In the 2011 Reith Lecture Aung San SuuKyi, the Burmese Nobel peace winner offered an interesting reading to the popular term – ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ when she said that ‘the animal had caught a glimpse of itself in a mirror and the realization that the burden it was bearing was of unacceptable magnitude and its collapse was in fact a refusal to continue bearing so oppressive a load’. Such a statement has resonance to the events that led to the Arab Uprising, the 99% against 1% Outrage and more recently the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. In fact, the current mass dissent in Hong Kong is the most unexpected of all especially coming from an island city that so far has thrived on market capitalism. But then again it demonstrates citizens’ inherent need to exercise their right to be part of the political decision making process.
What about Mauritius? A number of questions springs to one’s mind: are we doomed to be passive viewers and endorsers of a political landscape where pre-electoral alliances have systematically robbed the Mauritian democratic model of its competitiveness and the unpredictability of win? Don’t we deserve better? What should be done? Well the last question seems to have been a sort of wakeup call as in the last couple of months there has been a number of political parties that has been launched with the intention of ‘doing politics differently’. This is no doubt laudable as it speaks to what Achille Mbembe refers to as the ‘politics of possibility’ and allowing for the rut to be questioned. In fact, breaking the web of silence is key if we are to envisage a future where we see ourselves playing an important part. This reminds me of the inspiring letter by Jay Naidoo to ‘The Next Generation’ that appeared in the Daily Maverick some time back, where he calls upon the youth to take a position against ‘the rising tide of our human greed that threatens the very foundations of our human survival’, ‘to be courageous and fearless and to embrace the idealism of a world that is caring and just’.