With all the world’s attention focused on the coup in Kiev, Ukraine right now, and the ongoing problem of Syria’s civil war, little news attention has been paid to uprisings in two other places: Caracas, Venezuela and Bangkok, Thailand.
Francisco Toro at the Caracas Chronicles wrote on February 20th,
Dear International Editor:
Listen and understand. The game changed in Venezuela last night. What had been a slow-motion unravelling that had stretched out over many years went kinetic all of a sudden.
What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.
Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting.
People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street.
And that’s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitantshas been taken off the internet amid mounting repression.
The above was an analysis opinion, though backed with links. What do other news outlets say is happening in Caracas?
The Financial Times reports that “Caracas Protesters vow to turn Venezuela into another Ukraine“
“As the death toll from 10 days of violence rose to at least eight, at dusk on Saturday he was among the demonstrators in Caracas’s Plaza Altamira, an opposition stronghold, hurling rocks at security forces at the end of a march that drew in tens of thousands of people.”
Bloomberg news reports that Opposition Agrees to talks as Unrest rocks Caracas
Anti-government demonstrations are in their second week after Lopez’s Voluntad Popular party on Feb. 12 organized marches to speak out against rising crime, the world’s fastest inflation and shortages of everything from milk to medicine. The protests have turned violent on a nightly basis as police clash with students, resulting in at least eight deaths.
Meanwhile in Bangkok
Thai PM rules out resigning as bombs, gunfire punctuate unrest
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the target of anti-government protests in Bangkok, has been staying outside the city and on Monday ruled out resigning despite a series of deadly attacks heaping pressure on her administration. The protests have been punctuated by gunfire and bomb blasts, including one on Sunday that killed a woman and a young brother and sister. They are aimed at unseating Yingluck and erasing the influence of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who is seen by many as the power behind the government.
In the Ukraine, an arrest warrant has been issued for the President. The military body against Syria’s Assad is in Chaos. Germany’s Angela Merkel will visit Israel, back Kerry and push for the stalled peace talks to revive.
All this unrest in various nations is creating refugees and asylum seekers, who themselves are subjected to sometimes horrific conditions. Protests have been occurring where violence often breaks out. At the Australian-run asylum center on Papua New Guinea there was a riot to protest conditions, but authoritarian secrecy has locked the facility down, and there are at best conflicting reports of what actually happened. All they know is an Iranian woman seeking asylum died.
Scott Morrison contradicts first account of Manus Island unrest
Manus Island riot investigation to examine Labor’s role in setting up centre
Four countries that treat asylum seekers better than Australia
Of the unrest ongoing in the northern tier of Africa, many refugees flee to the island off Italy called Lampedusa, as they had been since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in Morocco and Tunisia in 2011. However, these facilities were never meant to handle the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing nations in unrest. Again, tragedies occur.
Turkey has set up refugee camps where more than half a million Syrians fleeing the three-year unrest in their native country have been living. Yet for many, there is no escape from the violence, there, either.
50 largest refugee camps
“The legacy of the world’s conflicts can be seen in the scores of camps for refugees around the world. This story profiles the 50 most populous settlements administered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Contrary to popular belief, many of these settlements are far from temporary, and most of the largest ones are in Africa and South Asia. In total, these camps are home to over 1.9 million uprooted people.“
The world’s unrest is making a restless population. Not only are those within the nations affected but also the ones who flee are affected, and the places they flee to are affected. I am reminded of the prophecy:
“Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Luke 21:10)
Nation against nation means two things. The word for nations as it is used here is ‘ethnos’ meaning nation, as in Syria against Israel, for example. It also means a race of people, as in Sunni against Shia, or Tutsi against Hutu.
There is another verse which comes to mind also.
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,” (Luke 21:25)
I’ve often thought that the reference to the sea here is to peoples. It absolutely could mean actual sea. No doubt. But I always wondered why the peoples will be perplexed as to why the seas are roaring. So I began to believe that the restless sea (peoples) are being referred to. There is precedent that sea means mass of people as a metaphor. In Isaiah, the sea is actually defined as a metaphor of restless peoples.
But the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt.” (Isaiah 57:20)
In Revelation 13:1 the first beast (antichrist) is described as coming out of the sea.
“And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.” (Revelation 13:1)
The first beast rises out of the sea. In that verse it is obvious that it is a metaphor, because it is highly unlikely that the antichrist rises from the actual sea as a man, dripping with sea water and entwined with seaweed.
So I believe the word sea there is a use of the old metaphor for the restless nations. I don’t think it is too far a stretch to say that the ‘distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, are the wicked in the nations.
In any case, there is global unrest that is prolonged and affecting millions upon millions at this moment. Entire nations are almost being uprooted and masses of people expelled. The wicked, teeming mass of humanity in many nations is being oppressed and displaced. The global psyche is very tenuous right now.
“Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.” (Ecclesiastes 4:1)
There are many blessings about living in this time. We see the Spirit at work, we see prophecies unfolding, we can pray in joyous anticipation for the Lord’s return. However there are also many sad parts to living in this time also. We mourn for these displaced people and for the children affected by all this national and sectarian violence. We know that many don’t have the joy of resting in Jesus, they don’t know Him. We mourn those who die, and are in hell right now because they didn’t know Jesus. We know that it is only going to be harder each day. Our brethren are persecuted and killed at a rate unheard of in any previous time. It is going to continue to get darker before it gets better.
Because the Church won’t be going through the Tribulation, we know the Lord will call for us any time. We may have one day left on earth or several more years. At least we know that we have a great joy to look forward to. You can have great joy as well.
If you don’t know Jesus and are depressed at the way the world is going, then repent of your sins. Jesus will save you from the wrath to come- both the wrath on this earth (1 Thessalonians 5:9, Romans 5:9) and the wrath in hell. (John 3:36). Repent and turn to Jesus, the only One who can save. He is building His church, He is preparing a place for His bride, and will return soon to take us to where He is.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)