KRISTEN O’DONNELL — Staff Writer
In the last year, there have been some major moments in the global political arena. Every time the television is turned on, warfare, revolutions and violence are noticeable. The press has played out these events like a soap opera, rather than acknowledging the significant impact that these situations play in the global political arena.
These acts are critical to the stabilization of the world. It is essential to come to quick and efficient compromises in order to save lives. It seems that the governments of the world are losing control over their people, while public forums such as Facebook and Twitter are gaining support. These networks are encouraging people to value independence, freedoms, and rights, while taking a stand against tyranny, imperialism, dictatorship, and the corruption of governments.
Libya, for example, decided that this was the year to fight for their natural rights; the rights that Gaddafi has suppressed for 30 years. The initial protests were non-violent with the intent to spread the idea of discontent. The protests spread throughout the country, and the people’s participation invoked a change in government.
Gaddafi had taken power from the monarchical rule of King Idris I in 1969. He promised the people better education, better healthcare and housing. These promises made him popular among the citizens. However, these things did not outweigh the fact that there was international terrorism support, tyranny, lack of foreign relations, fear. These were daily events in the lives of Libyans.
Another revolution this year was that of Egypt. This revolution also started as a non-violent resistance on the part of the people. These citizens demanded Mubarak leave his post. The citizens demanded freedom, justice, rights, free speech and freedom of religion. These basic rights were not afforded to the citizens. Corruption was part of the government. Mubarak’s government was dissolved in the end. The acts of resistance and revolution lead to other demonstrations in Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and Libya.
These two situations are not nearly finished. The countries are in shambles. Military regimes have taken over where dictators have left off. However, there is one thing that must be recognized: the power of participation. The group participation to be noticed and heard by the government and even the world, made a difference. The participation and group efforts broke down governments. Even though the situations have yet to conclude, if these two examples do not show a citizen that participation is necessary and effective, I am not sure if any could do so. Participation equals democracy.
The revolutions of the present day have much to do with the discontent of a society. The discontent comes from the corruption of officials, lack of rights, and the powerful not being held accountable for their actions. This has been happening since the beginning of history. Even the United States was founded because it needed to break away from the tyranny of England’s king. A common goal among people brings solidarity among citizens. When you have a solid foundation, your base becomes strong. The Founding Fathers wanted to write their own laws because they felt the king was not letting them have a say in their rule. They were taxed with representation. The Americans needed to house British soldiers. There were no rights for the people of this country. The behaviors of the English were only tolerated so long.
Once you reach a point, you must ask, rather demand, change. A citizen must demand that the laws by which they abide protect his or her interest. The taxes people pay go toward the education, health, and resources of their lives. So many times in history, the people have been ignored. At a point, one stands up and demands to be heard. The community gathers. Leaders are put up to speak to convince others of the movement objectives. Then the rallying occurs. The groups can start peacefully. There is a point to be made. Throughout history, demonstrations such as women’s suffrage, civil rights, anti-war demonstrations, walks in Washington, and sit-ins throughout the country have taken place. The causes have been: lack of women’s rights, lack of civil rights, union disagreements, lack of gay rights, anti-warfare, and peace.
All of these subjects have been important to groups within our society. Our country has been demonstrating the need for changes since before it was founded. As countries are just beginning to follow in our footsteps, you must be reassured, this is not the end of the world. This just might be a new beginning.