Hosni Mubarak's regime is over. Which other populations around the Middle East and Africa are ready to follow Egypt's lead?
You may have heard: The 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt is over. He was toppled by a swell of popular protest, organized with the aid of technology. What kind of government Egypt will end up with is unclear (the military is in charge in the near term) but these are historic times for the country and the region.
To provide some insight into which countries might follow Egypt's lead and change leadership, The Economist made this "Shoe Thrower's Index" (throwing a shoe, as you may remember, is a strong sign of dissatisfaction in Arab and Islamic countries).
The chart was made by combining a number of factors that, in theory, measure how onerous a government is, how feisty the population is, and how likely that population will be to organize and protest.
The Economist ascribed
a weighting of 35% for the share of the population that is under 25; 15% for the number of years the government has been in power; 15% for both corruption and lack of democracy as measured by existing indices; 10% for GDP per person; 5% for an index of censorship and 5% for the absolute number of people younger than 25.
And it's not just the Arab world. Across Africa, the fall of Mubarak has been seen as a sort of proof of concept.
Like Egyptians, the Congolese, Nigerians, Eritreans, Senegalese, Angolans ... they know what their regimes are like. They mock them, curse them, and sometimes fear them. But with each day of the Egypian protests, there was a growing sense that they can also defeat them. As one Zimbabwean tweeter wrote today, "Next time you hear a dictator say he is not going, know that if you push hard enough they will go. #Zimbabwe #Egypt"
Here's another interesting question: Did Bush's aggressive promotion of "freedom and democracy" actually delay this wave of freedom and democracy?