ARAB SPRING 2.0? KEY FINDINGS OF ADR 2016. RADICALISATION THREATS.

RADICALISATION THREATS.

MARGINALIZATION/EXISTENTIAL THREATS!
Events in the region since 2011 have demonstrated the ability of young people to initiate action and catalyse change. They demonstrated young people’s awareness of the serious challenges to development posed by current conditions, and their ability to express the dissatisfaction of society as a whole with those conditions and its demands for change. These events also revealed the depth of the marginalisation that young people suffer and their inability to master the instruments of organised political action that could guarantee the peacefulness and sustainability of such change.

FAILING REGIMES!
There seems to be no prospect of improvement in the ability of governments to create sufficient suitable jobs, particularly because of the decline in oil prices and the negative effects of the decline on economic growth throughout the region, not merely in oil-producing countries.

LOST OPPORTUNITY!
Today’s generation of young people is more educated, active and connected to the outside world, and hence have a greater awareness of their realities and higher aspirations for a better future.

However, young people’s awareness of their capabilities and rights collides with a reality that marginalises them and blocks their pathways to express their opinions, actively participate or earn a living.

As a result, instead of being a massive potential for building the future, youth can become an overwhelming power for destruction.

HAVE NO SAY!
The youth unemployment rate is the highest in the world, reaching almost 30 percent, even though five years have passed since the widespread protests demanding a dignified life.

High numbers of young people, particularly young women, are unemployed and excluded from the formal economy.

The research literature continues to highlight the weak productivity of education and training systems in the region.

WAKE UP!
Indicators confirm that the overwhelming majority of young people in the Arab region do not tend to adopt extremist or violent views or to participate in extremist groups or activities. However, this should not lead us to complacency, because young people remain vulnerable to victimization by groups that misuse religion to benefit from its pivotal role in shaping identities.

EASY TARGETS TO BE EXPLOITED IN THE NAME OF RELIGION BY TERROR GROUPS/FRINGES!
Disgruntled individuals are less prone to resorting to peaceful, patient social action to change their environment. They may prefer more direct, more violent means, especially if they are convinced that existing mechanisms for participation and accountability are useless.

From:
Arab Human Development Report 2016
Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality

Advertisements

ARAB SPRING 2.0? KEY FINDINGS OF ADR 2016. UNEMPLOYMENT.

UNEMPLOYMENT
Most recent statistics indicate that two-thirds of the Arab region’s population is below thirty years of age, half of which falling within the 15 – 29-year age bracket.

The youth unemployment rate is the highest in the world, reaching almost 30 percent, even though five years have passed since the widespread protests demanding a dignified life.

Young people between the ages of fifteen and 29 make up nearly a third of the regThe youth unemployment rate is the highest in the world, reaching almost 30 percent, even though five years have passed since the widespread protests demanding a dignified life.ion’s population, another third are below the age of fifteen.

Their numbers exceed 105 million, equivalent to one third of the population. This is the highest share in the history of the region.

In 2014, unemployment among youth in the Arab region exceeded twice the global average – the situation is expected to worsen by 2019.

The most important challenges that they feel they face – 75.77% said it was the prevailing Economic situation (poverty, unemployment, price increase).

Corruption was a distant second with 14.78% going with it – but together they are over 90% (90.55%) – that means a lot and that tells why there is chronic unemployment rate and why the youth is forced to protest.

Unemployment rate among the young female population is 47%. The global average is 16%. Unemployment rate among the young male population female is 24%. The global average is 13%.

In 2014, unemployment among youth in the Arab region exceeded twice the global average – the situation is expected to worsen by 2019.

By 2020, the Arab region needs to create 60 million new jobs to cater to the rising number the young, working age population.

Young people are coming of age in a context of widening income disparities, increasing inequality of opportunity, slowing average growth and shrinking job opportunities. These problems are weakening their commitment to preserving government institutions and their desire to participate in a political world that does not meet their needs or their expectations.

From:
Arab Human Development Report 2016
Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality

ACTIVISTS JOINING POLITICS: A WELCOME SIGN FOR INDIAN DEMOCRACY

“I have been fasting for the last 16 years. I haven’t got anything from it yet. I am ending my fast today. I want to try a different agitation now. I will contest against the Chief Minister of Manipur in the upcoming state elections.”

Another activist joining politics – that is always a welcome step for Indian democracy. On July 31, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, two pivots of the 2011 anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, announced that they would launch their political party formally on October 2, on the Gandhi Jayanti Day.

Yogendra and Prashant are from the latest crop of the experimental activists who are joining politics after trying their hands in activism for a long period and we can hope that their experience would push them to cleanse the system as they claim and would deliver a politics that would truly be common man centric.

We can say it all began with the Anna’s movement in 2011. It was a massively successful civil society movement in India after decades that forced the government to take notice.

First it was Arvind Kejriwal and his group of supporters from ‘India Against Corruption’ who took the political plunge after they saw that their movement was losing direction and the government was getting an upper hand. Initially, Yogendra and Prashant were with Kejriwal. But later difference cropped up resulting in Kejriwal expelling Yogendra Yadav, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan from the party. In the wave that began with Anna’s movement, many other activists from across the country soon joined the new political party that emerged from the movement – the Aam Aadmi Party.

That is a spontaneous reaction from the people who have been fighting honestly for the last many years – that is spontaneous with Irom Sharmila who has become a global icon of peace and the struggle for it. It is heartening for Indian democracy that the trend has continued and Irom Sharmila is the most notable addition to it after Arvind Kejriwal.

The world has seen the resolve Irom Sharmila has and so we can say she will follow her course even in the future with same zeal. She is yet another in the growing list of activists who are taking a plunge in the mainstream politics and that is a welcome sign for Indian democracy.

Democracy is a participatory process. Every citizen of the country needs to participate in the process to nurture it, to make it strong. Likewise, they need to participate in the acts to keep a check on the factors that weaken it.

A democracy is run by its political institutions.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2015 TO TUNISIA’S NATIONAL DIALOGUE QUARTET: A PERFECTLY LOGICAL DECISION

“The National Dialogue Quartet must be given much of the credit for this achievement and for ensuring that the benefits of the Jasmine Revolution have not been lost. Tunisia faces significant political, economic and security challenges. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that this year’s prize will contribute towards safeguarding democracy in Tunisia and be an inspiration to all those who seek to promote peace and democracy in the Middle East, North Africa and the rest of the world. More than anything, the prize is intended as an encouragement to the Tunisian people, who despite major challenges have laid the groundwork for a national fraternity which the Committee hopes will serve as an example to be followed by other countries.”

– The Norwegian Noble Committee, October 10, 2015

Now, for the first time, in its recent history, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has chosen a winner that all would agree to – all who watch geopolitical developments and understand the importance of the ‘Tunisian example’ in a world marred by civil wars, dictatorships and terrorism.

And the press release by the Nobel Committee sums it up logically.

The Nobel Peace Prize has had a controversial history when it comes to selecting its winners. The universal perception is, and the stated reason behind ‘deciding the recipient’ is, that it would ‘recruit’ global attention, its local manifestation, more organizations and more people to the cause that the ‘selected’ person(s)/organization(s) is/are associated with.

That is not the underlying reason always and there have been no assessments on ‘links between yearly selections and intended recruitment results’.

The recent spate of controversies began with the unusual ‘Peace Nobel’ decision to award Barack Obama in 2009, for raising hopes with his elevation as the President of the United States of America (with no ‘such’ past to talk about), and continued with the ‘too late’ decision about the European Union in 2012 and the compromise decision with ‘Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yusufzai’ in 2014.

The 2010 decision to recognize Liu Xiaobo was a much needed step but had its global repercussions with China flexing its muscles at every stage, first in trying to derail the decision, and then exercising its power to affect ‘opinionating’ by many countries.

So, in a way, since 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee had three ‘controversial decisions’ in five years and the committee chose to play safe by naming Malala Yusufzai, again ‘for raising hopes’ and balancing the decision by adding Kailash Satyarthi, a career activist working for children but certainly not the national, regional or global icon, in 2014.

But 2015’s decision to name the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia is really apt, is to the point, and is rightly based on geopolitical developments.

Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution that gave rise to the larger ‘Arab Spring’ movement in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East is the only bright spot if we look back at its journey against authoritarian regimes in different countries.

Libya, Yemen and Syria are badly stuck in civil wars. Libya and Syria didn’t see power transitions after the Arab Spring that could keep the countries well on the way of becoming peaceful democracies. The fight to change the regime in Syria has the biggest terror menace since Al Qaeda to control, the Islamic State that has overran vast parts of Syria and Iraq. In Egypt, first it was Muslim Brotherhood, a shady organization, and now a military ruler. In other countries like Bahrain and Saudi Arab which are absolute monarchies, the mass movements have been effectively crushed.

But not in Tunisia!

Tunisia, a small country with ‘not much’ geopolitical stakes, is globally important because it is the only ‘survivor’ of the Arab Spring, the biggest mass movement in the recent history.

‘Survivor’ because there are forces in authoritarian regimes spread across the world, especially in Muslim monarchies, and terror outfits like the Islamic State, that would do all to destabilize Tunisia to create situations like Libya or Yemen or Syria or Egypt – to create situations that would tell the world that the Arab Spring failed to produce any result even in its birth place.

The transition, from Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s dictatorial regime to democracy now, has been quite a journey for Tunisia. The journey that began in December 2010 and took first step towards reconstruction in January 2011 had an Islamist party government with its proposed ‘controversial constitution’, political assassinations and widespread protest movements.

But thankfully, Tunisia had strong civil society organizations – organizations that formed this National Dialogue Quartet – organizations that represented workers, activists, lawyers and business outfits.

The four civil society organizations in Tunisia that form the National Dialogue Quartet in 2013 – the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Human Rights League, the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, and the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts – played pivotal role in convincing Ennahda, the Islamist party in the government, to step down – and in laying down a roadmap for further (and rightful) democratic transition.

As the Norwegian Nobel Committee says, and as we know, a strong democratic tradition in Tunisia would serve as the reminder to others, in other countries, that what they had fought for.

A successful spring in Tunisia, originating from the Jasmine Revolution, would be a tribute to the fighting spirit that had made the Arab Spring a multi-country movement.

And the world has its tasks cut in ensuring that it happens in Tunisia – helping those who are helping to restore peace and strengthen democracy in the country – given the fact that the destabilizing forces are active to perpetrate terror and chaos – with two large scale terror attacks in Tunisia this year that killed scores – and with radical elements trying to recruit more collaborative hands.

The decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award the Nobel Peace Prize 2015 to the National Dialogue Quartet of Tunisia should be seen as a logical step towards that.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE SPECTACULAR FALL OF MORSI: A REMARKABLY SWIFT REALIZATION FOR A NATION OF OVER 84 MILLION

THE ARAB SPRING IS HERE TO STAY

On the expected line, the Egyptian military stepped in, deposed Mohammed Morsi, suspended the Egyptian Constitution and appointed an interim head of the country till the next elections are held.

Millions signed the petition demanding Morsi’s ouster. Millions gathered to protest. Millions shouted slogans of ‘no Morsi’. And millions celebrated in the iconic Tahrir Square and in Egypt when the Morsi’s rule came to an end.

With much less violence than the first Tahrir Square uprising! Spectacular!

This transition or the military coup as some say is still the step ahead in a positive direction in evolution of a multiparty democracy in the most populous Arab Nation.

Apart from the falling economy that Morsi failed to address, the other major complaint of the millions who protested against Morsi was that the government was engaging in ‘Brotherhoodization’ or ‘ikhwaninzation’ of the Egyptian society as an article on CNN says. (Muslim Brotherhood’s Arabic transliteration is al-Ikḫwān al-Muslimūn; ‘Ikhwan’ translates to ‘brothers’.)

Muslim Brotherhood is an influential organization with pan-Arab presence. It preaches and promotes exclusivity of Islamic values as the way of life and has been involved in violent activities to promote its cause. It doesn’t believe in secular democracy. The Brotherhood has been involved in political assassinations and has established militant Islamic organization like Hamas.

The movement was founded in Egypt in 1928. Due to its violent activities, it was banned in 1948. But the organization is still strong in Egypt and has been able to maintain its support base though every successive political establishment in Egypt has worked to suppress it effectively.

Its violent history, a narrow view on democratic values and emphasis on introducing a strict Islamic code as a way of life were worrying factors for the Egyptian thought leaders and for the global community when Morsi won a landslide victory last year to become the first democratically president of the nation.

And one year of Morsi’s rule has proven those worries correct. If Morsi’s victory was landslide, his fall is equally spectacular, too.

Some Arab nations are rich. Some are filthy rich. Many of the 22 Arab speaking nations are not so well-to-do. But almost of the Arab nations are bad places for free thinking souls believing in secular democratic credentials as a way of life.

Most of the Arab nations are not democracies. There are tyrannies. There are monarchies. Their rulers promote strict Islamic code as a way of life as religion helps them in keeping control over the masses. The there are nations torn by civil wars.

Though Egypt was not a democracy, but it was not even a hardliner Islamic state. Having a long ancient history, Egypt has been the cultural representative of the Arab world in the modern times and is one of the most diversified Arab world economies. The nation, though under the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak for decades, has been in the mainstream of the global geopolitics. In modern times, the Egyptian politicians have been able to keep the state and the politics free from the Islamists and the religious institutions. And that reflects in the social weaving of the nation. And that is reflecting in the aspirations of the agitating nation.

The Wikipedia quotes from a U.S. Library of Congress study:

Many Muslims say that Egypt’s governments have been secularist and even anti-religious since the early 1920s. Politically organized Muslims who seek to purge the country of its secular policies are referred to as “Islamists.”

An article in the New York Times in the high-tide days of January 25 to February 10 protests writes:

Among Arab states, Egypt was the first to make a concerted effort to co-opt its intellectual class, and it has set the standard ever since. Muhammad Ali, who ruled during the first half of the 19th century, conscripted several generations of scholars to import scientific and military knowledge from Europe. These new experts also staffed government schools and edited official newspapers. A state-centered approach to culture persisted through the early part of last century and reached its apogee under the rule of Gamal Abdel-Nasser. Following the Free Officers’ Revolt of 1952, Nasser’s regime nationalized the press, the cinema and most publishing houses, establishing what one historian has termed “a virtual state monopoly on culture.” Mubarak exploited this monopoly for his own needs. During the 1990s, as Egyptian security forces fought a low-level war against Islamist groups in Upper Egypt, the regime did its best to recruit intellectuals to its side.

Egypt has been free of the religious fanaticism that has become the most lethal exporter of the Islamic terrorism in the world. The rich Arab nations are a major source of funding for the Islamic terrorist organizations.

Egypt, being an influential Arab nation, could have been and could be the beginning of the long process to free the Arab people from the autocrats and the monarchs ruling them; from the warlords killing them.

Egypt, indeed, is the best case study and can be the role model for promoting democratic values in an otherwise tyrannical Arab world with state controlled lives or civil wars, be it Saudi Arabia or Somalia.

The world has seen how the Arab Spring rapidly spread in the different Arab countries in a short span of time. Driven by a desperate urge for change and connected by the modern technologies of communication, the developments of one country pushed the thinking of the residents of the next country and the chain was established in no time.

It also shows how the people across the Arab nations are feeling almost similar problems of restricted freedom, borrowed livelihood, fractured social life and no individual viewpoints midst an existential threat.

For this, how the Arab Spring proceeded in Egypt, was important for Egypt, for the Arab world and for the world.

And the rapid rise and fall of Mohammed Morsi is good for that reason. It tells us it is heading in the right direction.

It was increasingly becoming clear that Morsi was not working and was not going to work to promote a secular democracy. He was gradually working towards Islamization of Egypt. In doing so, he messed up an already derailed economy, something that seldom seemed to be his concern. Morsi’s primary concern seemed to be establishing the Islamic rule as preached by the Muslim Brotherhood.

That is a dangerous proposition for the world. Establishment of a strict Islamist rule under the Muslim Brotherhood in one of the most influential Arab nations would work as a boon for the militant Islam and would push back the spirit of democracy in whole of the Arab world many years back and it would negatively affect the ongoing Arab Spring uprisings in other Arab countries.

The concern over the military stepping in and deposing a democratically elected government is valid but its applicability has to be case specific and it doesn’t apply in the Egypt of the day. Barack Obama rightly said that ‘democracy is more than elections’ when he requested Morsi to respond to the protesters.

Egyptians had seen first elections in decades when the elected Morsi. The generation of the voters had never experienced what the democracy was and had no idea what it had to be for them. Also, as some analysts say, the Muslim Brotherhood was the only organized political outfit (with the front – Freedom and Justice Party) when the elections were announced. The generation of voters had no practical experience of the violent past and the anti-secular hardline ideology of the Brotherhood as they had grown seeing the movement suppressed.

The protesters, and the Egyptians, had sought and fought for freedom and a better life during the first Tahrir Square uprising. And one year of Morsi’s rule told them it was not what they had expected from Morsi while voting him in the highest office of the country.

And it was a remarkably swift realization for a nation of over 84 million to realize it and raise voice so effectively deposing Morsi in just a year and the second Tahrir Square uprising is significant for that.

And for the concern of the military taking over, it is a far cry in the present circumstances. The Egyptian military is a stable institution that enjoys popularity in the country and has support from the global powers like the US. They are already an important part of the decision-making process in the Egypt and would not do anything to weaken that base by alienating the internal supporters and by antagonizing the global powers.

The Arab Spring in Egypt has given the country its next step to experiment with the process of establishing a free democracy. Let’s see how it rolls out and let’s pray for it to be headed in the right direction.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/