorts when a chain smoker starts his journey towards kicking the butt. It’s indeed, persistence and commitment to quitting the bad habit that makes him conquer it.

Hence it’s not that the newly formed democracies will not win over the vices. They will certainly triumph…we only need to give them some time, our support, share our knowledge and experiences, to help them put things together.

Calling for global response
Protests and uprising in the Arab world demanded speedy and forceful responses from the President of the USA, Barak Obama, and from the top honcho of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon. The whole world demanded quick actions from these powerful public figures against the dictator regimes, which did not care a damn before assaulting their own people, in order to stop the protests staged by them. But then, shouldn’t the world take charge and responsibility to end assaults and autocracy imposed by such dictators. Imposing sanctions is definitely not a solution to this big problem. Sanctions imposed weaken the economy which in turn affects the people. But then what does the world do is the big question?

The world can certainly get a little proactive by taking measures against the dictatorial regimes in the rest of the world. The people there may be dormant today, but the uprising is bound to happen very soon. Talks and discussions with dictators, is the beginning to avoid a chaotic Libya/ Egypt-like situation down the line.

Are people really free in a democracy?
Each democratic nation has a well written living constitution in place which guarantees people their fundamental rights of justice, equality, and liberty. The Constitution also demands accountability from the three estates - Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary. But then again why did we have situations like the 18th Dec 1976 in India, when an emergency situation was called by the then prime minister who in a freak moment pushed through several changes in the constitution to satisfy her hunger for power. Why do we still fight over religion when we are a secular country? Why is there so much corruption by the government...when we are a nation of integrity? Is the Constitution only a showpiece of democracy?

Fear is another roadblock towards experiencing and taking full advantage of democracy. Fear is good...but when the same fear makes an individual a coward, it simply is no good. We do not use our right to information (RTI) to our benefit, because we are afraid of being hounded and attacked by thugs; we do not speak up in our work place and demand our rights, because we are afraid of losing our jobs; we do not expose wrong-doers, because we are afraid that in the bargain our close ones would be hurt. Meanwhile as we are afraid to speak up, the oppressors flex their muscles and get more powerful.

“Fear has its use but cowardice has none,” says Mahatma Gandhi. And hence it is we the people/citizens who can make our democracy live and active by demanding and speaking for our rights. This is what I believe in, but unfortunately my belief is not translated into action in everything that I do. So until I reach the threshold of my conviction, I consider myself a coward! What about you?

Post script:
Reportedly a newly born child in Egypt was named ‘Facebook’ by his parents. Depicting the forceful power of a mere social networking site, which today can be our freedom fighter.

3 comments:

Uma said...

Hi Mearl,

Glad to read ur last blog article “Mummify the dictatorial daddy of Egypt” n this one which speaks in same breath “Freedom”. A well thought out & analyzed piece of informative editorial, wherein u have touched upon the sequence of the Jasmine revolution and the logical reason as to why the ppl are taking up to the streets.
I am happy u have highlighted this topic which is raging headlines across the globe and which will hv its own ramifications, thereby changing the equations/dynamic of power balance in Middle East, West and here in the Indian subcontinent.
How free is mankind across our borders and how do the local Monarch/Kings/Leaders perceive their citizens.???
Are we in India Lucky or Unlucky??? I have to confess “Lucky” to live in a vibrant democracy. It is quite easy for us to abuse even the 1st citizen of the country (the President) and go scotch free……Note sure if it is called a Matured or Fractured “Democracy”??? “Democracy is indeed a Luxury”.

Whether it is in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Swaziland or Libya……They have all one thing in common, decades of oppressive rule by so called Generals, Rulers or Henpecked elected official of the regime. Economic disparity has plunder, plunged those nation to the brink of utter poverty n a huge Social divide. The New Generation youth who are educated, jobless are already frustrated, had to spark of the series of demonstrations which latter builds up n culminate into a full fledged revolution calling for the end the aristocratic governance. The young generations are angered by the only one ruler they have learnt from their parents/peers which has not changed their lives for decades. Education, Health care, Food or their right to live in dignity and lead a normal family life was becoming a dream. This young generation wants to reclaim it future and not follow what their parents tolerated for so long.

Reference ur observation abt the aftermath of revolution: true the economy will be affected for sometime. While most of the affected countries struggle to find a leader, it is for rest of the nations, to at least morally support the smooth transition n share in their experience in governance and not place in their puppet in the name of democracy.

What can the UN and rest of the countries do???
Well, while each of this countries are member’s of UN and r bound by its charter, which cannot b ignored, the international community should NOT intervene unless things goes beyond control, where in there is large scale “Human Rights” violation.

Lessons to be learnt fm this uprising for us in India:
While India’s growth rate and democracy safety – valve has proved to be a cushion.
Unless our government makes in all out efforts to curb Corruption,Nepotism,Alienation and generate jobs. Pump in more funds to get our literacy rate n health care up……V r in for something like this in the decades to come……..though I wish not.
Let us hope every Indian to b part of the inclusive growth.

Mearl, keep it up… :-)as u write on geo-political n international affairs…….
TC, Cheers.

Uma

Uma said...

Hi Mearl,

Glad to read ur last blog article “Mummify the dictatorial daddy of Egypt” n this one which speaks in same breath “Freedom”. A well thought out & analyzed piece of informative editorial, wherein u have touched upon the sequence of the Jasmine revolution and the logical reason as to why the ppl are taking up to the streets.
I am happy u have highlighted this topic which is raging headlines across the globe and which will hv its own ramifications, thereby changing the equations/dynamic of power balance in Middle East, West and here in the Indian subcontinent.
How free is mankind across our borders and how do the local Monarch/Kings/Leaders perceive their citizens.???
Are we in India Lucky or Unlucky??? I have to confess “Lucky” to live in a vibrant democracy. It is quite easy for us to abuse even the 1st citizen of the country (the President) and go scotch free……Note sure if it is called a Matured or Fractured “Democracy”??? “Democracy is indeed a Luxury”.

Whether it is in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Swaziland or Libya……They have all one thing in common, decades of oppressive rule by so called Generals, Rulers or Henpecked elected official of the regime. Economic disparity has plunder, plunged those nation to the brink of utter poverty n a huge Social divide. The New Generation youth who are educated, jobless are already frustrated, had to spark of the series of demonstrations which latter builds up n culminate into a full fledged revolution calling for the end the aristocratic governance. The young generations are angered by the only one ruler they have learnt from their parents/peers which has not changed their lives for decades. Education, Health care, Food or their right to live in dignity and lead a normal family life was becoming a dream. This young generation wants to reclaim it future and not follow what their parents tolerated for so long.

Reference ur observation abt the aftermath of revolution: true the economy will be affected for sometime. While most of the affected countries struggle to find a leader, it is for rest of the nations, to at least morally support the smooth transition n share in their experience in governance and not place in their puppet in the name of democracy.

What can the UN and rest of the countries do???
Well, while each of this countries are member’s of UN and r bound by its charter, which cannot b ignored, the international community should NOT intervene unless things goes beyond control, where in there is large scale “Human Rights” violation.

Lessons to be learnt fm this uprising for us in India:
While India’s growth rate and democracy safety – valve has proved to be a cushion.
Unless our government makes in all out efforts to curb Corruption,Nepotism,Alienation and generate jobs. Pump in more funds to get our literacy rate n health care up……V r in for something like this in the decades to come……..though I wish not.
Let us hope every Indian to b part of the inclusive growth.

Mearl, keep it up… :-)as u write on geo-political n international affairs…….
TC, Cheers.

Uma

Uma said...

Hi Mearl,

Glad to read ur last blog article “Mummify the dictatorial daddy of Egypt” n this one which speaks in same breath “Freedom”. A well thought out & analyzed piece of informative editorial, wherein u have touched upon the sequence of the Jasmine revolution and the logical reason as to why the ppl are taking up to the streets.
I am happy u have highlighted this topic which is raging headlines across the globe and which will hv its own ramifications, thereby changing the equations/dynamic of power balance in Middle East, West and here in the Indian subcontinent.
How free is mankind across our borders and how do the local Monarch/Kings/Leaders perceive their citizens.???
Are we in India Lucky or Unlucky??? I have to confess “Lucky” to live in a vibrant democracy. It is quite easy for us to abuse even the 1st citizen of the country (the President) and go scotch free……Note sure if it is called a Matured or Fractured “Democracy”??? “Democracy is indeed a Luxury”.

Whether it is in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Swaziland or Libya……They have all one thing in common, decades of oppressive rule by so called Generals, Rulers or Henpecked elected official of the regime. Economic disparity has plunder, plunged those nation to the brink of utter poverty n a huge Social divide. The New Generation youth who are educated, jobless are already frustrated, had to spark of the series of demonstrations which latter builds up n culminate into a full fledged revolution calling for the end the aristocratic governance. The young generations are angered by the only one ruler they have learnt from their parents/peers which has not changed their lives for decades. Education, Health care, Food or their right to live in dignity and lead a normal family life was becoming a dream. This young generation wants to reclaim it future and not follow what their parents tolerated for so long.

Reference ur observation abt the aftermath of revolution: true the economy will be affected for sometime. While most of the affected countries struggle to find a leader, it is for rest of the nations, to at least morally support the smooth transition n share in their experience in governance and not place in their puppet in the name of democracy.

What can the UN and rest of the countries do???
Well, while each of this countries are member’s of UN and r bound by its charter, which cannot b ignored, the international community should NOT intervene unless things goes beyond control, where in there is large scale “Human Rights” violation.

Lessons to be learnt fm this uprising for us in India:
While India’s growth rate and democracy safety – valve has proved to be a cushion.
Unless our government makes in all out efforts to curb Corruption,Nepotism,Alienation and generate jobs. Pump in more funds to get our literacy rate n health care up……V r in for something like this in the decades to come……..though I wish not.
Let us hope every Indian to b part of the inclusive growth.

Mearl, keep it up… :-)as u write on geo-political n international affairs…….
TC, Cheers.

Uma