Tunisia sends shock waves
There is an interesting debate to be had on the degree to which the Iraqis' introduction to democracy impacted Tunisians. But some powerful evidence comes from Tunisia's role in spurring Muslims in other nations to challenge their oppressors.
We have already seen evidence of this -- marches in Algeria and Egypt and, horrifyingly, self-immolations throughout the region. One wonders what the Green Revolution activists must be thinking. As Cliff May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies remarked to me last night, "Perhaps that Iranians who would like more freedoms are watching Tunisia, too -- as is the Iranian regime that has no intention of permitting such freedoms."
Meanwhile, in the oppressive Kingdom of Saud, bloggers are in rebellion against the authoritarian regime. This report explains:
The new Executive Regulation for Electronic Publishing Activity, which came into force on 1st January, bans many from writing about news. Chat room users are encouraged to register with the government - and internet users faces strict rules which do not allow them to criticise Islam or compromise public order. . . . In spite of the restrictions, Saudis flocked on-line to protest at their government's decision to welcome Tunisia's former president Ben Ali, the Financial Times reported at the weekend.
Saudi users bombarded micro-blogging site Twitter with messages using the hashtag #sidibouzid - the town at the heart of the Tunisian revolution - helping to spread news, pictures and videos of the protests in the country. . . .
Reaction among some Saudi bloggers to the new restrictions has been angry, with at least one popular English-language blogger declaring in a post that he would not register.
No, they are not yet marching in the streets in Saudi Arabia. But throughout the Middle East Muslims are asking themselves: "If Tunisians, why not me?" And that is how freedom spreads -- by example and inspiration.
Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 19, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse