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The Forgotten Change

Revolution that could spiral out of hand


10/12/2011 Saifs Den www.saifsden.blogspot.com | www.facebook.com/saifsden

www.saifsden.blogspot.com | www.facebook.com/saifsden

The Forgotten Change

Grab the change by the scruff of its neck, or else it would grab you.

Now for a change that I used in the previous paragraph might have two meanings and they are meant for the exact purpose. The point being, a change against tyrant rulers, corrupt leaders or incapable handlers is always a change that can happen anytime and anywhere, and that's exactly what happened in Kyrgyzstan. The case of Kyrgyzstan was that the sitting President, Kurmanbek Saliyevich Bakiyev, was elected as the President winning by a huge margin in the presidential election held on 23 July 2009. However, there were numerous calls from several quarters, no less than from the main opposition candidate, Almazbek Atambayev, who later withdrew from the elections, citing fraud being used extensively, thus holding the entire election process as illegitimate. This got the backing from The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe which stated that Kurmanbek Bakiyev had an unfair advantage of superior media coverage of the campaign and vote rigging. Thus, this allowed Kurmanbek Bakiyev to win the elections by over 70% majority over his rivals. After assuming the power as the President of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev had to deal with a number of issues during the winter of 2009-10 with the country in constant rolling blackout due to power shortage. Furthermore, the prices of the energy rose during the period also. So to address the issue of power shortage, in January 2010, a delegation, headed by Kurmanbek's son, was sent to China to discuss improved economic relationship, and a contract of $342 million was signed between Kyrgyzstan national electric company Natsionalnaya electricheskaya syet and the Chinese Tebian Electric to build the Datka-Kemin power transmission line. Though the steps taken, in February, it didnt curb the rising prices of energy tariffs heating cost increased by 400% and electricity by 170%. There was also a growing frustration and agitation in Kyrgyzstan where there were numerous reports suggesting to corruption and cronyism in Kurmanbek's adminstration. Add to that, the economic situation of the country further deteriorated over the period, resulting in choatic protests in the country.

In the midst of all the changes, revolutions and upstages that the North Africa and Middle East is going through, and we being mere spectator to it, I was instantly recalled of something that took place not in much distant past. It was interesting that it happened, because not a lot do we hear from those countries that have been a part of the former Soviet Union for such a long time. The country that went through turmoil, tumultuous times in 2010 for a change was Kyrgyzstan.

During the month of April 2010, there were several protests against the governement, Kurmanbek's administration and the sluggish economy. These protests witnessed numerous clashes between the people and the police, resulting in injuries as well as deaths. With the events unfolding quickly during the month, on April 15, the President Kurmanbek Bakiyev rendered his resignation from the office and fleeing the country into exile to Belarus. As all these events unfolded in April, the opposition leaders had selected Roza Otunbayeva as the head of the interim government and later on July 3, 2010, she was sworn into the office as the acting President.
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A publication of Saifs Den | October 2011

www.saifsden.blogspot.com | www.facebook.com/saifsden

The countries that make up of the region have seen massive protests in the past couple of months, with the likes of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and many others in the regions. In fact, Tunisia and Egypt have experienced revolution on 14th January and 11th February, respectively, when the demonstrators against their respective regimes were successful in ousting their sitting presidents. Tunisia's former President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, had ruled the country for 24 years while Hosni Mubarak had been the ruler of Egypt for 32 years. The upstaging of these near-constant rulers was led due to the same reasons as it had been the case in Kyrgyzstan. Though there had been other reasons pertaining to its own country but the basic reasons had been the same that is unemployment, lack of freedom, democracy, and corruption of Presidents and of their administration.

It was interesting to happen in Kyrgyzstan, being a Muslim country, for a number of reasons as the country's head was accused of massive corruption, the economy being damp, the rising prices of energy and the relationship between Kyrgyzstan and United States, especially the presence of a US military base in the country, all resulting in frustration among the masses of the country. Thus it has been extremely intriguing to keep a track of the events taking place in North Africa and Middle East.

With such an uprising in the Muslims countries, this does beg a question to all the leaders of these countries, have they been honest to their people? More to it, have all Muslims leaders learnt their lessons well? As far as personal opinion is concerned, Kyrgyzstan's case was the best example for all the leaders to have straightened their backs and rectified their mistakes. But I am afraid, atleast the sitting Presidents of Tunisia, Egypt and, as events are taking place, Libya hadn't learnt from what happened in Kyrgyzstan. If these so-called leaders assume that the people are weak and can be ordered as they wish to have them, then they have found it to their own disadvantage the bitter reality of this world. What separates the people of this era from the past decades is that people are more informed about what's happening around the world. This era is termed as the Era of Information. So it is evident that the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt had taken over their countries about 25-30 years ago and they had safely assumed that they are ruling the same people whom they have suppressed all these years. However in the age of Internet, and in a time where a news spreads like a fire in the bushes, no matter how much the leaders try to contain the news, information and data, they can not completely shut it off from it being accessed by people. The leaders did every thing in their power to take away the rights of their own people so that they stay loyal to them, but it wasn't to be. The walls started to crack, the walls that people like Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak had created to bound their own people had started to shake, especially when a 28 year old person named Khalid Saeed was tortured to death by 2 Egyptian security officials in Egypt and the images of his badly beaten corpse had surfaced on a famous social networking website. The outcry and international attention to the issue did create a panic among the ranks of Egypt which led to the prosecution of the 2 security officials, however things had already started to change in Egypt. We talk about the change that was brought about by people, who stood up against all adversaties and fought the tyrant rulers to oust them from power. Many hundreds precious lives were lost, thousands injured during the uprising but that didnt deter the people from
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A publication of Saifs Den | October 2011

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Looking at the other side of the spectrum, we find ourselves that Tunisia and Egypt have got rid of their old regimes, but we also find the two countries in a very perilous situation, much like Kyrgyzstan. I would be lieing if I claim to know the dynamics of the two countries in question, however I can myself relate to the people of Tunisia and Egypt. But what is unfolding in these 2 countries since the daylight of change is that there have been constant disturbances in the country. On March 8, there were reports from Cairo, Egypt of tensions, with no less than thirteen deaths, as a result of sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians, where the latter were protesting for better equality. Then last week, we had reports from Tunisia that the protests haven't yet subsided because people wanted to see the back of the Prime Minister, Mohammed Ghannouchi, citing him to be a close aide of the deposed President Ben-Ali, who was the interim Prime Minister after the regime had ended in the first place. People in Egypt have yet again taken to the streets, demanding the alleged corrupt ministers to be brought to justice who under Hosni Mubarak. On the other side, the political confusion that engulfs Tunisia has also marred the euphoria that had gripped the country ever since the exodus of Ben-Ali. There have been serious issues with refugee-seekers flooding into neighbouring countries as the unrest in their countries grows, making lives difficult on either side. The two countries and its reformist are working hard to arrest control over the issues but the news and reports keep flooding about the unrest in the countries, thus, now, they have a plateful of issues to take care in the coming weeks. It has become extremely important for the reformists of the countries to make sure they don't go Kyrgyzstan path, where the interim government failed miserably to give its people for what
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Following the uprising in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 and the eventual toppling over of the government, in June 2010 with the interim government in power, the south of Kyrgyzstan had started to burn on fire due to ethnic violences between the Kyrgyz and the, fairly minor, Uzbeks. The riots that had spread to the Southern city of Kyrgyzstan, Osh from Jalal-Abad was primarily in the aftermath of the ouster of Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The voilence in the city of Osh had spread so much by June 9 that the interim government had to declare a state of emergency on June 12. The result of the clashes was that it had taken lives of more 2000 people and had displaced nearly 100,000. The experts had pointed out that the interim government wasn't efficient enough and there was a massive power struggle among the ranks of the politicians. There was several fingers-pointing and talks of possible instigator of the riots in the country between the two ethnicities but the fact remains that there was enough chaos already in Kyrgyzstan that prevented the country to establish itself from its "revolution."

It is worth mentioning here the fact that the countries who have experienced the change and revolution in their country haven't actually settled down completely. There are on and off incidences of disturbances and disruptions in the cities. I had started off by describing about the case of Kyrgyzstan and I would cite the example of it again to prove a point that such changes and revolutions once achieved, do not generally guarantee a complete calm and peace within the country.

their task. This is to prove that if people have the strenght and courage then anything is possible. On the contrary where there are good points, there are a few gray areas to be pointed out as well. First of all, 'What next?' is the important question to be asked to the people of their countries.

A publication of Saifs Den | October 2011

www.saifsden.blogspot.com | www.facebook.com/saifsden

I dare say this, it is a difficult task to stand up against rulers like Ben-Ali and Hosni Mubarak who have ruled for decades, who had formed their own external allies, who had their own secret security personnels and their own parties, who had curbed the rights of their own people but this was just the beginning of a new beginning for the people of Tunisia and Egypt, and for the rest of the people in countries like Libya, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen and Syria who are struggling for that new beginning. If they don't tread carefully in this mist of perils, then things can go horribly wrong for themselves and, as a result, for the entire world. ************

they stood and fought against Kurmanbek Bakiyev, plus the power struggle in the country resulted in unprecedented ethnical clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. The reformist along with the army of the country should join hands to first bring peace and restore law and order in the cities of the countries which understandibly had been lost during the days of uprising. Secondly, the interim governments should be put in place to take control of the proceedings as that would leave an institution to look after the country's resources for the mean time while the country's future advances into a transitional period. This transitional period, where the intellectual, political and religious scholars, army personnels and reformists sit down to form a constitution for the country where they lay down the basic structure of the politics as well as legislative requirements. From there onwards, the care-taker government should hasten the process of elections once they have selected a set of patriotic, loyal, fair and educated candidates who can run the country and then leave the outcome of the elections upto the people who fought for a pro-democracy in the country.

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A publication of Saifs Den | October 2011