Freedom of Expression and Democratic Morale
The mustache brothers comedy group were imprisoned for 'taking the piss' out of the Burmese militia. They are satirical performers who perform in and around Mandalay, during the house arrest of San Suu Kyi they amused the press and outsiders with their political banter. The government prosecuted them for political crimes... they did not try and evoke a revolt against the government but the mere act of joking about the government is worthy of jail time. Let's not forget that jail in Burma is not pleasant.
Feminism, Equality and Identity
If you remember 'Unveiled Syrian Woman Goes Viral: http://newphysicistphi.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/unveiled-syrian-woman-goes-viral.html' which featured Dana Bakdounis, a Syrian feminist who publicly unveiled her religious clothing in an act of dissent to the established order. This was a public cry... neigh... a public rising for women and the cracking of the Muslim based patriarchal society. This stirred a media frenzy in Syria which is already encumbered by political rebellion.
Unsatisfactory Law, order, policing and human respect
'what ever happens to them [women] is their own fault'
if they are not escorted around by men. This begs the question... are you really leading a safe and female friendly environment? What needs to change is the 'male dominance' i.e. some victims of rape are blamed rather than the males who physically abuse the women. This makes no sense. This society is based on a traditional notion that men are the providers, rulers and guards of the territory. This is simply wrong, there is no evidence for the religious notions that men hold more power or rights. Just because men a slightly stronger physically (on average) does not give them the right to govern females or even homosexuals.
What is the general cause for all this strife in the Eastern world?
Tradition is a very general term but it does embody the general origin of the recent and prolonged political problems in the Eastern cultures. The Muslim religion plays a huge role in Eastern culture, the Chinese, Japanese and Thai have slightly different spiritual and religious orientations and these play a smaller role in their governments.
It is the adverse interpretations of an unjustified heap of scriptures which then mixed with political power and corruption lead to some awful political structures. Iran, Egypt, Syria, Libya and Iraq have all and are still experiencing political rebellion, corruption, female degradation and economic instability. They need to rationalize their law, economic spending and allow the media to snoop around police and governmental officials. Allowing the media to be free will highlight corrupt officials, show the public opinion and stimulate debate. Sharia law is mainly based on the Ku'ran and contains death penalties and public stoning of women who are seen with skin showing, adultery and any crimes against Allah etc. The principles of equality, freedom of expression and freedom of any church or religion should be installed within these cultures. Why? Why should they adopt these seemingly Western values? Well they work and the people... especially females are in need of an equal footing legally and politically. They work because they provide everyone with the same freedoms, no one has disadvantage or advantage over anyone else (ignoring wealth... which again is an issue but only if the education system fails to accommodate and provide opportunities for less well off children. Freedom expression works intellectually, it allows information to be exchanged freely between anyone. It allows people to argue, debate and to challenge each other. If this is mixed with the ability to reason and to use evidence in the right way this could help a society become smarter. Freedom from the church and other religions makes the law unbiased to any one view, religion is based on interpretation and faith. When you are dealing with jail sentences, court cases and sometimes even death you need to use the most objective tools you can... otherwise what you call just is not objective or justified.. it would be subject to opinion. Hence the use of logic, science and evidence come into play in the legal system.
It is the upbringing of children who are bought up in a traditional conservative and even extremist and fundamentalist way which can lead to a conservative society which by mere tradition would rarely change their culture. The people will be less open to challenging their views or taking an objective approach to morals, politics, people and even truth itself. Indoctrination and conservatism are by nature stubborn. If religion is taken out from the law and government it would take away the corruption of religion, it would give less power to those possible extremists and fundamentalists who are reluctant to give females equal rights etc.
Economically, Japan and China are doing okay at the moment. India is on the rise. In order to create stability within Eastern economies first there needs to be a stable government, as civil wars and protests greatly deter foreign investments and future plans for the country.
North Korea of course is the extreme of totalitarianism. It's 'religion' is not out of this world it is basically the monarchy. It is playing catch up to Hitlers and Stalin's world view... that complete dictatorship and control is not productive and it is not morally justifiable. North Korea is full of poverty and low GDP, health is bad, education is basically indoctrination. It is not, even today, in contact with many countries... it has not been truly integrated with the internet. :o
The Western world is not perfect... HELL NO. However many EU countries and America have made the steps of relinquishing the power of religion in the government and law (America less so now with the gay marriage debates and general increase in homophobia, religious fundamentalism) which have led to a fairly equal law between women and men. Women have more rights in the Western world than in the Eastern fact. They can wear what they like, be what they like (now even a bishop?). Freedom of expression has flourished for better or for worse in the UK and the states and many EU countries. The film, news and newspaper industries hold a lot of power in communicating with most of the populations and debating the governments decisions etc. are encouraged.
Female respect still needs to increase here, I think an increase in sexist comedy is an actual good sign with sites like the Lad-Bible and stand up comedians as this for me highlights that it is not taken seriously anymore. There are of course lines such as rape jokes etc. which could incite violence or extreme offence.
I wonder how long it would be before any woman could wear anything she wanted anywhere in the world without inciting heresy or breaking a law (of course the religion would have to be taken less seriously).
So is the Eastern world playing catch up? Yes but only on a few matters, it just happens that these matters are pretty important and highlight a revolutionary step in political evolution.