Tag Archives: Arab Spring

Global freedom in retreat?

Following the collapse of communism, Francis Fukuyama famously asserted that humankind was on the threshold of “the end of history”. By this, he meant that humanity’s sociocultural evolution was poised to resolve itself in a general acceptance of the principles of Western liberal democracy as the basis of government. This he spelled out in his…

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Should revolutions have a leader?

Nelson Mandela was quoted as saying, “It is not kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people.” This came to mind as I watched what was unfolding in Burkina Faso. I watched Blaise Compaoré’s 27 year reign come to an abrupt end in the midst of a burning Parliamentary building. He…

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I must confess, I miss Thabo Mbeki

Today I found myself nostalgic for a man I had little appreciation for while he was still the president of our country. I found myself missing former president Thabo Mbeki. I was sitting at a table in Dime Todo lo que Sientes in Mexico City with a group of young idealists who, like me, have…

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Egypt needs a Mandela

The tumultuous tides of human protesters on the streets, bridges and squares of Cairo and Istanbul, speak of frustration with the world as it is and a yearning for a better life. A clear and precise vision of that better life as articulated in the Freedom Charter by our visionary Nelson Mandela is what contributed…

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Unemployment fuels social unrest

Jobs influence who we are and our relations with others. In most societies, jobs are a fundamental source of self-respect and social identity. Jobs also connect people with others through networks. The workplace can be a place to encounter new ideas and information and to interact with people of different cultures and ethnicities. The distribution…

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Have jihadists crossed the Rubicon in Mali?

A maxim of President Francois Hollande’s election campaign was to reduce France’s overseas interventionist activities. Since the 1960s France has intervened militarily on nearly 50 occasions, mainly to evacuate foreigners as it did in 1990 and 1991 in Gabon and Zaire and in 1994 in Rwanda. Until 2011 France continued to act as the ”policeman”…

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Have we forgotten Mohamed Bouazizi?

Two years ago last Friday, a young man from Tunisia named Mohamed Bouazizi died of burn wounds after literally igniting what the world has come to know as the Arab Spring. Bouazizi, a fruit and vegetable vendor immolated himself after suffering humiliation at the hands of a police officer who confiscated his goods, ostensibly because…

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Sharia law, nemesis of justice

While in transit at Abu Dhabi International Airport recently world-renowned Professor Cyril Karabus from Cape Town was arrested and jailed over a child’s death that occurred 12 years ago. Although his trail is due to take place on November 20 his lawyers have not had access to the medical files and there is good reason…

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Syria a geopolitical minefield

Emerging from the widely hailed Arab Spring revolutions is a new threat to world stability and security. The very breadth of the scale of the uprising, stretching across the whole of North Africa and into the Middle East, has ramifications well beyond the region. Traditional world powers like Russia and the US have suffered a…

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When the prophet became a political tactic

Nearly two years after the uprisings that started in Tunisia and swept across the Arab world, toppling the long-entrenched dictators of Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Egypt, another wave of protests is now sweeping across the Muslim world, this time over an amateur film that maligns the Prophet Muhammad. The initial uprisings were hailed as an…

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