Offhand, it seems like all of the latest wave of popular uprisings have been in Muslim countries. But obviously there are non-Muslim countries with equally unpopular governments. Have any non-Muslim countries had a recent outbreak of protesting?
People have attempted to protest in Zimbabwe, but have been put down pretty harshly. I follow a Zimbabwean human rights activist on twitter, and he mostly just posts about this person being arrested and that person being arrested.
Ivory Coast is in a mess right now. The incumbent president refuses to acknowledge that he lost the election that happened last fall.
Not quite what’s happening in the Arab world though.
Depends upon what you mean by recent. The last few months? years? decades? The current unrest in the top of Africa is pretty mild on a world scale. Libya is moving more to civil war than protest, and due to the usual issues, that not of an unpopular dictator per-se, but due to entrenched tribal loyalties and the perceived opportunity changing the balance. Egypt’s protests were quite mild compared to those that the French farmers are capable of producing pretty much on demand. Violent protests in modern Europe are pretty common. May Day is not a good day to be in many cities. I was in Athens the same day as a large commemorative march became violent and tore up the city. Go back a couple of decades and you get armed insurrection bordering on civil war plus mass violent protests that are put down with water cannon and rubber bullets, all with the intent of overthrowing the incumbent government. That was Northern Ireland. The Philipines had a successful bit of local unrest to oust Marcos. South Korea had legendary protests that killed quite a few protesters.
A curious nit-pick about calling Libya and Egypt Arab. Neither are ethnically Arab. As they became dominantly Moslem they have adopted “Arab” into the official name of the countries, but neither country is populated by Arabs. The Egyptians are indeed Egyptians, plus Nubians, Nubia having been subsumed into modern Egypt. Just why Libya and Egypt adopted the name Arab is a mystery to me really. The most populous Muslim nation is Indonesia, and they certainly don’t call themselves Arab.
There were some calls for protests in China after the middle-east ones. They didn’t really come to anything, but the government took them pretty seriously.
For example, here’s a story on the BBC about one in Shanghai where there were more reporters than protesters and way more police: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12593687 .
It’s ironic that most of the uprisings are happening in Muslim countries whose governments have been pro-western. Unfortunately, the foreign policies of the USA and EU often (not always) support Muslim leaders who oppress their people. They do this on the basis that a stable dictator is better than an unstable country which can’t be relied on for the supply of oil etc. See Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt and so on.
In doing this, they are imitating past US policy in Central America and elsewhere - which may have been unpleasant but provided stability for the USA on its southern borders.
Even Khaddaffi had found redemption recently, after his stupidity in alowing a US plane to be bombed by his agents. Most of the military equipment now being destroyed by allied forces was supplied by the same countries whose planes are doing the bombing.
Remember what happened in Iran, when they overthrew their dictatorial monarch - who was supported by the west. The new government was and is heavily anti-western. We may welcome the advent of democracy in these countries, but we may not like the views that their new governments adopt when the people are free to vote. They will remember who supplied the military equipment which kept them undedr for so long.
Which is why I didn’t call them Arab countries. I said Muslim countries.
(But I do realize “the Arab Spring” has become a common term.)
As for a timeline, let’s go back to the beginning of December. That would encompass all of the current increase in uprisings in Muslim countries. Has there been a similar increase in non-Muslim countries? Have the protests in Zimbabwe and the Ivory Coast increased in the last few months or are they holding at a steady level?
As far as I can tell (and according to my Arabic professor in college), Arabs are people who speak Arabic. Libyans and Egyptians speak Arabic, Indonesians don’t.
We just went through this recently in a GD thread - the most common definition of an Arab is one who speaks Arabic as their first language. Libya and Egypt qualify. It’s ethnic identifier by linguistics, such that you have very dark Sudanese that consider themselves Arabs.
Arabian peninsula genetic ancestry is an entirely different matter. In the case of Egypt there probably isn’t a lot - the early Arab invaders did no settle much outside of the garrison city of Fustat and the native population was already quite dense. In Libya the percentage is probably somewhat higher - the native population was always smallish and it suffered an influx of Bedouin confederacies unleashed by the Fatimids as a cost-effective weapon to punish their former vassals in Tunisia. But none of this has anything, or very little, to do with identifying as “Arab” these days.
Cameroon had some low-grade protests, but they didn’t come to much. Rumor is that the president offered students around $10.00 to march in his favor- and then shortchanged them $6.00 of that. The guy is a real jerk.
Cameroonians, though, are all very interested in what is going on. In general, they are very aware that their own leader, like so many, is a result of cold war maneuverings. In the 30+ years that he has been president living standards have dropped dramatically, but not enough to make people willing to risk the violence that they know usually comes with African revolutions. I think people are invigorated and excited to see a new form of African revolution that could potentially work.
That said, Cameroon does not have the urban centers, communication structure or social cohesion to pull of an Egypt-style uprising. It will happen some other way.
But it will happen. There is an “election” in October this year that the president has changed the constitution to make himself eligible to run for. Nobody thinks it is going to go well. There will be unrest in the near future, and Cameroonians are taking careful nots on how to procede.
I didn’t see the thread, otherwise I may have contributed. Just based upon those people I have met in both Libya and Egypt, neither think of themselves as Arabs. Indeed in Egypt, to call a local an Arab could be looked upon as an insult.
I keep hearing about Nigerian businessmen having trouble getting their money out of the country and asking for help from westerners, so there must be some trouble there.
In Egypt? The home of the Arab League? The birthplace of Pan Arabism? The country that was once a part of a state called the United Arab Republic?
High level politics versus local man on the street sentiment I suspect. Not everybody, but there is none the less a resentment of the Arabs, partly because of where the money is I suspect. I spent a month working there some years ago. There is little doubt that the locals think of themselves as Egyptians, and are quite proud of that heritage. Indeed I was surprised when I realised many were closet monarchists. The local politics is very complex, much more so than we realise sitting out here in the West. Also the level of disparity between the rich, connected, elite and the vast majority of the population is breathtaking. What you hear of Egyptian politics as determined by that elite has almost no correlation with the majority view. Hence the recent fun.
The complexity of regional politics came home to me with this. Where is the final resting place of the last Shah of Iran? The man deposed by the Islamic uprising in Iran decades ago. The answer is in the Al Rifa’i Mosque in the middle of Cairo. We were given a tour by one of the local imans, and he was very proud to show us the tomb.
Define “Muslim country”. Do you mean one where the majority of population is Muslim, or one where Islam is the state religion? If the latter, then Kyrgyzstan might fit your criteria, depending on what you consider to be recent. They had riots and uprisings in 2010.
I’d speculate that a lot of support for monarchism might be opposition to the existing government which replaced monarchism. Sort of an enemy-of-my-enemy thing, “I’m against you and you’re against that, so I’m in favor of that.”
Perhaps because most people in Libya and Egypt speak Arabic, and most people in Indonesia don’t.
Undoubtedly true. However this defines a people by their language, whilst it their religion seems a greater binding force. On the other hand, both Libya and Egypt are technically secular governments, so there is possibly good reason here. I always found it odd that Gaddaffi casts himself as the “Architect of African Union” and has always clearly identified himself and his vision of Libya as African, yet Libya persists with its Arab identity.
Defining people by their language is odd. But maybe all those English speaking people living in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the USA might be happy. Let alone those us out here in the colonies.
Egypt hasn’t had a truly local government for two thousand years until recent times, but one gets the feeling that everyone still feels the heritage of the pharoahs. Despite the chaos, choking traffic, and grinding poverty, it is hard to miss the constant reminders. The political system is more like a monarchy anyway. Mubarak certainly treated things so.
Only slightly. History shows no shortage of coreligionists waging war upon each other.