Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Viva la revolucion


The past two months the world has seen revolts against oppressors spread like wildfire throughout Arab and Middle Eastern countries. Millions of people have taken a stand, protesting and taking their efforts to the streets, fighting for their freedom.

It all began in December with the revolution in Tunisia, tossing out former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, ending his 23 year reign. The Tunisian revolt was sparked by limited freedom of speech, widespread unemployment and political corruption. Following in Tunisia’s footsteps were the people of Egypt. On Jan. 25 Egyptian protestors took to the streets of Cairo in an effort to dismantle Hosni Mubarak’s regime. After an 18-day protest that tallied at least 365 reported deaths and injuring thousands, the people of Egypt finally managed to run Mubarak out of office, ending his 30-year presidency. These two historic feats created a domino effect in several other nations, sparking revolutions throughout the Middle East. “With [the] Egyptians revolting and getting their freedom it’s only going to lead to more movements, it all starts with one person, one movement to the next one,” Victor Rodriguez, a University of Massachusetts undergraduate student, said.

Along with those two revolutions, there have also been revolts in Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, Mauritania, Pakistan and Libya.

On the home front we have had access to live coverage of these revolts. We have even had students here on campus taking action is support of the Middle East’s fight for freedom. On Feb. 5, students and faculty from the Five Colleges came together to march in solidarity and support of the Egyptian protestors. As revolts such as the one in Libya still rage on, UMass students are expressing their thoughts on what these revolutions mean for the world. UMass undergraduate student Sam Kmail said “It was like 160 or something countries that have achieved democracy so far versus the 8 or 9 that had democracy in the 1920’s so I feel like people are actually gaining faith into taking control of their future rather than having dictatorship kind of governments taking over.”

As we all know a democracy is a form of government that runs on the consent of the governed.

The people going against these oppressive regimes show the influence democracy is having worldwide. UMass Student Bridges member Shane Coleman said “I think it really means that we are changing who dictates the rights worldwide.”

The revolts show an inevitable shift in power, one where if the people are not happy then there will be unrest.

The power of dictatorship-like regimes and that of oppressive governments seem to be on the brink of total annihilation in the midst of the snowballing revolts. The battle to shift control of unalienable human rights from dictators to the people does not come without sacrifices. The people feel so strongly about obtaining their rights that they risk their lives. Currently in Libya, the death toll in the city of Benghazi has reached 104. In Bahrain, protestors were attacked during the night by riot police during a sit-in, four people were killed and 231 were injured. In Yemen, both sides, protestors and anti-protestors, have been reported to have been firing weapons, but there have no deaths reported yet.

It is evident that worldwide, oppressed people are demanding their human rights. Politicians in America have urged the leaders of countries that are rebelling to step down or to change the way they treat the people. Here in the United States we have our own history of revolting with our historical victory in the American Revolution. The snowball effect of erupting revolutions has even reached the strict regime of China: “Authorities detained activists, increased the number of police on the streets and censored online calls to stage protests in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities. Citizens were urged to shout “‘We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness,’” reported the British newspaper The Guardian.

No matter how much show of force oppressive governments may show, it appears today that the will of the people will triumph at all costs. As Abel Ortiz, another UMass undergraduate student said, “Worldwide it really shows people taking power into their own hands; it’s been shown before with the American Revolution. All these revolutions show how much power we have as people when we are united.”

United we stand means more today than it ever has before, and on a global scale.

Curtis Bloomfield is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].

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  • C

    CurtisMar 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I would rather you pay attention to the point I was trying to make. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Just a minor mistake that will be addressed in the future. I appreciate the feedback.

  • M

    muad'dibMar 6, 2011 at 12:50 am

    “As we all know a democracy is a form of government that runs on the consent of the governed.”

    Yes, we really do all know that. You don’t actually need to tell us.

  • A

    ArafatMar 3, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    The only way for the people of the Middle East (all of Islam for that matter) to experience true democracy is to free themselves from the shackles of Islam.
    Islam and democracy are incompatible and anyone who says Indonesia is an example they are simply showing just how dire Islamic democracies are.
    Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Mauritania, Niger, Algeria, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kirgizstan, etc…
    Name one country from this or any list of Islamic dominated countries where one can freely criticize Islam, convert from Islam, proselytize for any other religion, draw pictures of Mohammed, criticize Saudi Arabia, openly practice homosexuality or Judaism, be a free woman with all this implies.
    So please don’t blame Egypt’s problems on America. I would bet money that if America could foster true democracy in any Muslim country it would, just as it fostered freedoms and democracy in Germany and Japan after WWII.
    Quit blaming their problems on anyone but them and their backwards-looking religion.
    Finally, let me say, Mohammed was Islam’s first political leader. He refused to acknowledge a separation of mosque and state as Jesus did (Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s…). Mohammed was a theocratic despot who killed, raped, enslaved and pillaged his way to power and wealth.
    This is who Muslims look to for direction, no? Not to America, but to Mohammed and therein lies the tale of the tape.