The editor of Open Democracy, the UK political website, pointed out a crucial point the other day: “Over the past month, the list of countries engulfed by mass protests has grown ever longer – Chile, Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Haiti, Hong Kong and Spain, to name a few. There’s a temptation to draw connections. Each unfolding event has its own complex local dynamics.”
As Mary Fitzgerald says, while many of the protests have been sparked by the governments’ failure to meet basic needs, that’s not the whole story.
Indeed, the backstory is long and fairly involved. In Algeria, for instance, demonstrations are now into their 38th consecutive week. The Chilean protests are rooted in something that goes much beyond the 30-peso rise in the price of a metro ticket. As for protests in Haiti, I can attest from having lived and worked there, they are unfortunately a constant. Haiti’s people suffer from the effects of mis-governance, corruption and callousness.