Bersih 2.0 and lessons learned from history

Dennis G. Kloeth, Jakarta | Mon, 07/18/2011 8:00 AM

If history is anything to go by, then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak better understand that the riots of Saturday, July 9, were merely ringing the bell for the final round of a fight in Malaysia between “rulers” and the “common people”. After decades of political suppression, the latter clearly aim at putting an end to a 54-year grip on power by the country’s ruling party.

The start of democratization or the “Asian Spring”, in all of Asia, perhaps, may be a foregone conclusion, but for governments such as the ones of Malaysia, Myanmar and China (to name just a few), history may well be their best teacher and advisor. Over the past 60 years, “people movements” around the world have proven to be an unbeatable force.

Going down the road of history, one could see that, in the 1960s, European students were setting up democratic movements. They were clearly dissatisfied with the world they inherited from their parents and in a bid to have “a say” in the way (their) universities were run and in support of the urban poor, in May 1968, they took to the streets.

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July 9th 2011 is a new day forward
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