Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Things are happening all over the world - 2

Tunisia issued an international warrant "for ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and six relatives, accusing him of taking money out of the North African nation illegally". I expect he did, too.

Mind you, freedom is not precisely blossoming under the new regime:
As [Justice Minister] Chebbi spoke, Tunisian police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters who have been pressuring the interim government to get rid of old guard ministers who served under Ben Ali. The clashes broke out in front of the prime minister's office in Tunis, the capital. Some demonstrators responded by throwing stones at police.

Several injured protesters were carted away from the melee. Others tried to smash the windows of a police van, leaving the ground covered in blood. There was no immediate word on casualties.
It's always easier to overthrow an old regime than to build a new one, as the Russians found in 1917. Let us hope that the Tunisian experience will not be as horrific as the Russian was.

Meanwhile, protests are going on in Egypt. Secretary of State Clinton is urging restraint all round, the avoidance of violence (too late for that, I should have thought) and political reform. Understandably, the riots have affected stock prices and are expected to affect foreign investment in the country. Will they affect the stupendous amount of aid Egypt receives from the West? Hard to tell.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian government is trying to crack down on the remaining protests and blocking social media such as twitter, whose only use, as far as I can tell, is to aid protesters and demonstrators in highly authoritarian countries.

There have been rumours that President Mubarak's family, possibly accompanied by him, have fled the country to Britain but this has now been denied.

Let us note something interesting about the protesters in both countries: none of them seem to care about or even remember the Palestinians. As has been noted before, that particular myth is being exploded (if one may use that expression).

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