“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The path from dictatorship to democracy

The Jerusalem Post, by GIORA ELIRAZ , 07/10/2011

Indonesia has asked in recent years to be more involved in Middle Eastern affairs by playing the role of mediator and peacemaker.

A new factor has been inserted into the equation of political reform in Egypt: a dialogue between Egypt and Indonesia on promoting democracy. This move was triggered by Egypt’s request for Indonesian assistance in organizing the coming elections, and establishing regulations related to political parties.

This request by Egypt, the Arab and Muslim world’s center of gravity, is not obvious. There have been hopes inside Indonesia and outside (in the US in particular) that the Asian country’s democracy would serve as a model for reforms in the Muslim world, mainly in the Middle East.

Indonesia has also asked in recent years to be more involved in Middle Eastern affairs by playing the role of mediator and peacemaker. It has sustained such aspirations by having a model that combines Islam, democracy, pluralism, tolerance and modernity.

But some observers were skeptical about the prospects of such hopes, as many Arabs hold a patronizing view of Indonesian Muslims and display a critical attitude toward the nature of Islam there. 

There are grounds to wonder why Egypt addressed Indonesia and not its regional neighbor, Turkey. After all, the Turkish model of compatibility between Islam and democracy has been going on for longer, and Egypt has much more in common with Turkey than with Indonesia.

However it makes sense that Egypt prefers to address a Muslim country located far beyond the horizon of Middle Easterners, rather than Turkey, its competitor for regional hegemony.

Possible Egyptian sensitivities may also partly explain why it officially, in contrast to Indonesia, doesn’t give explicit publicity to the two countries’ democracy-advancing cooperation.

Indonesia seems to fully understand such sensitivities, as well as the fact that in the centuries-old Islamic interaction between Egypt and the archipelago, knowledge and ideas have been transferred in one direction only, from the former to the latter.

Referring to the Egyptian request, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa stressed that his country should assist the Egyptians wisely lest it seem as though the Indonesians were preaching to them.

But the main reason for Egypt’s addressing Indonesia seems to be an understanding that the latter has succeeded in solving its 1998 political crisis in the wake of the Suharto regime’s downfall. The Egyptians also seem to be aware of the high relevancy of the Indonesian case. Amazing similarities exist between Egypt’s current circumstances and those of Indonesia in the late 1990s and early 2000s. To mention just a few of them: Two countries with a dominant Sunni majority experienced a massive democratic protest, mainly by the middle class, against an authoritarian regime headed by an ex-general who had ruled for about three decades. In both cases, the ruler eventually lost the crucial support of the army.

The preliminary years of the post-Suharto era were marked by deep political turmoil that included manifestations of religious extremism and violence, sectarian conflicts, awakening separatist aspirations, the growing voice of radical Islam, increasing religious militancy and threats of terror.

Many observers watched gloomily, fearing that the just-born democracy was liable to crash soon. It was only in 2004, after the second parliamentary elections and first direct presidential elections, and after Indonesia had surmounted many obstacles, that observers started to believe the Indonesians were displaying the attributes of a consolidated democracy.

Hence it is no wonder that the Egyptians dig into the Indonesian case. Last May, a workshop initiated by the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD) took place in Jakarta under the title “Egypt-Indonesia Dialogue on Democratic Transition.”

Indonesia established the IPD in 2008 to support the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF), which it had established in the same year for promoting democracy in Asia. This initiative has been carried out in cooperation with Australia and was praised by the US. Officials from some Arab countries were invited to the meetings of this forum even before the Arab Spring.

Both men and women participated in the May workshop, among them political leaders, democracy activists, academics and representatives from NGOs and the media.

The workshop addressed the following main issues: the role of the military in the transition, and its place in a democratic society; constitutional and political reform; election laws and management; the role of political parties and civil society in building a representative democracy; Islam, politics and the state; the role of the media in consolidating democracy; and ensuring the full participation of women in the political process.

The IPD intends to hold a second workshop in Cairo that will involve a wider range of Egyptian participants and bring Indonesians into closer contact with the current debates in Egypt. It should be noted that certain Egyptian academics and activists have already been exposed to Indonesia’s democracy in recent years, through conferences and seminars. During the Mubarak era, Egyptian journalists and op-ed writers in opposition newspapers even made pointed references to Indonesia’s transition to democracy.

This process, in the home of the largest Muslim community in the world, provided hope for political change and evidence of the compatibility of Islam and democracy (see Giora Eliraz, “Democracy in Indonesia and Middle East countries,” The Jakarta Post, November 30, 2007, and “Will Indonesia’s breeze of democracy reach here?” The Jerusalem Post, April 5, 2008).

It’s likely that when Egypt first asked Indonesia for help, it was already well aware of the latter’s lessons for building democracy. The Indonesian model has so far frustrated Islamic political parties hoping to achieve a leading position in the post-Suharto era. The voters have actually proved, through fair democratic elections, their loyalty to a basic Indonesian state principle of separation between state and religion.

The democratic reforms also considerably decreased the involvement of the army. Even gender equality has manifested by having, with a woman, Megawati Sukarnoputri, becoming president. Indonesia’s democracy has been effective in fighting terror as well.

It's likely that the Egyptians are now also more familiar with some shortcomings that Indonesia’s democracy still has, and are thus more conscious of the fact that some significant elements that have contributed to that democracy’s success are missing in their own political context – in particular a strong, organized, moderate Muslim civil society committed to democratic values. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that the ongoing dialogue strengthens the understanding of the Egyptians that the successful Indonesian case is indeed relevant for a country trying to take its first steps into democracy.

The writer is the author of Islam in Indonesia: Modernism, Radicalism and the Middle East Dimension. (Brighton & Portland: Sussex Academic Press, 2004) and of the monograph Islam and Polity in Indonesia: An Intriguing Case Study (Washington: Hudson Institute, February 2007). He is Associate Researcher at the Harry S Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (right) strikes a gong to open the
ministerial meeting of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) in Nusa Dua, Bali,
witnessed by UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss (third left),
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (second left) and Bali Governor Made
Mangku Pastika (left). The meeting, which began on May 23, will last until
May 27. (JP/Stanny Angga)

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