Like flowers in the spring....
....democracy is blooming in ex-Soviet states with names like Uzbek and Kyrgyzstan, on the northwestern Chinese border. It seems that democracy is infectious these days - the "rose revolution" in Georgia begat the "orange revolution" in the Ukraine, and now the fever is rising.
The peaceful street revolts that recently brought democratic change to Georgia and Ukraine could spawn copy-cat upheavals against authoritarian regimes across the former Soviet Union, experts say.The possibilities are mind-boggling. Is it even possible that, before George Bush leaves office, we will have democracies in Ukraine, Georgia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Palestine!!, and who knows where else? The sweeping changes are on an historical scale not seen since the times of the Romans or Alexander the Great!
Waving orange scarves and banners - the colors of Ukraine's revolution - dozens of Uzbeks demonstrated in the capital Tashkent last week over the demolition of their homes to make way for border fencing.
According to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, the protest compelled the autocratic government of Islam Karimov, widely condemned for human rights abuses, to pay compensation.
In Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, hundreds of pro-democracy activists rallied on Saturday to demand that upcoming parliamentary elections be free and fair.
From Kyrgyzstan on the Chinese border to Moldova (see map), where Europe's only ruling Communist Party faces elections next month, opposition parties are eagerly studying Georgia's "Rose Revolution" and Ukraine's "Orange Revolution," which led to the triumph of pro-democracy forces. Opposition groups are even selecting symbols for their banners when the moment arrives - tulips for the Kyrgyz opposition, grapes for Moldova's anticommunists.
Oh, I know, much of this might not happen, but the changes we've already seen are stunning. Imagine how historians will view this period in history and George Bush's presidency as well if all of the possible changes actually occur!