Monday, March 7, 2011

Unrest in North Africa and Middle East with poverty as one of many reasons.

When I was writing on protests in Egypt (here), I mentioned various pundits mentioning poverty as one of reasons behind these protests and I explicitly stated that for a society which has TFR (total fertility rate) above 3 for more than 5 decades, no economic theory or program can solve the problems like poverty and employment. Well, it seems that Muslims themselves are saying this in Bahrain.

Bahrain is a small kingdom with 100% Muslim population, of which 70% of Muslims follow shia sect while 30% follow Sunni sect. But, much of political power is vested in Sunni as Royal family itself belongs to Sunni sect. This has resulted in uneasy relationship to the extent that Sunni executive power recruits people of Pakistan belonging to Sunni sect in to its army; Shites feel discriminated in every aspect of life while Sunnis maintain that shites are more loyal to Iran rather than their own country i.e. Bahrain. Sunnis want political status co to be continued while shites want political reforms thus, they are involved in protests against monarchy.

The New York Times writes:
....During 90 minutes over coffee in a street-side cafe in the city, they offered a critical counterpoint to the protesters. While the Shiites see themselves as discriminated against and marginalized, these children of the upper middle class said the Shiites were largely responsible for their own plight, a position that seemed to overlook established patterns of discrimination in Bahrain. They said that what the demonstrators wanted was not democracy, but superiority.
They blamed the Shiites for having too many children, for not being willing to work hard and for demanding handouts from the government. “Whose fault is it when you have five or six kids and you can’t afford two?” Ms. Mohammed asked. “Why is that the government’s fault?
Mr. Zainal was equally critical. “Plain and simple,” he said. “The uneducated people of Bahrain, or the world, you have kids to support and you pull the kids out of school to sell water at the roadside, you cannot blame the government.”
“The educated,” he said, “understand the value of keeping their children in school.”......
One can read the complete report here

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