2011, can undoubtedly be called as the Year of ‘Public Protests’. Every nook and cranny of the world has witnessed protests for one reason or another. The startling thing though is, the protests garnered support from not only few hundred or so but thousands and millions.
The people in the vicinity as well as the people from beyond the domicile have supported in full fervour. Social Media has helped these protests gain momentum in a considerable way. In fact all these protests gained popularity and support from so many people young and old because of the Social Media aide.
Starting from home ground, India saw major protests in the form of Anti Corruption protests. These protests and demonstrations gathered many stray people together and stood up for the same cause. The prime motto of these protests was to establish strong legislation and enforcement against endemic political corruption.
And Jan Lokpal bill was framed to alleviate corruption from the nation. Kleptocracy, nepotism, etc and various forms of corruption are detested by the masses. The modus operandi of the movement is civil disobedience, demonstrations, protests, rallies, hunger strikes and the use of social media to gather people and spread the word.
There are several fan page, cause page such as “India Against Corruption”, etc on social networking sites. The output is still in shilly-shally but this movement shook the government underneath, other political parties as the movement didn’t accept the help of any political party in its favour. And as a result it has been counted in the Top 10 news of 2011 by Time Magazine.
Next, we talk about the Arab Spring or so called Arab Awakening. It is called so because 2011 proved to be like a strong storm that blew away the martinets of Middle East in dithering way. These protests have been revolutionary in nature as they brought down the people who had been ruling there for decades.
These protests shared techniques of rallies, protests, demonstrations, strikes as well the use of social media to organise, communicate and raise awareness in the face of state attempts at the repression and internet censorship.
This unrest started in Tunisia and spread like a wild fire and engulfed all the ruling people in near by countries from Algeria, Jordan, Egypt and Yemen to Syria, Libya, Morocco and Iraq. And to a strange all these protests have been successful far from being imagined. As of now governments have been overthrown in three countries.
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on exile. In Egypt President Hosni Mubarak resigned after 18 days of massive protests thereby ending his 30year presidency. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in August 2011 and killed in October 2011.
And this unrest in the Middle East or Arab world have made many a leaders step down at the end of term or as soon as possible or declare not to seek re-election. 19 year old emergency was lifted in Algeria. King Abdullah has sacked two governments in Jordan. Major government change and reframing of the council is being done in Syria. All these nations are seeing constitutional reforms.
And the protests do not end here. How can we forget Occupancy Wall Street Protest? It has spread across the world for social and economic inequality and gained momentum from far East to extreme West. But the question that remains is Why this unrest amongst people across the globe over socio-economic-political conditions prevailing in the nation for last decades and times. What is that thread that connects them all? What are the anticipatory causes and where these movements/protests are headed towards?
To start with it is quite striking to see that all these movements are leaderless movements. There’s been no single man leading this war. All are equal participants with equal reasons to stand up against the atrocities. Their way of operating has been resilient, passive and demonstrated through civil disobedience, strikes, rallies, march in millions. And Social media has played a significant role in making these protests popular and widespread.
Coming to the causes, all this is attributed to absolute monarchy, human rights violation, and government corruption, lack of transparency, economic decline, the rich and poor divide, unemployment, and a number of demographic structural factors.
The concentration of power and capital in selected few hands make the conditions worse. With more and more people getting educated and aware, everyone is realising the facts and truth and this is what brings an uprising.
Now the question of surprise is why suddenly these movements came into being at the same time? One reason can be one, protests give the heads up to another. Other could be that the height of atrocities reached a level where public had no other option than to become outrageous and bring revolution.
And another reason that is though tacit but still holds possibility is the superpowers of the world mystify the situation and bring this unrest just to later intervene and smooth the situation and gain sympathy, favour and resources! (Just think!)
Last but not the least, a million dollar question is Where these movements are headed towards? These movements are like silver shining in the cloud that indicate that reform and revolution can happen any time in the history of the world.
People from any religion/caste/sect can get together for a bigger common cause that brings peace and harmony to millions. These movements are indication of the Uprising, The Dawn that will bring in light of hope, happiness, joy and success for all common beings and wave off the injustice that is done to them for ages.