The Arab Spring Uprising Essay
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While each country fights for individual basic rights, which are usually area specific, there are a few rights every country is protesting against including government corruption, economic decline, unemployment and abject poverty. Role of Technology Many have speculated on the role of technology and the use of social media in the uprisings of the ‘Arab Spring’, with some going so far as to conjecture the role of technology in the revolutions’ communication and collaboration is unprecedented. West, 2011) The mostly educated and unemployed youth of these countries were at the heart of many of these conflicts and actively used social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to coordinate with fellow protestors in a quick and efficient fashion.
(Democratist, 2011) The use of these social networks gave the protestors the ability to share times & locations with large groups instantly and allowed them to present a much more organized front than was previously imagined possible.
International news sites like Al-Jazeera and Wikileaks provided protestors with the ability to acquire much needed outside news from media not owned by the country’s government and gave protestors the ability to communicate with the world about their trials and triumphs.
Internet usage was not always freely allowed by these countries and in the midst of their revolution, President Mubarak’s government cut off internet accessibility throughout most of Egypt for a period of time.
Tunisia After what is believed to have been the catalyst for the uprising known as ‘Arab Spring’, Tunisia’s own uprising began in December, 2010 after merchant, Mohamed Bouazizi, caught himself on fire in the middle of Sidi Bouzid to protest police corruption in the country. Not long after that, thousands of civilians began to take to the streets calling for the resignation of then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and democratic reform.
According to Tunisian government records, approximately 223 people were killed as a direct result of the protests. After 28 days of protests and international media attention, President Ben Ali abdicated his power, fled the country to Saudi Arabia, and his government was removed from power shortly afterward. Since the revolution, the county has had its share of continued protests, held its first semi-democratic elections in over 20 years and has put an interim government into power.
Egypt Formed shortly after the Tunisian uprising, Egypt’s own upheaval began on January 25th, 2011 and lasted a full 18 days before wrenching the autocratic President Mubarak and his government from power. During these 18 days, Egypt saw a flood of protests take place around the country and most notably within Cairo’s Tahrir Square; these protests quickly took a turn for the violent with protestors frequently ramping up between Mubarak supporters and the oppositions.
Though Mubarak at first refused to step down from the presidency, after international pressure and an escalation of violent protests, he announced on February 10th that he would step down and hand over his presidency to the vice president. In the last year however, protests have continued at the perceived sluggishness of the new governing forces to bring much needed economic and social reforms to the country. Yemen Initially started as a protest over changes to the constitution, corruption and prevalent unemployment, Yemen’s revolution brought with it the ousting of President Saleh.
Embattled President Saleh long faced opposition from his inner cabinet from as early as 2009 over governmental corruption, as well as poor social and economic conditions in the country. Protests started on January 27, 2011 and raged for over a year before, after an attempt on his life in June, 2011, President Saleh fled the country and Vice-President al-Hadi took over the governing of Yemen. In February of 2012, Saleh stepped aside and allowed the newly elected President Abd al-Rab Mansur al-Hadi to maintain governance within the country.
Amid the recent firings of the deposed President’s inner circle, Ali Abdullah Saleh denounced the revolutions taking place around the Arab world and suggested that peace may not be found easily in Yemen. (Associated Press, 2012) Libya What began as a protest over the conditions for civilian living and corruption, quickly gained steam and formed in a civil bloody war, pitting so-called rebels against those loyal to the current President Qaddafi. After more than 40 years of power, Qaddafi found himself at the helm of a battle for his very Presidency and the nation’s government.
Citizens of Libya gained hope from the outcome of Tunisian revolution and six months after the first protests, Colonel Qaddafi was killed by rebel forces; the country was declared liberated from his reign not long after. The revolution in Libya was supported in part by a United States backed coalition which provided air support to the Libyan rebel forces and helped bring an end to the bloodshed and oppression. (The New York Times, 2012) Libya’s fight for independence and liberty, one of the bloodiest in recent memories, has not ended in peace for the Libyan people yet.
In 2012, a solid and unifying government has yet to gain control and the country has been broken up into semi-autonomous states with militias governing individual areas. Similar Timing, Different Solutions While there are some similar themes which flow through each revolution, including the timing and as the prevalence of educated, yet unemployed youth protestors, the systems of governments being protested against and the solutions for change vary widely from country to country, as author Lisa Anderson reminds readers in Demystifying the Arab Spring (2011).
Since Tunisia’s government, before the revolution, was made up, in large part, by relatives to ousted-President Ben Ali, the country has seen continued unrest as demands for a total change in regime continue and the new government will face virtually starting from scratch in terms of government officials. Egypt, while also carrying a tradition of familial government, in contrast to Tunisia has a powerful military which aided in the circumvention of power from Hosni Mubarak.
In direct contrast to Tunisia and Egypt’s relatively smooth transitions from power, Libya became a country at the heart of a civil war with a leader who was determined not to lose power. After Qaddafi’s death, the country’s rebel led coalition has had to begin the process of rebuilding a country torn apart by a bloody war. In the past two year, the world has seen a string of uprisings, dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’, which are really unrelated as a whole and yet contingent upon one another.
Without the success of Tunisia’s revolution would Libya, Egypt, or Yemen’s citizens risen up? Personally, I think so. But I also believe the revolutions have fueled one another and the successes and failures of some are felt by the many. While the ‘Arab Spring’ carries on, with countries like Bahrain and Syria still fighting for their freedom and for governmental change, it is easy to see there is a long road of recovery ahead for this region of the world. References Anderson, L. (2011, June).