The revolutionary performances of anti-government protest and counterdemonstrations performed in the Arab World that commenced on December 17th, 2010 are well known as The Arab Spring. Violent and non-violent actions done by citizens of different nations have caused outbreaks on governments and civil wars affecting all. These disturbances originated in the country of Tunisia and dispersed to other Middle East nations such as Syria, Egypt and Libya. Due to the protest from these nations, transformations have been established in the Arab World by Western Liberalism and outcomes for the future can already be predicted by the events of Arab Spring. The emerging of several protests, known as The Arab Spring, began on December 17th, 2010 when a young graduate committed an unforgettable act of sacrifice for a strong belief. Mohammed Bouazizi, a jobless graduate, was selling vegetables in the country of Tunisia to support his family when a police official confiscated his cart for selling them without a “permit”. (The Guardian)
Immediately after, in protest, Bouazizi proceeds to the provincial-capital building to complain but receives no response. Angered by the lack of reaction from the government, Bouazizi sets himself to flames in the middle of the street (The Protester: Kurt Anderson). The rioting in Tunisian and every outbreak in many other Middle Eastern nations began from the action done by Bouazizi and the sacrifice he made for others struggling with unemployment. “The vegetable seller who sparked the protest,” (The Guardian) was used as a headline to proclaim the foundation to a plethora of conflicts that would continue for many years. Soon after Bouazizi died as a martyr, commotion provoked by the angered youth outspread through many parts of Tunisian — “Hundreds of youths [who] smashed shop windows and damaged cars.” (Reuters) Frustration and rage from the death of Bouazizi and the high levels of unemployment in the region influenced this behavior from the youth that resulted in various arrests. The people of Tunisian demanded political changes and economic opportunities to those who battle with unemployment and corruption. Since the graduate’s sacrifice, ten days of violent protesting killing as much as two people have been made in a nation where “dissent is rare.”(The Guardian; Julian Borger)
Despite actions attempted by Tunisian’s president, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, such as his televised announcement made on December 29th, 2010 assuring punishment to rioters that caused the death of two and Bouazizi, and promising more occupations for others, protest still sustained. Due to the oppressive rule of dictator Ben Ali, his wife and his regime, the people of Tunisian have suffered from high unemployment, rising food prices, corruption, political repression, and no freedom of speech. The hostile regime of Ben Ali and the anger from the Tunisian people have exceeded to “explosive levels” (World Revolution 2011 – The Arabian Spring!: YouTube Video). The death of Bouazizi triggered an outrage and numerous days of protest done by unemployed and irritated people. On January 9th, 2011, protesters encountered with the police and set fire into cars in Tunisia (Arab Spring Timeline: YouTube Video).
A “revolution” was arising- The Jasmine Revolution; changing and affecting everything in the country of Tunisia. Hundreds of Tunisian people would stay grounded in the streets, protesting in front of their government demanding freedom and change! Despite the agonizing pain from being beaten by police officials, arrested and even killed, the youth did not stand down until justice was served. On the date of January 14th, Ben Ali surrenders to the protests and fled to Saudi Arabia. With the removal of the Tunisian president, the hopes for other Arab nations departing from their dictatorship governments increased. On January 1st 2011, the country of Egypt became involved with protest when at least 21 people were killed and more than 70 injured in a suspected al-Qaida suicide bombing in Alexandria (The Guardian). After the explosion, hundreds of Christians and Muslims raged came to the streets of Egypt “clashing” with one another and the police “pelting each other with rocks” wrathful by the events that left their loved ones dead. Police used “tear gas” to separate the rowdy groups but this only angered them more because they were unable to express their pain (The Guardian: David Batty) .
January 17th, a man burns himself in front of Egypt’s parliament in protest against poor living environments. Mass numbers of unemployed youth, lack of opportunities and rising poverty has influenced young protesters to flood the streets of cities throughout Yemen (The Arab Spring: YouTube Video). Urging the government to an “end to corruption, the creation of jobs, and implementation of democratic reforms…demanding President Hosni Mubarak to resign” (The Arab Spring: YouTube Video). After 18 days of protest, on February 11th, Mubarak does step down from power and gives the government to the military (The Guardian). In March, Syria also began associating with protest amongst its people when arrests of several teenagers in Damascus are done because they dubbed anti-regime slogans into walls. Thousands have died from the unrest but those who continue to thrive are the young and out of work; “risking their lives day after day for hopes of having a better future” (The Arab Spring: YouTube Video).
In later months, on July 22nd, hundreds of thousands of Syrians support the anti-regime movement across the country. Also in Libya, actions against the president, Muammar al-Gaddafi were done to remove him from power; which was succeed by him being soon assassinated on October 20th, 2011. Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Libya all had similar hardships in their countries whether from unemployment, poverty, corruption or lack of freedom. However, with endless protest done against each regime, every country was able to overthrow their dictators and have freedom. The impact on every change done to the Arab World during The Arab Spring was impacted by Western Liberalism. Western can be defined by “living in or originating from the west, in particular Europe or the U.S.” while Liberalism is defined as “a political orientation that favors social progress by reform and by changing laws rather than by revolution” (Google Web).
Combined together, Western Liberalism means a reform based on the west and its values. Transformations in the Arab World have been greatly affected by Western Liberalism because the changes in the Middle East are very similar to the ways of life in the west. To explain, since the dictatorship nations have been overthrown, the countries have experienced freedom and opportunities. In Tunisia, a new president, Moncef Marzouki, a former activist is now in office after being elected by Tunisia’s constitutional assembly (The Guardian). Democracy, the ability to elect the one in power, is now present instead of dictatorship; this is the same government the west possesses. Also in the country of Syria, democracy was being used to elect the new authority on December 12th, 2011 (The Guardian). Distinctive European and U.S. Values are legal equality, political democratization and equal opportunities.
As a result of the Arab Spring, in some parts of the Middle East, men and women are given equal opportunities. Jobs, stable living environments, and freedom are all allowed in most parts of these nations. Freedom of speech and Freedom of religion are now legalized in nations were they were once forbidden. Excessive ways of expressing your beliefs, thoughts, and opinions are all authorized in countries they once were prohibited in. Freedom, democracy, and change for a new life have impacted every part of the Arab World post Arab Spring. All of these reforms have been influenced by Western Liberalism and transformed these Middle Eastern nations. From analyzing and evaluating the events that have occurred during The Arab Spring, predictions for the short and long term future can be established. Throughout every battle, originating from the outburst in Tunisia, traveling to the hardships in Egypt, to the struggles in Syria and the battles in Libya, as well as many other Middle Eastern nations, protest have successfully evolved every country into what they are today.
Although conflict in every nation still proceeds, events that have already happen can mold a blueprint for future years. In Tunisia, Marzouki, the new president, is doing great things that assure opportunities for many citizens such as creating occupations for the unemployed that will lead to a growth in the economy which will be successful to the residents living there. In each country, the main goals from the protest were democracy, freedom, human rights, employment, and a change in the regime (Wikipedia). Despite that many countries are still struggling with this, all have already received it. Democracy is now the regime in each Middle East nation. Freedom and Human Rights are now being offered to the people even though it still will take more time until the crusades come to an end. However, in many countries, not many things have changed. In Yemen, little has been done since the removal of their dictator. In Syria, “a savage civil war is still proceeding with 100,000 killed and two million refugees seeking for shelter in neighboring countries” (Asian Age).
Eventually, in the long term, every country in the Middle East will be at peace with its self, its people and the nations around it. It will take time and effort but with the progress happening every day, it won’t be long until each nation resolves the issues that still persist. December 17th, 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi set himself to flames and created a worldwide protest against regimes and conflicts. Violent outbreaks and disturbances against governments have occurred all around the Middle East. Changes have been made influenced by Western Liberalism that can predict the future for the nations and the people involved in The Arab Spring.
Courtney from Study Moose
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