By Gitanjali Maria:
A new beginning demands changes and new options. The year 2011 has indeed started with voices being raised for change; change for betterment. These voices demand freedom and choices, better life and transparent systems.
The cries of democracy that rings loud in the streets of Egypt as hundreds of people from diverse backgrounds join together to demand democracy and the liberal views being aired is a signature of how vital rights of humans are. The current Egyptian uprising for democracy and better living conditions and freedom from dictator-style rulers brings to focus the basic human instinct to remain a free animal. The ongoing Egyptian protest is one of the biggest protests in recent years for democracy. Before the streets of Cairo and the Tahrir square burned with rage and frustration, similar protests rocked the Arab nation of Tunisia too when hundreds rampaged the streets to demand the ouster of the autocratic authority.
It has always been man’s instinct to remain a free animal with little restriction on his/her choices and freedom of speech and expression. Many years ago our nation too rose in unity to protest the unjust and unfair rule of the British on our land. We were fortunate that our years long struggle was blessed with independence and a democratic style of government. Egypt, a country with which India has had relations since ancient times, was a supporter and contemporary in our struggle for freedom. While they achieved independence in 1922, nearly three decades before India, autocratic governments soon curtailed the freedom they had wrested. The pent up frustration and rage of the 79 million people is what we see on the streets today.
World-round, these protests have shaken other nations too where such autocratic governments dictate their will on the masses. The Chinese have imposed restrictions on channels of communication to curtail flow of news and information about the protests and to prevent such uprising in their land too. The Jordanians, Syrians and Iranians too have been inspired by the spirit of the Egyptians and the Tunisians to revolt against their corrupt and undemocratic governments. Restrictions on communication channels and other media of free expression exist in these nations too.
The underlining point of all such protests and uprising is man’s wish to be treated with dignity and to have sound living conditions and these desires or rights cannot be suppressed for long periods. Corrupt governments, police brutality, stagnant economies and drain of the country’s wealth will not be tolerated by citizens for long. Every nation that curbs the freedom of its individuals will one day have to be accountable for the atrocities committed and the freedom snatched. It is only free thinking individuals that can take a nation on the road to economic prosperity and social and political stability.
After the Jasmine (revolution) blooming, it is time for the ‘Lotus’ to bloom and for the days of the rage to be successfully transformed to days of tranquility and progress. Governments and people around the whole wait with bated breath to see how Egypt and Egyptians resolve their differences and start a new beginning. And so do people in other nations, where rights are curtailed and communication channels monitored, look forward to their own days of triumph; for no man or nation can live in the shadow of unwarranted restrictions for decades together. The Sun has to rise some day.
Image: Nasser Nouri