News / Asia

Southeast Asia Expresses Support, Concern Over Mideast Turmoil

People gather to mourn and protest for demonstrators who were injured after riot police stormed an anti-government protest camp in Manama, February 17, 2011
People gather to mourn and protest for demonstrators who were injured after riot police stormed an anti-government protest camp in Manama, February 17, 2011
Brian Padden

As in much of the world, people in Southeast Asia are watching the pro-democracy protests spreading in the Middle East through a prism of their own experiences and interests.

Demonstrators in Egypt were able to peacefully force President Hosni Mubarak to relinquish power after three decades in office. But similar protests in Iran, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen are being violently suppressed.

Twelve years ago, Indonesia went through a similar experience, forcing out President Suharto. Many regional political analysts say Indonesia's peaceful transition to a multi-party democracy should serve as a role model to others in the Muslim world.

Skepticism

But on the streets of Jakarta some people offer words of caution. Mia Alviera says Indonesia is not yet a true democracy.

She says it is true that Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country but they are still divided and not performing well in many areas, such as religion and politics.

Rising violence against minority groups and corruption, she says, make many here feel like democracy is not working.

Contagious?

Renaldi at the Sunda Kelapa mosque agrees that many Indonesians are frustrated with the government. He sympathizes with the peaceful protesters in the Middle East, but worries about what it means for Indonesia.  

He says he is concerned that if what is happening in the Arab world is not soon resolved, it will be contagious.

Concern

In a Bangkok, Thailand neighborhood popular with residents and visitors from the Middle East, people expressed concern about the protests.

Ali Al-Jaafari, from Oman, says he thinks the protests will not spread much further in the Middle East, and certainly not to East Asia, where he says the culture is very different from Arab culture.

"I don’t think anything will happen to [the Persian] Gulf at all, especially Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman," he said. "All these countries are well settled or most of the people they are having a good life."

But Essa Ghazzi, a Kuwaiti, said he did not think the protests would bring real change to the Middle East.

"Stupid, because if they don’t like the governments they have now - they’re going to have worse someway or another. I don’t trust politicians," he said.

The biggest concern for many people in Southeast Asia was the violence that is being used to end the protests. Many people said they fear that would make the protests only worse.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid