The Egyptian people have proved a point that I have been trying to make for a while now. It has been proved time after time down through history that true power lies in the hands of the people, and when the people mobilise in mass, in peaceful and co-ordinated protest against something there is only so long that any organisation, establishment, regime or government can stand up to the protest of the people.
Royalty have been stripped of their throne, military leaders deposed, countries leaders over thrown, and world opinion changed through the continued pressure of people power. Slavery was abolished through a sustained and continued campaign of protest that eventually broke the will of the established social framework, and lead over time to a public outcry against the treatment of the people.
In China the people rose up against the government, and when the world saw the results of the retaliation of the Chinese army, massive protests forced a change in the stance of a strictly communistic government. Not everyone will agree with me when I say Tiananmen Square brought about a massive change for the Chinese people, but you just have to look at the Chinese lifestyle today to recognise that capitalism is alive and well in the Chinese nation.
History is littered with stories from small scale protests to nations that have made massive institutional change through the results of people taking to the streets and bringing down the walls around the heads of many people that thought true power was alive and present only in their hands.
For the most part, fear is what leads to people live under dictation of a strong leader. It’s somewhat crazy to think that people would live in such conditions, say for example as the Jews during the Holocaust in World War 2. Granted circumstances were slightly different in this case as the Jews faced a massive armed force that were brain washed and hell bent on creating a perfect race and ridding the world of anything that they didn’t deem fitted the perfection mould. And it is behind these walls of brutal force that dictators and power mongers hide.
In simplistic terms they are nothing more than bullies who have gained access to powerful positions and now fear loosing that privileged perch on top of that mound. The uncanny thing is that it is the exact same fear that grips these people at the top as experienced by the people at the bottom. Ask the victims of a brutal regime what they were most fearful of and they will tell you that they feared being made to suffer at the hands of the enforcers of the regime.
On the other side of the coin, ask any drugs baron, war monger, dictator or villain what it is that they fear most, and your answer will be suffering at the hands of the people that they bully. It is this fear of our own brutality that makes mankind afraid of each other. We are too keenly aware of the nasty side of powerful dictatorships, thugs on the street, bullies in the school yard, and so in many ways we are almost conditioned to fear those that step out from the shadows and take up lives of crime or sit themselves in a seat of power.
Let’s be brutally honest here. The truth is that power lies in our hands, IF, we are able to overcome our fears. From simple things like boycotting a national provider, to full scale national protests, when the will of the people comes out in force, those in power either paid head and make changes or risk their position of power. If the protest happens to be calling for someone to be removed, and the people are committed to change, no matter what you throw at them, especially in today’s media savvy society, you can almost guarantee that after a length of time heads will roll or changes will be made.
I mean let’s think about it. We all complain about the cost of petrol in the UK. Well I’m sorry but to a large extent that is our own fault. Look at what happened when the fuel blockade of 2000. The country was brought to a stand still yes, but the government were forced to bring the price of fuel duty down. Last year we were told that oil companies were being squeezed by the costs of exploration for new reserves and the added costs associated with extraction today. However they still announced record profits left right and centre. Want prices to change? Ok let’s think logically. Let’s take Shell Oil who made £6 billion in profit in 2009. That means that BP fuel forecourts took an average of £16 million a day in fuel. Yes, yes I get that they make money in other areas, and ways, but let’s just assume that they even made £10 million a day on the fuel forecourt, then its simple people power that’ll change the price at the pump.
If every single person in the UK agreed to boycott the BP fuel courts, I’d give them one week before they drastically dropped the price of their fuel. I can also ensure you that if we stood strong and boycotted another week or two or even three, to send them a message that if the price goes back up again then we’ll hurt them again, I’m convinced that a company the size of BP would have to bow to people power.
Another thing to think about. Apparently the people of Britain now own Lloyds TSB, and possibly a few others. After all it was our billions of pounds they gratefully accepted when the government were waving our money around in rescue packages. Well as a tax payer, that’d mean I’m a shareholder of that organisation now. When was I consulted about banker’s bonuses? Can I be so rude as to ask when were you consulted? No. You weren’t consulted? Well I think that is criminal. I’m struggling to survive and what do I get when I ask the government for help is a massive two fingers and the directions to Samaritans. Yet the people that bankrupted an Institution as mighty as The Lloyds TSB still continue to get massive bonuses? Where is the fairness?
However, let’s think about it. How do we send the banks a message? Simple. Millions of us bank at Lloyds TSB. Let’s stage a run on the bank. If every Lloyds TSB customer entered the bank and demanded to withdraw their money, the bank would quickly run out of money. It’d only need 100,000 of us to cause the bank to fall to its knee’s once more. Then we give a warning to the bank to act responsibly and fairly with our money and I’m certain that we’d find that we’d have a banking sector that’d be a little more aware that infact the power actually lies in the hands of their customers. It’d be in their interest to work for us, in our best interest, and to give the best deal to those that work hard for the bank, while also ensuring that the customers are looked after.
Want to send David Cameron a message as a student or angry Brit? The message is simple. Gather in numbers. Stand your ground. Don’t go home when the rain comes down. Don’t go home when the night draws in. Don’t get violent. Don’t get disheartened when the police arrive. Remain peaceful, positive and steadfast. This is your protest. It can last as long as you like, it can be as large as you like, and it can demand change or continue until you get it. This is the formula to winning a battle against a bully in power. Don’t get ridden over, neglected, talked down at, forgotten or given a raw deal. As British people you are lucky to enjoy the freedom of speech. Use it.
As a Zimbabwean, I truly believe that the answer for Zimbabwe lies in people power. Yes some of us would die for the cause, because the police and army will get called out to break up the demonstration, but if the people return on and stand their ground it’d be moments before the press got hold of the news, and Zimbabwe and its answer to the protests would be headline news around the world. The powers that be will only stand by and watch innocent people being slaughtered for so long before making decisive moves to either apply pressure to assert change, or intervene and institute change. The voice of the people is more powerful than any sword, bullet or bully. People like Robert Mugabe should fear the lesson the world has recently learnt from the Egyptian People.
I have massive respect for the way in which the young people of Egypt took to the street, risked life and limb to see change come to their land. A people that have throughout history been under the cosh of some pharaoh or leader, its remarkable to think that for the first time the peoples voice has been louder than that of their leaders, and all this without violence, decadence or loss of dignity by coming down to the level of the bully. Respect from the people of the world is due and personally from where I am sitting it is given without measure.