Something seems to be brewing these days, now doesn’t it?
January 12th: In Lebanon the unity government collapses:
Lebanon’s unity government has collapsed after the Hezbollah movement and its political allies resigned from the cabinet over arguments stemming from a UN investigation into the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, in 2005.
January 14th: In Tunisia the President has stepped down and a state of emergency has been declared:
Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has stepped down after 23 years in power as protests over economic issues snowballed into rallies against him.
Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has taken over as interim president, and a state of emergency has been declared.
Mr Ben Ali left Tunisia with his family, and has since arrived in Saudi Arabia, officials said.
Earlier, French media said President Nicolas Sarkozy had rejected a request for his plane to land in France.
Dozens of people have died in recent weeks as unrest has swept the country and security forces have cracked down on demonstrations over unemployment, food price rises and corruption.
The protests started after an unemployed graduate set himself on fire when police tried to prevent him from selling vegetables without a permit. He died a few weeks later.
Note what’s at the root of the outrage here: Government restrictionism in action. This is what governments do all over the world, from minimum wage legislation to union legislation to antitrust legislation, and what have you; interesting to see people wake up to the injustice of these concepts. Although I do of course realize that that’s not all that this is about. :)
January 20th: Irish government collapses:
Irish Prime Minster Brian Cowen has called an Irish election for March 11th.
Speaking to a packed parliament, Cowen stated that he was reassigning six cabinet portfolios after six of his ministers resigned.
His comments ended a day of mounting chaos in the parliament as it became clear that the Green Party were preventing the Fianna Fail party from replacing the minsters who resigned .
Opposition leader Enda Kenny of Fine Gael said he was delighted there was finally an air of finality because of the naming of an election date.
The Irish collapse of course has to be seen in light of economic difficulties coupled with political disagreements.
January 25th: “Unprecedented” protests in Egypt:
The scope of Egypt’s protests today, calling for greater freedom and downfall of strongman President Hosni Mubarak, is unprecedented.
Though tens of thousands took to the streets of Cairo in 2005 calling for democratic reform, today’s protests are far beyond the action in the capital. Reporters and activists on the scene in Cairo say there was a spirit of anger and defiance in the crowds and there were protests of varying sizes in at least a half-dozen Egyptian cities.
It will be interesting to see if other US backed dictators will soon face similar challenges across the middle east. In particular Pakistan will be interesting to watch.
In any case … what a turbulent start into the year 2011. What a close succession of government failures, collapses, and mass protests in Europe and the Middle East!