Inte bara Egypten och Tunisien

These revolts aren’t peculiar to Muslims – they’re about young people having no hope

While Egypt's disturbances have made front page news the world over, Serbia's huge anti-government protests have gained far less media attention. And the Serbs aren't the only Europeans who are taking to the streets to express their disapproval of their leaders.

In neighbouring Albania, 20,000 demonstrators took part in anti-government protests in Tirana last month (above), during which four civilians were shot dead, and 17 policemen injured. Large anti-government demonstrations were again held in Tirana and other Albanian cities on Friday.

On January 28, in the Turkish-half of Nicosia in northern Cyprus, around 40,000 people gathered to protest against their government: a general strike was also held.

Many commentators have portrayed the revolts against the ruling regimes in Tunisia and Egypt as something peculiar to the Arab world. It's all to do with Islamists trying to take control, or about the ‘Arab world's 1989', we're told.

In fact, they're part of a global phenomenon. What is fuelling the anti-government protests in the Middle East, in Serbia, Albania and Turkish Cyprus are economic factors. People are taking to the streets, not because they are Islamists, far-leftists, or far-rightists, but principally because they want a life. They want jobs and a decent standard of living.

It's revealing to look at the unemployment figures - and in particular the youth unemployment figures - in the countries where the disturbances are occurring.

It's revealing to look at the unemployment figures - and in particular the youth unemployment figures - in the countries where the disturbances are occurring.

• Youth unemployment in Tunisia doubled in the period 1996/7 to 2006/7 and is estimated to be around 30 per cent, with the country's official overall rate of unemployment is 14 per cent.

• In Egypt, people under 30 make up for 90 per cent of the 9.4 per cent officially unemployed - though most analysts believe the real rate to be much higher.

• In Serbia, overall unemployment is almost 20 per cent, with youth unemployment a staggering 50 per cent.

• In Albania, unemployment is around 14 per cent, with around 50 per cent of young people unemployed.

• In Turkish Cyprus, 12 per cent are unemployed with 31.4 per cent of young people without a job.

The street protests in these countries illustrate a growing discontent, particularly among the young, with the neo-liberal model of globalisation and rising anger against corrupt and out-of-touch political elites who seem not to care about their predicament

As the economic pressure on ordinary people intensifies, could what happened in Tunisia - the overthrowing of an unpopular government by angry citizens who have simply had enough - happen in Europe?

It's not just the governments in Belgrade and Tirana who ought to be concerned. In Greece, with more IMF/EU induced austerity on the way, the situation could flare up again at any time. Romania is another country to keep your eyes on: last year the country saw its largest anti-government demonstrations since the fall of Ceausescu in 1989, with 50,000 taking to the streets in opposition to the government's austerity measures.

Up to now, the years 1848 and 1917 are the ones most associated with revolution. Judging by the way it's going so far, 2011 could end up surpassing them all.

Här faller världen ihop runt omkring de europeiska ledarna och allt de klarar av att tänka på är nonsens om budgetbalans och att rädda sin älskade artificiella fiktion den europeiska fiat-valutan som de konstruerat så illa att det som kritikerna sa inte skulle hålla mycket mer än 10 år.

Hur bortkopplade från verkligheten kan politiker bli i EU systemet.

Det är så pass illa att en politisk clown som Nigel Farage låter som en av de mer ”förnuftiga”.


Björn Nilsson sa...

Haha, han fick in en smocka på belgarna den där engelske sluggern. Undrar om de fixat till en regering ännu? Belgien är en ganska konstig stat om man säger så.

På något sätt känns inte "Europa" som särskilt relevant i världsmåttstock just nu. De viktiga sakerna verkar ske på annat håll. Cypern - det var en nyhet för mig.

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