Contagion for self-determination

The burning question facing the international politics is why people have to come out in the streets to protest and get themselves killed at the hands of the very people they elected to power. History has numerous examples of very bloody revolutions that culminated in freedom and liberated republics. Algeria is one case in point. This time round it is the internal dimension of the right to self-determination that has set fire to this nation. The external part of getting rid of the French came to fruition many years back. The French left and that was the end of the story. Likewise, the British decamped from India in 1947 and that was the last of their colonial harsh rule. What they left behind is totalitarian princely states unprotected and in turmoil. Kashmir is one such polity.

As if a pandemic virus has taken hold from North Africa there were slogans for president
Zine Al Abedine Ben Ali to vacate his post in Tunisia. He fled the country to Saudi Arabia but left his legacy in the form of his prot‚g‚s to carry on the regime. An official toll of deaths was 23 and unofficial 66 sourced from International Federation for Human Rights. In Algeria they hoisted the Tunisian flag. Today in Algeria 42 people including 7 policemen are wounded all in the name of claiming democracy and scrapping of draconian laws banning public meetings. The popular demand to get rid of president Abdul Aziz Bouteflika reverberated all over and placards saying ‘Boutef out’ are pasted all over.

The contagion wafted to the ranks of students in Sana University demanding dethroning of another despot Ali Abdulla Saleh the president of Yemen. This character who is incarnate with political chaos decided to write into his constitution his own power to perpetuity, forgetting a small detail: that he has to die one day ? He has pronounced reconciliatory noises about stepping down at the end of his term. In Egypt demonstrations are picking up as a domino effect from Tunisia and violent display of anger against another perpetual ruler display ‘ouster of President Hosni Mubarak’ and ‘Down with Mubarak’ all inspired by the uprising.

Not far from Algeria still in the Eastern European belt, 3 demonstrators were killed by police in Albania who are crying out protesting against corruption by Mr. Rama’s regime. They also revolt to change their elected tyrants out of power. Three young people have been killed and buildings were set alight in Tirana the capital city. In the meantime violent protests have surfaced from the cocoa growers to change their ruler president Moralis. He has not performed well in his 5 year term and fuel prices have shot up in Lampas.

Some internal rebellions arose from external agencies influencing local politics. Lebanon is on the verge of chaos. All Arabs want to apply Taif Accord that ended in the devastating civil war of 1989. There must not be a repeat of that mayhem. It may be Saad Hariri is back but it is obvious that Israel watching on the doorstep is basking in the heat of the turmoil. The streets of Beirut are in a blaze because the pro-Hariri groups do not like the new Prime
Minister Najeeb Mikati with Hezbollah background. Ivory Coast is in turmoil because one more character loves his throne well entrenched into his family. Gbagbo was thrown out by electorate but refused to relinquish power triggering violence in his country. A lot of blood and pain could be saved if the dictators realize that their game is up and made their own way out of office and let peace and order prevail with a transition to true democracy. An example in history that stands out is peace that followed after the exit of Gen. Francisco Franco of Spain. Likewise one more dictator sponsored by America who realized his time was up was Gen Augusto Pinochet and woefully stepped down. Pinochet in his time was known to disappear people by throwing them overboard aircraft alive. These human flying objects would perch on tree tops with a branch impaled inside and left to die as food for vultures. Pinochet was saved from prosecution by the Western powers because he got rid of socialist government that was seen leaning to the East.

There are some populist greedy authoritarian rulers who hold tight their grip on the throne and ignore public sentiments. Zine Al Abedine Ben Ali of Tunisia imitated some regimes in South Asia and planted fake opposition parties and pretended to be fighting terrorism to keep himself alive. These so called democratic institutions are an affront to world society and must be exposed.

Some people refuse to understand conflict and sentiments incarnate in mass psyche. Mr. Nitin Gadkari the president of the largest opposition party of India now visiting China refused to see conflict in Kashmir. His party offers ‘Peace offensive’ rather than ‘peace’ by encouraging force applied to hoisting Indian flags in Kashmir. This action has been opposed by government and public agencies. Something is amiss here! Surely celebration on Republic day must be an event for the local people of Kashmir to participate in. Why create mayhem on a sacred day and instead of colour in flowers decorating the event, paint the streets red with blood. Ban ki Moon the UN Secretary General has emphasized that ‘there is no place for irresponsible rhetoric that calls into question peace and incites hatred’ He decreed that exercise of the inalienable right of people must be recognized. This is the key word to maintain amity with people who are governed.

An optimist note in this contagion for internal self-determination is its self-limiting nature. As soon as the tyrant leaves office or dies his natural death then calm and peace returns until some other autocrat tyrant or authoritarian party comes to power. The raging conflict remains inside borders even when colossal damage is done but like a virus the ideology knows no boundaries in globalization. In the emancipated world people realize the value of social contract enunciated by Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) that they are born free and will strive for good governance. For this they even give the ultimate but the most painful sacrifice of self immolation because they get noticed and they show how serious the issues facing the society are prevailing. Ali in Tunisia proved the point.

Nations claiming external dimension of right to self-determination is a singular category different altogether. Those revolutions do not create a virus. These nations have issue with an outside force. The Chechen fiasco is simmering without a similar fire raging in the other region of Caucuses. The devastating bomb in Moscow is an evidence that the conflict is alive. The freedom from external forces is the driver of revolution and in this category there are nations who in contrast to internal self-determination are not short sharp result orientated. They may last centuries and like decolonisation by European powers cause death and destruction of paramount proportions before relenting their hold. Some such conflicts are still be in evidence in Greater Asia.

(The author can be contacted at Nova.academia89@gmail.com www.kashmircaselaw.com)