So much has happened in the world recently, and unfortunately the best part when George Bush got shoes thrown at him today in Iraq (see the YouTube video below) didn’t work out so well and missed his head. Bush was his usual smug self pleased to have dodged the shoes and make a joke of it, as anyone would be who had managed to get away with all the mess he’s cause for the past 8 years without having to pay for it.
But back to the rest of the world, who will hopefully be able to forget Bush once Obama comes into power this January, it seems when the economy tumbles, as it has quite dramatically since September and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, all the other worlds problems begin to surface. Since September we’ve seen mass protests in Thailand for a Government that’s been in power since before I was living there last year in 2006 (and saw very little complaint), closer to home, especially for me because of my close Greek connections and friends living in Athens, Greece is now having some of the most violent riots in years, and today Russia was having protests against the Kremlin in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I have close friends in all these countries so I’ve been speaking with all my friends from each to make sure they’re OK and find out exactly what’s going on out there.
Where have all the problems with the Governments suddenly come from? I was in Athens in September and I didn’t hear anyone, even my very opinionated friend Dimitris, complaining about the government then, I lived in Bangkok for 7 months last year and again apart from one reporter I met who wasn’t even Thai, I never heard a complaint about the government, and Russia, while not as big as the other protests it appears, I have constantly asked very critical questions about the Kremlin to my Russian friends, and usually the Kremlin is defended very passionately by them.
The fact is these problems didn’t just appear now, they’ve been around for years, the only difference is now the economy is tumbling and people are feeling the pain of a global recession, they stop being complacent and speaking out. I can now really understand why politicians place so much priority on the economy, keep everyone content financially, and you’ll have an easy ride. It’s like the governments have been paying us off to keep us quiet while they proceed with their own agenda, knowing full well someone in a good job, with money to buy the luxuries and support their family is very unlikely to complain outside the confines of their local pub or living room.
But the flip side to this is can we blame our Governments for all the current problems? Protesting to get rid of them? Why didn’t anyone protest before the recession? I don’t think we can blame the Governments for getting us here, its our complacency that got us here. Sure, making change late is better than never, but until we play an active part in our democracies all the time, we should receive no sympathy.
I too am a culprit of complacency. Other than this blog, I’ve never got political, the most I ever have was for the Shisha ban in the UK. So why don’t we all make a new years resolution for 2009 together, to complain in both the good times and the bad so that we don’t just let everything build up and require a global event (such as the credit crunch) to bring us together.