Twin protests will have deep global impact

They are separated by thousands of miles, their culture, their language, their faith and their civilisation. Yet, Rio in Brazil and Istanbul in Turkey, look so similar — unified by the nature of their eruption in protest against their governments. Within a gap of about seven days people of two cities of two most emerging nations of the world burst out in anger against their governments' misplaced priorities and chilling nonchalance.

Uwe Bott in The Globalist says that the peoples' outburst in Rio and Istanbul brought to limelight the power of rising middle class in both the cities and countries. Thousands of Brazilians poured out into the streets of Rio demanding from their government more investments in public services rather than spending billions into preparations for 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Turkey came to a boil when thousands gathered at Taksim Square in their bids to prevent destruction of Gezi Park. Brazilians were incensed when the government hiked public transport fares. But that isn't the sole cause why the Brazilians erupted. In the country at least, Bott says, 45 per cent of households have no access to any sewage system, where just 10 per cent of homicides reach prosecution stage. Their list of maladies is long and outrageous.

The twin eruptions have not been sudden. But the pace with which they panned across the two nations caught the respective administrations napping. In both Brazil and Turkey the outbursts were results of a simmering anger which have been smouldering since long. Bott reiterates that the demonstrations are, in fact, the direct results of the two countries' economic success. Apparently, the theory reads incongruous but deep down there lays congruity which many observers have missed out in their analysis of the twin demonstrations.

Emergence of Turkey and Brazil as economic powers of tomorrow has empowered their middle class not only in terms of their economic status but also in terms of their expectations from their governments. This has made the rising middle class in Brazil and Turkey rather intolerant over their governments' performances. The aspirations of the growing middle class in Brazil and Turkey are now coming in direct confrontation with the capacity of the governments to deliver. 

Brazilian and Turkish outbursts are expected to have far reaching impacts on global administrations and politics. In Turkey and in Brazil the demonstrations would not lead to any regime change like what the Arab Spring achieved in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Snowballing Brazilian and Turkish protests and demonstrations are not aimed towards that. However, the governments across the world have to undertake a re-look at development which must be inclusive.

The governments, especially in democracies cannot remain smug to the plights of common people. The age of revolts even in democracies has arrived. Extravagancies like setting up shopping malls at the cost of greenery and spending billions for football World Cup and Olympics cannot be justified if plights of people are ignored and bartered to gain political mileage.


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Reader Comments

Brazilians are the latest to hit the streets. It shows that the waves of protests and demands are not just happening in the Middle East, they are spreading across other continents.

The fact is that traditions are being challenged, and members of Generation Y are becoming uncompromising in their need to be heard. Young people have realised the need to assemble to bring attention to their grievances, and social networking has done a great deal to help communicate their ideology.

The root cause of all these demonstrations is the shocking reality of increasing unemployment; and this has been conveniently overlooked by many governments.

Protests have become very common and they are justified under the concept of democracy.