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Monday, February 28, 2011

Libya proving Twitter model won't work everyehere

Although Colonel Gaddafi is likely to fall within days (weeks at worst), it hasn't been pretty to this point, and it's not likely to be easy for Libyans even after their longtime leader is removed from power.

Nations whose armies are comprised of the same ethnicities as the majority of the populations will continue to find peaceful change more reachable than those employing foreign and single-ethnicity forces. Facebook and Twitter were key components of what Wael Ghonim has termed Egypt's Revolution 2.0, however the model may not work in all nations.

In a country like Ethiopia, where the press is tightly controlled, it will be important to begin mass protests when plenty of foreigners will be in Addis Ababa and other major Ethiopian cities. July 23rd would be an obvious date for a freedom march.

In Iran you are faced with religious ideologues, so the protesters have to equally target democracy AND a secular state, as the only means to overcome corruption. It will soon be warm enough for campouts, and then we will see how much the Persian people want freedom and democracy.

China can channel democratic energy by opening up major cities to full free and fair elections in 2012, followed by provincial elections a year or two later and culminating in open national elections by 2015.

Moves toward democracy in China need to be accompanied by respect for human rights, and for the rights of citizens to peacefully protest. Those who have ears, draw closer. a nation that fails to allow civil protest will find its jails filled with civilians, and its streets littered with criminals. And that means bye-bye to economic dreams...

Channelling the democratic forces and evolving the People's Republic into a fully democratic nation will not be easy, yet it is the more intelligent, less bloody path, and worth exploring from Day One.

In summary, rapid communication via Twitter and text services remain crucial for tactical maneuvering of protesters, but longer term strategic planning for new, evolving nations will be just as crucial in many countries.

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