20 March 2011

Revolution and Change in 2011

2011 would appear to be the year in which the world turned and changed. Well that is what I hoped, but now I am not so sure. It started with the Arab revolution in Tunisia. The thought that a peaceful revolution in Tunisia would lead to a domino effect throughout the Middle East was a heady thought indeed. We should remember that there is no Middle East Islamic country that has ever been a democracy at any time since history began. To be a democracy takes time. We took well over 400 years in Europe and had numerous wars as well as two World Wars in our process of evolution to a peaceful democracy. In the USA they had a very bloody civil war. The birth pangs of such evolution in Arabia is clearly evident now in Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain.  Egypt has gone to the polls to decide on changes to the constitution. I fear this may be too soon. I would prefer it for Egypt to wait before having full democratic party elections. They need time to establish proper political parties with full political programmes, or else there is no choice between the Muslim Brotherhood and yet another despot. In Libya it seems to me they are spiralling into a civil war the outcome of which is uncertain, despite the UN's rather late intervention and establishment of a no fly zone. Libya is different from Tunisia and Egypt in that their society is not a Facebook and Twitter society. Few in the country have access to the Internet so they have no real means of getting unbiased news. They are subject to  Gaddafi, propaganda, hence the pictures of pro Gaddafi demonstrations. I watch what now develops with baited breath.

The earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan was the other occasion when I thought the world would now change. Changes may come about, but as I listen to the various debates on the BBC I am not encouraged by it. If you have been following my rambling thoughts over these last few days you will be aware that I am becoming an anti nuclear energy supporter. However, I note with horror that Germany is building a nuclear reactor in an earthquake zone in Brazil and is heavily involved in  a controversial huge nuclear reactor, in Finland. 

The arguments used by the pro lobby is that Europe does not lie on a tectonic plate and the last tsunami to hit Britain was in the 17th century. Nuclear power is a safe and cheap way of producing large amounts of electricty. They need now only say, "it couldn't happen here!" 

For me these arguments are not the point any more. It is the human element in the nuclear reactor I fear most. Chernobyl was caused by human error. In Fukushima, I raise my hat to the men doing what they can and sacrificing  there own health to stop a melt down, but I worry about whether or not human error has not caused much of what we are now witnessing. These errors will occur again and then as we have seen they cannot be erased, or plastered over, they have repercussions. These repercussion last for thousands of years and reach  well beyond the pale.

I pray that in Europe at least we have a new peaceful anti nuclear revolution and that the common man is heard above the wealthy nuclear power lobby.