Tag Archives: youth

Step one-Topple the dictator!

Protests around the world want to see the end of Gaddafi's rule
Photo by: jetalone

Although the information from Libya has been a struggle to get and hard to confirm due to the communications lock-down set in place by the country’s dictator of 42+ years, Muammar Gaddafi himself, a few facts are very clear.

The Libyan people are standing together and want to see the end of the Gaddafi regime, immediately.

Gaddafi has also made it clear he does not plan to step away from the power he has held onto for over four decades while oppressing the people of Libya, torturing them, stealing from them and telling them everyone else is the problem and only through him can there be an ongoing future for Libya.

The problem for him is, times have changed and the nation and its people want to take hold of this change. They certainly have a strong grasp with no plans to let go or back down.

Many have called these recent revolutions going on in Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Yemen the “Facebook Revolutions” or the “Internet Revolutions”, due to the fact much of the organization and taking the idea from something a few could do to something a country could do together, happened online through social media websites.

However, these revolutions are the people showing they have had too many years of, too much and not enough. It shows that each of these protesters from each of these countries are coming together to bring an end to the decades of dictatorships and the abuses being done to the citizens of their countries, the economies of these countries and they are wanting to establish a better future for themselves and generations to come.

These protesters want to be able to speak up and be heard without the fear of being arrested, tortured or forever silenced for doing what we, here in America, are able to do every day thanks to those who have fought for our freedoms ahead of us.

There have been numerous voices on Facebook, blogs, and Twitter speaking out and sharing, not only what they want outsiders to understand, but also showing support for one another in neighboring Middle East countries as one country’s rise against their dictator shows others they can accomplish the same. They can stand up for freedom and focus on a future with more opportunities and long term goals with the hope they can see their dreams through and stop living in daily fear.

As these revolutions have risen up and the people have stood together
in these countries against the regimes, the message is not only being seen across the region but around the world.

The messages being sent out over blogs, Facebook and Twitter are being read around the world and these voices are finally being heard. Other dictatorships and those living under them have more hope today due to these current transitions, not only due to the violence but due to the realization the people were able to come together and no longer live under the fear that has ruled them for so long.

In the recent toppling of these dictators, there are a few noticeable facts that really drove people to the edge over the many years of repetitive abuse and oppression. Those words don’t seem to cover what truly needs to be said.

There was no respect for the people, understanding of the citizens’ day to day struggles or a genuine compassion for a better future for the country or its people.

These dictators are completely detached from everything but the power their position brings to them and they will do anything to continue holding on to that power.

Although it is a very difficult process at times to clarify certain facts or detailed information coming in, it is very clear who the international community should stand behind, the people.

It may not be a detailed path where the Middle East may be headed but when we look back over history and see how the regimes and their dictators have handled the past, it seems the future has a much better outlook without them, their ideals, deceitfulness and their disdain for anyone aside from themselves or those that can benefit them at the time.

In 2010 and 2011, that power and the longevity of the power of these dictators have been greatly diminished with social media as the people of these countries quickly found a way to unite, form their ideals, stand together and once and for all, topple these dictators!

Times are changing.

Change for Egypt

Protest in Tahrir Square
Photo by: AlJazeer


Soon after large demonstrations started in Egypt on January 25th, support poured in across Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter for Egyptians seeking freedoms, a better future and asking Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak to immediately step down.

Protestors had gathered in Tahrir Square and said they would not leave till Mubarak he had given up his 30 year position as President of Egypt. As time passed, the crowd grew. The numbers following via Facebook and Twitter also grew. (#Egypt #Jan25)

Many of the demonstrators were tweeting and texting directly from their locations and also giving information of what would be going on the following hours and days. In today’s fast-paced Internet world, picture uploading, video uploading, texting, blogging and sharing information is instant and with the world’s changing times, this allows millions of people to know instantly what is going on across the world and to alert others.

Egypt’s government has in its constitution a law, the “Emergency Law” which, among other things, gives the government the right, at its discretion to shut down the Internet and on January 28th, Internet Service Providers were told to cut services.

This “Emergency Law” has been in place nearly all of Mubarak’s time in office. This law is one of many grievances the people have with the Egyptian government and it was recently extended to remain another two years. When the law is enacted, it gives the government the right to arrest people without cause, hold prisoners indefinitely, limit freedom of expression and assembly and more. At the time Internet was cut, most mobile phone services also were disabled especially text messaging. This greatly handicapped the ability not only for Egyptians to communicate internationally but also with one another in the country.

Until February 1st, the protestors mostly were peaceful. Tahrir Square remained full of protestors waiting for President Mubarak to step down. News had come that he had sworn in a Vice President which was a first in the country in over 30 years.

However, on the 1st, Mubarak made a speech on State T.V. which played on a large screen for all to see in the square. He stated he would not seek another term as president in the upcoming elections. The people quietly watched his entire speech and closer to the end he stated he would not be willing to step down before the end of his term in September, later this year.

On the ground in Tahrir Square and close by violence grew as the crowd became angry. There became a rise in violence and coverage of this was being shown internationally soon after the world had viewed not only this speech by President Mubarak but also a speech by President Obama on his thoughts concerning the situation in Egypt.

The rise in violence around Tahrir Square grew as pro-Mubarak groups grew larger in the square and clashes between them and the anti-government group became more violent causing a growing number of injuries and fatalities.

The following day as journalists were covering the clashes, they themselves became the targets of violence. They were being harassed, beaten up, having their equipment confiscated, being arrested, vehicles or teams attacked and as this grew increasingly worse, some were forced to leave for their safety and others went into hiding to continue reporting but to protect themselves and their crews.

This same day, Internet service began to slowly return across the country and as this happened, updates from Egyptians started to come in on Twitter, Facebook, blogging and other sources. These updates showed personal accounts of what had been happening around Egypt and confirming an even greater desire for freedom but also confirmed the fact journalists were being targeted on the ground, in hotels and around the country. Egypt’s government, it appeared, did not want the continued coverage of what was going on in the streets of Egypt during this crisis.

The question was, why?

Was the fear this coverage was making Egypt look bad internationally or was the fear the international coverage and the feedback it was getting influencing Egypt’s youth, inciting more displays of protests? Whatever the reasoning, the amount of international journalists in the country was greatly diminishing and those remaining were not being able to cover the revolution on the streets, the people, Tahrir Square up close as they had been doing, they now needed to look out for their safety and cover the crisis from afar.

The fact is though, covering the situation in Egypt is extremely important. It is extremely important to see the crisis and transformation as it unfolds. It’s more truthful and honest to see it from the eyes of the people and the government’s reaction and the angles there in Egypt and to have those views involved.

Egypt’s crisis and this transformation as some view it or revolution as it is turning out to be is not just a small event or something that will soon pass. It is much larger and significant.

Egypt has a population of more than 80 million people, the largest population in the 22 Arabic speaking countries.

Although the overthrow of Tunisia’s president in December ignited many frustrations and long held grievances of the citizens in other countries across the region, eyes are now on Egypt and at the moment, the leaders of Jordan, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere are looking at their own government and making tremendous changes and reforms to try to prevent many of the same actions. Protests are currently taking place.

As for the U.S. and its involvement in this crisis, of course there is a great deal of concern and the crisis in Egypt has great significance to the U.S. We have many Egyptian-Americans living in the United States and many have called this their home for generations but still, Egypt is their home as well. Compassion must always be shown not only to our fellow Americans but, all others.

What would you go to a demonstration for? What freedom would you not be willing to give up?

Much of what the Egyptians are protesting for, Americans not only have but take for granted. Fair elections, presidential term limit restrictions, freedom of speech and assembly and the right these freedoms can’t just be taken away at the whim of the government (like what is currently happening in Egypt and has been over the past 3 decades due to “Emergency Law”).

What is the United State’s position on making Mubarak step down being President?

This is a political revolution of the Egyptian people. They desire freedom and change in the way their country and government functions. Therefore it is up to Egypt and its people to unfold their new political system, laws and government, not outside countries. True change will come from within.

Since Mubarak has been an ally of the United States, there has been communication between Mubarak and President Obama as well as the Administration and other key officials in Egypt. It is important for the U.S. to point out certain views pertaining to matters that does affect the U.S. as well as what effects U.S. citizens in Egypt, humanitarian efforts and the safety of international journalists. The U.S. has remained a close ally with Egypt for many years and as long as diplomatically possible, this is important to continue without forgetting about the rights of the Egyptian citizens.

However, for the U.S. Administration or U.S. Citizens to act as though we can tell another country’s leader to step down does nothing to aide that country or the real long term efforts toward transformation they are working on. It also hurts our diplomacy efforts with other countries and in the long run would hurt our relations with the government that ends up being formed in Egypt. The U.S. cannot see itself as the strong hold over the world.

The best seat for the U.S. to strategically plan for what needs to be done after Egypt’s transition and the actions that follow in Yemen, Jordan, Syria and other neighboring governments may be in the observation area allowing the people of Egypt and its current government to build its own future out of its current turmoil.

Allow them to have change.

The past and future is in the Bay Area’s rich cultural diversity

The Bay Area and its surroundings are what postcards are made of, not only for its natural beauty and historical areas but also for the numerous amusement parks and endless shopping availability. The Bay Area has it all. For the Bay Area’s residents however, this is just a few of the many assets to their advantage.

In a follow-up to my previous article, another asset the Bay Area has is its rich cultural diversity. To go around the Bay Area and its surrounding counties, it is easy to find nearly any type of ethnic cuisine a person would want or any grocery item for a recipe. There are constant festivals going on and this of course, is a popular tourist attraction as well. But, it has been so much more for the area’s history and it can be an even greater asset to the Bay Area’s future.

To grow up around diversity is to have a chance of growth everyday in one’s life with the development of key skills necessary in life such as compassion for others, tolerance, understanding and the desire to reach out to learn, educate, help and be there for each other every day for anyone. It’s a chance to build core values as well as to learn about different cultures having not even traveled to those distant places. It is having a chance to see a friend as a friend and a doctor as a doctor and not looking at them differently because of where they may be from but smiling and loving them just because they made you feel better. That’s what it was like for me growing up in the Bay Area.

The future of the Bay Area and its opportunities are all still there and even more so because of the growth that is happening by leaps and bounds. Also, the cultural expansion is even more diverse than ever before. When someone brings their profession from someplace else, let’s say to the medical field, engineering, communications, etc, they bring with them their outside expertise. As an American travels abroad to work, they take their expertise with them to help overseas. This is the same thing, yet reversed.

The Bay Area has the opportunity to be the leader in how to make diversity work for everyone and to show this both locally, nationally and internationally. Although than words can make changes, actions will make a remarkable and lasting difference. By making efforts in the work place, in schools and just around town, word will spread. Changes can happen on Twitter in 140 characters or less quite rapidly as everyone has seen. Good changes are the ones the Bay Area wants to get noted for and right now, the U.S. can use positive example. Tampa can be the positive influence for the state, the nation and the world.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

View this article on the Examiner.com page and become a subscriber when new articles are released.

One of our community’s biggest assets is our youth

If everything is going well and people are happy with the way things are in their community and Washington D.C., then campaigns and candidates should continue to run the same pattern they always do, right? But, if something needs to change then it should start at the beginning of the cycle. This means to start at the process of choosing the candidate, the style of campaigning and the effort put into researching each candidate as well as understanding the reasoning behind the choice of each person’s vote. Is the choice being made by qualification and belief in the person or is it based on party?

What goes on in Washington D.C. begins with local elections just as much as the presidential election, often times even more. What is going on in a local community on a daily basis has a substantial impact on everyone’s daily lives in that community and can greatly improve in a short amount of time once given an opportunity for advancements and growth. But, the opportunity comes from the community itself more than from anyone on the outside or their promises.

One of a community’s biggest assets is its youth. If you look around the Bay Area, there are a great number of talented youth off for the summer. Many may have jobs but due to the economy, those hours may be limited or they may not have been able to get a summer job for a number of reasons. Our young people today are extremely creative and talented and many are also very active within the world of social media. Social media is not just something for chatting but if used wisely, this can help a large number of non-profit organizations and businesses network and reach millions of people they may not be reaching. This is one way a young person, or anyone can touch a lot of lives in a little bit of time.

The more involved our youth are today, the more involved they will be in the future. Who will be running our country in the future? They will become our future leaders. Our young people are watching how campaigning is being done, how politicians are “following through” with their word and how our communities are utilizing its own abilities to participate and better what we are capable of bettering for ourselves. We don’t always have to wait for things to happen for us. There are many things right around us we can do for ourselves as a community.

The best step forward is the step we take on our own initiative.

Stay tune for more to follow on this topic. If you would like to know of local non-profit groups you can assist with, please feel free to email me with “Non-Profit Group Info” in the subject line or feel free to comment with info.

View this article on the Examiner.com page where the entire article is posted. Become a subscriber when new articles are released.