Many a time I’ve witnessed and watched on TV, even followed in the press, news of demonstrations and protests against government policies in many nations of the world, especially those of non-industrialized nations, and I may want to add that my definition of these nations include those with wide/huge disparities in level of development, education, even enlightenment between the city dwellers and country folk.
I have found that with many of these nations that I speak about, major cities, sometimes even the capitals have governments that are in opposition to the government in power at the centre, as typified by Lagos State in Nigeria. They also seem to have a vibrant press, with which the population is frequently sensitized to be antagonistic to government policy and propaganda.
Interestingly, the government that these city dwellers rile against with all the media tools at their disposal are returned to power after every election, by the majority that dwell outside the cities and towns, who most times aren’t even beneficiaries of government largesse in terms of infrastructure and the likes.
When the demonstrations in Bangkok and Kiev began months ago I noted these disparities in my treatise- https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/understanding-the-protests-in-kiev-bangkok-and-caracas/ and how it is that if elections were conducted today in Ukraine, Thailand and Venezuela, the ruling parties will win reelection, despite the protests in the cities, because true power does not reside with the protesters, not in Kiev, nor Bangkok. Not even in Venezuela where though the Chavistas may not necessarily be on the same page with President Maduro but definitely not willing to switch allegiance to his capitalist and supposedly western backed opponents mainly in the cities.
I’m not surprised with the turn of events in Ukraine, though I didn’t expect this outcome. The series of events currently unfolding there show that the protests and demonstrations we saw on TV of Kiev wasn’t a true reflection of the wishes of the majority of the people in Ukraine (and for effects in The Crimea).
The West finds it convenient to blame Russia for the current imbroglio in Ukraine (with the secession of The Crimea, in favour of a union with Russia, while other regions of Eastern Ukraine are gearing up to follow suit) but fail to take into cognizance the cries of pro-Yanukovich protesters in Kiev, who though made a smaller number on the ground there but had a huge silent majority in the countrysides, who apart from ethnic Russians include many other ethnic groups which favour relations with Russia over that with the West and particularly with the European Union, where they feel they may suffer the indignity of being second class citizens.
Interestingly, when it suits the Western powers, secession like in Kosovo is cool, and when it doesn’t, as with The Crimea, then it’s a bad idea. It’s double standards such as this that make even democrats the world over silently support Russian and Chinese views on several world situations when the powers disagree over rules of engagement.
The loudest noise by a few, shouldn’t necessarily mean the voice of the masses. The West shouldn’t always decide that they know what’s best for all, especially in prodding the voices of a few with access to tools of media coercion. If the Tartars who suffered gravely under Stalin’s Russia feel that they’d benefit under Czar Putin, then so bê it.
It is undemocratic to determine what the people want by listening to those who protest only, especially when they are fewer. The protesters in Bangkok did all within their power to prevent elections knowing full well that the government will win reelection, hence they moved further with their protest by boycotting snap elections that followed the protest before nailing the Prime Minister with corruption charges.
The message that the protesting few seem to be making in the cases described above may be that the docile majority are not as sophisticated, intelligent and enlightened as they are, requiring “enlightened” protesters to speak and protest on their behalf. It is the arrogance embedded in such thoughts that lead to the kind of reactions we see in Ukraine today, and may yet be held responsible by framers of history as responsible for the redrawing of the Ukrainian map, much to Russia’s delight.