The collapse of the 23-year dictatorship, the first ever collapse of an Arab leader to a “people power” uprising is shaking the Muslim world. President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali who wanted to rule further until 2014 had to fled out of the country due to the mass uprising in every corner of Tunisia, and now, he is hiding in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia another authoritarian state, with his tail between his legs.
The spark to the riot was after, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself ablaze on December 17 out of sheer frustration. Mohamed was a young graduate who sold fruits and vegetables for a living, he was locked up and his cart with all his fruits and vegetables was confiscated by the Tunisian authorities for his failure to secure proper license. He eventually died an agonising death on January 5.
Now Tunisia’s “Jasmine Revolution” has spread to neighbouring Egypt and is about to knock off President Hosni Mubarak from his 30 years dictatorship. Mubarak has gone into hiding now. It is spreading like wild fire across the Arab world. Like Tunisia, and now in Egypt, similar protest over unemployment and food prices have also started in Jordan, Algeria, Yemen and even Saudi Arabia in the past weeks, all these countries has a big percentage of young people, majority are well-educated but a lot unemployed.
This has been one hell of a revolution. It places the military on top and is a another step towards perpetuating the “militarized democracy”. Mubarak went because he wanted to establish a civilian oligarchy led by his son.
Anyway, the people of Egypt will be lucky if their military hands over power to a democratically elected govt in 6 months as promised !!
Comparing this with the situation that is prevailing in our country, do we see something similar happening here. I believe the situation here is not that bad yet although we have our share of widespread police abuse and death in police custody like the case of 22 year-old Kugan Ananthan who died a horrible, lonely death with his body bore the marks of several wounds from severe beatings and torture from the hands of policemen. Then we have the case of Teoh Beng Hock who died in the custody of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency and we are told that Teoh Beng Hock did not commit suicide but neither was his death a homicide. Then we are told again that the police are allowed to shoot as in the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the 15 year-old who died in a hail of police bullets. Then recently, there was the case of businessman Chia Buang Hing, 34 who was beaten up by the cops when he was stopped at a police road-block. So many more cases of torture and abuse from the hands of the authorities and it may take me many more pages to complete.
Don’t you think they are testing our patience? I tell you, the way our government is handling the situation really sucks, our belief in the forces of law and order have eroded badly.
Don’t you think Malaysia too is ready for this kind of an upheaval?
The conditions are here also: A dysfunctional polity, corrupt politicians, self absorbed bureaucrats, an uncaring elite, increasing disparities in income and consumption, and an all pervasive corrupt and insolent government.
So is it a matter of when or is it still a question of why?
Or when will we come out and say… CUKUP!