By Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe
A 16 year old Tunisian boy Mohommad Bouazizi ended his life by self-immolation in protest of ill treatment by the local Police authorities. He was a street vendor and his wheelbarrow full of produce was ceased by officials and was beaten him in public. He was not given a chance of presenting his grievances as it was turned down by the police commissioner. His tragic death first sparked protests in his rural hometown and developed it into violence. It did not take much time to spread to Tunis Capital and other areas.
The government made all possible efforts to suppress demonstrators through security forces. Ben Ali immediately re-shuffled his cabinet and offered to create 300,000 jobs, but the demonstrators continued their protest and violence from the day of Bouazizi’s death which occurred on 17th December, 2010 until the President Ben Ali and his family boarded an Airplane to Saudi Arabia on 14th January 2011. It was a total diversion of Tunisian political arena. The said development is now popular as Tunisian “Jasmine Revolution”.
Egyptian people who had been under suppression for long by Hosni Mubarak also up rose in toeing line with Tunisian people on 25th of January and continued their protest until President Mubarak was ousted from Egyptian politics. He had groomed his two sons to be the successors of the presidency. People were annoyed with the response of Mubarak and the level of corruption that prevailed in the country and they continued their protest until Mubarak and his family were ousted from Egypt.
Now the same saga is repeated in Libya seeking to end of the long standing military rule of Col. Gaddafi. It has almost come to an end in removing Gaddafi from power. It is ironical that the revolutionists have offered U.S. Dollars 1.7 million (S.L. rupees around 180 million) to a person who apprehends and surrender Col. Gaddafi. We have heard enough stories from many parts of the world, kings and rulers have offered similar gratification if anybody apprehends hardcore criminals and bring their beheaded head.
Even Sri Lankan government one time offered such gratification to any person who gives correct information about the LTTE terrorist leader, Prabhakaran. Now that theory has turned upside down and the people are offering pecuniary gifts to men who bring the head of their King, attributing that the King/Ruler is a hardcore criminal and people are going to punishing him. Instead of the Ruler punishing people, people are punishing the Ruler.
The said cyclone at present is blowing across Syria. Nothing is wrong in predicting that their people will succeed in their endeavour.
Now it has came to India too in a different form. Anna Hazzari, a civil right activist commenced a campaign of passive resistance in a similar way as Mahathma Gandhi did to liberate India from the British Empior. There is a galore of support from general public to Hazzari to compel the Indian Government to pass an anti-corruption statute to curb corruption in the public sector. Although the Indian government tried to suppress his campaign by resorting to governmental military power, later they realised that it will end up as a chaotic and dramatic turn of events.
It was strong enough even to throw out the incumbent government. As a result the Indian government quite intelligently undertook to heed to the need of the public demand and to pass a statue to prevent corruption. Indian Constitution itself is flexible and it is amendable to suit any given situation. They have had enough experiences in gaining success over many a problems without de-stabilizing their government.
India solved a similar problem by quelling a public uprising in 2004 by passing the Right to Information Act and thereby ensuring transparency of public affairs commencing from top to bottom in the public sector. But when a similar Act was presented to our Parliament this year, members of the ruling coalition defeated it.
There are many lessons to learn from the recent events in the world.
This is not a pre-civilized era and rulers cannot suppress the dissemination of information. This is called a “High-tech era”. Therefore all possibilities remain that grooming of sons and daughters to inherit the throne can become a nightmare or a pipe dream as kings are not the owners of the country and they are only custodians. The wills of the people are indispensable when the time is ripe.
May wiser counsel prevail!