Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a speech she delivered to the African Union in Ethiopia, warned that if the countries of Africa do not reform and introduce more democratic practices into their political systems, then they can expect similar uprisings in their own countries to the political unrest experienced at the beginning of 2011 in what is now being called the “Arab Spring.”
Clinton said that citizens are in stronger positions of power today than they have ever been in the past, with access to the internet and social media giving them a place to express their discontent and organize movements that have the potential to topple repressive leaders and their governments.“This wave of activism, which came to be known as the Arab Spring, has particular significance for leaders in Africa and elsewhere who hold on to power at all costs, who suppress dissent, who enrich themselves and their supporters at the expense of their own people,” she said.“If you believe that the freedoms and opportunities that we speak about as universal should not be shared by your own people, men and women equally, or if you do not desire to help your own people work and live with dignity, you are on the wrong side of history, and time will prove that,” Clinton added pointedly.
Clinton Predicts Future
It would behoove these leaders to pay heed to Clinton’s words, considering her track record on predicting the fall of governments.Clinton gave a speech last January to Arab leaders in Qatar where she said that if they did not implement democratic reforms they would be watching their progress “sink into sand.”Within just a few days Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the dictator in Tunisia, was the first repressive leader to fall. Not long after Hosni Mubarak of Egypt followed his lead. In the months that followed demonstrators took to the streets in Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco and elsewhere, threatening to topple governments there if their demands for reform were not met.