It’s amazing to how the Arab Spring uprisings throughout North Africa and the Middle East are continuing to have repercussions throughout the world. The role of technology, of course, cannot be underplayed in these events – social media has been a valuable conduit and meeting place to spread this contagious notion of Democracy. And before the cynics get to the point of ‘what do you do now, once you have freedom?’ (a whole other argument), it’s thrilling to see the demands that citizens are beginning to make of their national businesses and governments.
China, and more specifically the semi-autonomous principality of Hong Kong, is now in the midst of pro-democracy fervour; raising a stout middle finger to the national powers in Beijing. The reason for this is the legislature election, and it follows weeks of protest at the government’s “plans for mandatory patriotism lessons,” according to the BBC. But the people have responded, saying “They were Communist Party propaganda and whitewashed events such as the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square and the famine under Mao Zedong…But the government said the goal was to foster a sense of national belonging.”
This is clearly a massive sea change that many nations around the globe are unable to cope with, or understand – the collective sentiments of their people. But, as we’ve seen, this also extends to the world of business and industry, with the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic products, Foxconn, buckling to global pressure over employee rights. A new era is upon us, and one can only hope that soon Russia and of course, Syria, will become unified under the will of the people. What to do with democracy once you have it is, indeed, another issue, but certain celebrations are in order for the majestic first step towards a more honest, accountable and participatory political process.