For the past few days protests over the controversial video mocking the Prophet Muhammad have been the reoccurring headlines of world news. The NY Times reports that over 20 countries now have seen uprisings, demonstrating the widespread regional contempt for the film. And it hasn’t been only Anti-American sentiment. German and British embassies in Khartoum, Sudan were also attacked, suggesting these protests are directed more at a broader audience.
World on Safari points to several causes for the common use of protests as a means of expressing discontent. Due to relatively large fertility rates and population growth, many countries in the Middle East and North Africa are now experiencing an enormous younger generation reaching adulthood. The workforce in their home countries is not necessarily prepared for them, leaving many young adults jobless and lacking a higher education. Many have also started harboring resentment for more developed countries the media often portrays as wealthy, ignorant, and religiously contrasting. In addition, protests in these regions have in recent history proven to lead to change, and thus seem a legitimate option for angry citizens. It was widespread protests that led to many of these countries transitioning away from authoritarian regimes. Even so, these governments still do not command a sense of total control, as evident here. “The state has lost a lot of its capacity to govern effectively,” said Mr. Rob Malley, a program director at the International Crisis Group, in reference to Egypt and Tunisia in this article.
Here’s the article.
Afghanistan shut-off access to YouTube after reports came in of the attacks to the US embassy in Libya that left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and several other Americans dead. Hopefully we have seen the peak of the violence, and that the flustered civilians in these nations realize the film does not represent the vast majority of Western opinions.