Thursday, February 3, 2011

Democracy in Egypt, mining in Romblon

Blame it to the Tunisians.
After coming out to the streets to protest and in the process toppling their government from power, the Tunisians inspired the Egyptians who, in droves, came out from their homes to the streets of Cairo to demand—and I say many oppressed peoples in the world also demand—what the Tunisians had just gotten through a peaceful revolution: democracy.

There are only two possible scenarios that might come out of the turmoil in Egypt.

One is the possible departure of President Hosni Mubarak which many hope would be peaceful and orderly. Mubarak may give in to the pressure of the people and give way to a democratic transition.

The other is Mubarak may just cling on to power and order the Egyptian army to crush the peaceful revolt. If he does, then the protests may turn bloody. This other scenario will have long-lasting implication not only to Egypt, but also to the Middle East, to the US which is a long-time patron of Mubarak, and to the rest of the world. It may spark a world-wide socio-economic, political, and security crisis.

Already, as I write this, 160 people have died from the protest; Egypt-linked stocks in various Middle East financial markets have taken a beating; anti-Mubarak protests in many world capitals are taking place; US President Barack Obama is stepping up pressure on Mubarak to take more reforms; and the Egyptian army has gone out from the barracks, replacing the police, in a show of force and support for the Egyptian leader. It’s a social convulsion unheard of in any Mideast capital for quite a long time.

A New York Times article recently posited that the ‘people power’ protests in Tunisia and now, Egypt, are not ideologically-motivated. The protests, the article said, are not fueled by any desire to promote, say, further Islamicization, or Western political culture. The protesters, the article said, are calling not just for political reforms but a stop to graft and corruption, for more jobs and economic rights, and respect for human rights and dignity. These are universal human values.

The same thing can be said for Romblon. Here, in this hapless province of ours, the people are demanding access to more economic opportunities, more jobs, affordable health care, efficient government, and responsible—not corrupt—politicians who, very unfortunately, there are very few.

Romblomanons are also calling for a stop to the senseless attempts to mine the province.

Of course, many of our politicians, including our representative to the House and his cohorts led by the resurrected Sam Romero, now a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, are miner lovers.

Many mayors, too, and a lot more barangay captains (may lightning hit them to depopulate Romblon of ignorant and unimaginative politicians) are salivating over the prospect of mining money. These guys, elected by the people for no reason at all except that they were so ‘promising’, want to empty the bowels of Romblon of its mineral wealth, using as guise economic progress to mask their insatiable thirst and greed for money and power.

So, why haven’t Romblomanons gone out to the streets to protest against these social and economic afflictions that our politicians are inflicting on them?

Why haven’t the Romblomanons who have no jobs; who die without seeing a doctor; who go to school with empty stomachs and therefore can’t continue to college, even to high school; who have no access to potable water and electricity; and who continue to be hoodwinked by the very leaders who bribed them to get elected, gone out like the Tunisians and the Egyptians to demand their leaders’ resignation, or even suicide, so that change and reform can finally take place?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answer.

If you have, e-mail me at or text me at 0917 623 8842 and let me see your thoughts. What you will say may solve the puzzle. Go.

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