Sunday, February 13, 2011

Of Winds of Change, Domino Effects and Irrepressible People Power

"....Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
in the wind of change..."
'Wind of Change' - The Scorpions

Almost twenty years ago, the 1990 power ballad by the German hard-rock group The Scorpions 'Wind of Change' hit the charts worldwide. Perhaps  its  the whistle prelude coupled with the guitar intro that still makes this song so popular but its powerful lyrics celebrate the political changes that had swept rapidly across Eastern Europe leading to the collapse of the Communist bloc in the very early '90s. Although it was probably inevitable, the eventual decimation of the Eastern bloc started with irrepressible people-inspired revolutions that spread rapidly like wildfire across Eastern and Central Europe from Poland, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia to Romania. The final nail in the coffin for the  Communist bloc was the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991. In the  end, it was NOT Western capitalism, Western democracy or James Bond that won the Cold War but irrepressible people power. 
Yes James; part of me always thought 007 would win the Cold War!
Twenty years on, similar people-inspired revolutions are sweeping across the Middle East/North Africa. The world witnessed in amazement how events of December 2010 in Tunisia led to the toppling of the once-strong Zine El Abidine Ben Ali regime. Could anyone have predicted that a domino effect would lead to protests in other countries within the region? A year ago, could anyone fathom that irrepressible people power would result in the resignation of one of the stalwarts of Middle-Eastern politics over the past 30 years, Hosni Mubarak? 
Former President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak. I still find it bewildering to be typing "former"
Although Egypt's immediate future is fraught with uncertainties and the stability of the region hangs in the balance, for the moment there is jubilation and celebration. It is becoming apparent that a strong wind of change is blowing across the Middle East/North Africa, the entire African continent and perhaps the world. Suddenly, the possibilities of people power are becoming endless.

As the list of African-leaders-still-in-power-when-I-was-in primary-school becomes shorter, one wonders where the next point of call for the wind of change is:
  • Libya?
  • Equatorial Guinea?
  • Zimbabwe?

One thing is for certain, autocratic leaders and dictators across the globe should be quivering in their boots. The people they take for granted and govern with impunity are growing weary of accepting the status quo. They are now facing forward towards a future filled with liberty, peace and democracy.

"...The wind of change
Blows straight into the face of time
Like a stormwind that will ring the freedom bell
For peace of mind...."
'Wind of Change' - The Scorpions


novisi said...

omg! that's my sonnnggggggggg!!!
love love love that song by the scorpions. This song was very influential in making me think and to start writing. oh i love it!
it's a transformational song and just fits the magic of the moment! i believe i should be a part of a world where my fellow humans behave with reason towards their fellows or else i'd not commit to be a part of society! i'm that unpatriotic! i wish the Egyptians well. more of that!!! Morocco should follow. down with the chieftian system which is nothing but inhuman!!!

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Interesting post. What motivates all these revolutions is deteriorating economic conditions. That's key. Like the French Revolution which started with increase prices of bread, most of these people-revolution is a direct reaction to such conditions. Monitoring the airwaves I hardly hear newsmakers mentioning Libya and Zimbabwe. In fact Libya was at first tipped to be next but the fervour of including them has declined.

I believe it would more likely move into the Middle Eastern countries. Besides, revolutions require die-hard participants. Would Congo-Brazzaville stand up to Sasso Nguesso, or Equatorial Guinea to Obiang Nguema? It's hard to say but then let's savour the change.

And then the role of the US... they care not about what goes on in certain countries if the current bootlicking presidents serve their needs. But then if we have the right conditions, like Egypt, we can all say to hell with their wishes.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Novisi: Great to hear you feel that way about the song. Love it too. What happens after any seemingly fairytale revolution is the question. Will there be an equally fairytale ending or will bleak, harsh reality quickly set in? As for dismantling all institutions that lead to inequality...that is another complex question..

Abena Serwaa said...

@NFA: Interesting how within one week, all predictions are out the window! Rumblings in Libya are underway and there is a sad death toll of 84 to go with that. It appears the people revolution in Africa is here to stay. What I found interesting about the Egyptian "revolution" was how the middle class elite played a vital role in participating in the protests. Indeed economic hardships fermented protests but it was the desire to be free of the dictatorial system that appeared to have been overwhelming.