It’s all become clear now. Thanks Egypt. Thanks Libya. Thanks Tunisia.
While we idled round London for a couple of days in the winter the rest of the world decided to get off its arse and really fucking go for it when it had a grievance. Tahrir Square was especially fantastic:
Crowd: “Fuck off Mubarak!”
Crowd: “Fuck off Mubarak!”
Much larger crowd: “FUCK OFF MUBARAK.”
Mubarak: “If I fuck off will you lot please go home?”
Mubarak: “Fine. Sure. Whatever, just leave me alone now.”
New Government: “Rejoice, Mubarak is gone! You can return to your homes happily.”
Crowd: “No. Fuck off New Government”
New Government: “Oh for the love of…”
Genuine, grade A protesting from the Egyptians there: get what you want and then keep refusing to do anything. Soon the interim government will get so desperate they’ll give in to all kinds of demands, at which point I really hope the public start taking the piss and anoint a blind, flatulent camel as supreme ruler, with policy decisions to be based on the tone and frequency of said flatulence. Hey, everyone has dreams.
The Libyans seem to be taking an altogether riskier route, because although the Egyptians came up against the military, at no point did that military start firing wildly and indiscriminately into the crowd, a situation which the UN is now mildly describing as ‘escalating’. Which is like calling World War 2 ‘a bit of fisticuffs’. Bless the UN, the international equivalent of the korma. Mild. Bland. Pointless.
What this all amounts to though is some serious people power, and it’s becoming increasingly patronising that the west looks on approvingly, like a proud parent watching their child start to walk. The reality is, far from following in our wise white footsteps, people all over the world, who we are quick to judge as poor, or ill-educated, or backwards, are giving us a valuable lesson in how to do democracy.
**WARNING**wild left wing rant alert**WARNING**
In the UK, we have a government which the majority of Britons did not vote for, who have no constitutional requirement to uphold the will of the people, and who have effective free rein to implement policies which, while not actually breaking people’s legs, will cripple millions of citizens from birth and never give a substantial chunk of society a chance in life. Yet we condescendingly applaud when people we deem below us stand up and fight against oppression, all the while bending over to take what our elected dictators give us. We should be out on the streets shouting our grievances from the rooftops, refusing to quit until we are heard. In this country, we only protest once the battle is lost, and by then it’s too late and we give up almost immediately. So we shouldn’t clap and cheer while other people lay down their lives for causes they believe in, we should learn from their actions and take the fight to our own governments.
Unfortunately, we’re far too British and far too lazy to ever replicate these kind of uprisings. Today I nearly didn’t go into a shop to buy some rather essential loo roll because I had a Kit Kat in my pocket and didn’t want there to be an awkward ‘scene’ where accusations of treat larceny were bandied around. Our mortal fear of confrontation, aka embarrassment, means we’ll never have the gumption to step up and tell our officials that we won’t be taken for fools. For example, I’m currently sitting on my bed with a laptop and a lovely cookie while education becomes unaffordable for our children, our health service gets sold to the highest bidder and our social support mechanisms are systematically destroyed. The closest I’ll get to radical protest is a strongly worded letter, maybe a witty riposte.
Fuck it, it’ll probably work itself out.