Nobody believed that revolution would ever be experienced in the Middle East. Cruel leaders ruled countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Libya. Public protests were not allowed because they were against the law and those citizens who dared became political prisoners (Moore and Springborg 11). Historical revolution has been waited to occur for a very long time. =
The people who lived under the unjust rulers suffered a lot in the previous decades, so it is time for those rulers to pay the people back. The aim of this essay is to show the hidden reasons of these revolutions, why they occurred at the same time, and what the people needs are. The revolution is an honorable one because it will reap huge benefits in the future.
A dynamic view on Tunisia’s revolution
Mohammed Bouzizi was an unemployed graduate who used to sell fruits and vegetables using carts in Sid Boutz, since he was the breadwinner of his family. He was twenty six years old and did not possess a license for selling food along the streets. Due to this reason, the authority took away his cart and slapped him on the face. Mohammed later expressed his anger and depression by burning himself due to social injustice.
He did this in front of the government offices and escaped with serious injuries that made him to be hospitalized for almost two years but he later died. This led to riots in Tunisia that eventually made the president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali to step down. Mohammed’s suicide led to revolution in the country. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain experienced the same problems of oppression and they were all triggered to riot in the streets after the self- immolation of Mohammed (Alexander 72).
Mussa, Arab’s league chief, had a speech with the Arab economic summit in a resort city in Egypt. He told them that the mayhem in Tunisia was caused by the same disappointments that were facing the Arab communities, “the revolution that happened in Tunisia is not far from the subject of this summit” (Moore and Springborg195). He continues to say that “the Arab soul is broken by poverty, unemployment and general recession… The political problems , majority of which have not been fixed, have driven the Arab citizens to a state of unprecedented anger and frustration” (Moore and Springborg 196).
The Arab leaders did not admit the idea that their citizens were undergoing what Tunisians went through before the death of Mohammed. In spite of the injustices experienced by the citizens in the Middle East, their leaders said that the countries were not similar to Tunisia. The foreign minister for Egypt, Ahmed Gait, said that it was very stupid for the citizens in his country to use the Tunisia-style for their grievances to be heard. He totally opposed that idea of protesting.
The Tunisians protested mainly due to lack of employment, exaggerated prices on commodities, oppression and corruption. They also rioted because of the president Zane –Abadan, who stayed in power for so many years. Moreover, his decisions were illogical and full of injustice. For instance, he did not allow the women to wear hijab in the work places and banned prayers that were being conducted in the public mosques.
To some people, they seemed to be minor things but according to the Muslims, they are necessities in their daily lives. They were not supposed to be barred from their sacred rituals and to make it even worse; the president himself was a Muslim too. The living conditions of the citizens were also poor and they did not have freedom of speech. The political and social conflicts led to many deaths that were caused by the police officers who were trying to end the demonstrations (Alexander 124)
From the protests made by the Tunisians, due to the problems they were undergoing through, the president did not have any other option apart from freeing to Saudi Arabia with his family. It is Abdulla, the king of Saudi, who confirmed his presence in the country and he made the following statement “as a result of the Saudi kingdom’s respect for the exceptional circumstances the Tunisian people are going through, and wish its wish for peace and security to return to the people of Tunisia, we have all welcomed him” (Alexander 129).
The president’s departure was not enough to restore peace in the country because the protests intensified. It was accelerated by the social media as well as the young people who claimed that there was very little improvement in the economy. They refused all the promises of change the president had made for them and attacked the capital city with the demands that the president had to leave.
Although the protests were spontaneous, they were well organized and those who protested were very much determined. Many students joined the protests and after being interviewed, they said that the main cause of the disturbances was lack of liberty as well as employment. People from other regions such as Said Bouzid protested because they felt that their region was discriminated and neglected.
After the protests, the Tunisians benefited a lot because they were empowered. They also realized that cooperation can bring down a repressive regime within a short time. Besides, they encouraged other countries that were undergoing oppressions such as Egypt, Yemen Libya and Bahrain to fight for their rights through spontaneous and collective actions.
Revolution in Egypt
The Egyptians also protested to the streets due to such things like government corruption, high levels of poverty, lack of freedom of speech and oppression, after they got inspired by the fruitful revolution in Tunisia. In spite of it being a democratic country, the citizens did not exercise their rights. Their former president, Mubarak, had ruled for thirty years and the citizen’s votes were not considered at all.
The dictatorial leadership of President Mubarak contributed a lot to these protests (Shadid 28). The protests were mainly experienced in Cairo Alexandria and Suez and there have never been such protests since 1970. The government put effort by blocking twitter because it was used for organizing the chaos. This infuriated the citizens thus causing more mayhem. The police arrested and injured most of the citizens using tear gas and batons.
Those who participated in the protests did them peacefully by demonstrating and marching to the streets without causing so much destruction. The protests were organized by the youths and internet activists as well as kefefe, which was a movement that was started to support change. Acts of civil disobedience and strikes related to labor were seen during the protests (McGreal 54). The protests were later joined by people of all ages as well as different social classes, and they were all calling on President Mubarak and his government to resign.
The demonstrations were successful because on 11th February 2011, President Mubarak resigned and after two days the parliament was disbanded. Many prisoners were released the same week and a new political party called Freedom and Justice Party was formed. The new party, led by Saad Ketatni, will take part in the next elections. A new prime minister was also elected. In March, the state security was also dissolved and a new one was formed.
After the successful demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya decided to follow their footsteps. They started protests against their president who had ruled them for forty one years; Muammar Qaddafi. Demonstrations also occurred in the main cities like Darnah and Bengazi because of the exaggerated rent on houses. The government reacted to the riots by providing twenty four billion dollars as an investment in housing. The state violence also occurred due to the hiring of African mercenaries by the president to end the rebellion (Moore and Springborg 39). The mercenaries were gold diggers who were being paid by Mubarak’s government.
Revolution in Libya
Libyan revolution which is still going on seems to cause more deaths as compared to the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Gaddafi has so many loyalists who are using so much power thus making it very hard to end the protests. The government in this country seems to be collapsible and so it might take longer than Egypt and Tunisia (Levy 2).
The president uses fighter jets on the protesters because he does not want anything to do with revolution. Despite all this, the demonstrators in Libya have made it in seizing some of the cities. Libyan citizens are so much determined in bringing down their president as well his government.
Revolution in Bahrain and Yemen
The Bahrain made their organizations through the internet on how they would overthrow the government through rebellion. This was due to the dictatorship that was caused by Al Khalifa. Besides, the citizen’s rights were violated and this made them fight for their rights so that they could get back their dignity.
Protests were totally prohibited in this country and they arranged them secretly around the pearl square. They did not give up despite the protests against them by the government. They defended themselves by fighting back since they were tired of the merciless acts from the police.
The demonstrators also wanted the prisoners to be released, the government to be disbanded, investigations on the deaths of the demonstrators who were killed and improvements in the politics that would lead to a new constitution. Many people were killed and injured since the police used force to suppress the chaos. Most citizens complained about corruption in the government jobs as well as in housing facilities.
Demonstrations in Yemen were triggered by revolts from Tunisia and Egypt. They protested because they wanted the president, Ali Abdulla Saleh, to resign. Saleh responded by promising the citizens reform in the country and assured them that he will not run for the presidential seat in 2013. In spite of his promises, people still took to the streets and demonstrated against his government (Moore and Springborg 182).
Dangerous clashes that occurred between the citizens and the security forces were reported. After the protests intensified, the president promised the citizens a new referendum as well as a constitution but they turned down the offer. Presidents from other countries asked Saleh to resign due to the many deaths that occurred in the country. Saleh promised to resign in January 2012.
Protests in the Middle East have become a top agenda with many people examining the cause and the consequences of the mayhem. The main cause of this chaos is lack of democracy in these countries and so the citizens are not given the freedom to exercise their rights. Economic reasons such as high levels of inflation and lack of employment are also major factors that accelerate the need to riot.
Dictatorship and use of excess power by the police and military also made many citizens to go to the streets. Egypt and Tunisia succeeded from these demonstrations and now the citizens can exercise their freedom (Alexander 141). Many countries are also looking forward to this through street demonstrations.
Alexander, Christopher. Tunisia: Stability and Reform in the Modern Maghreb. New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Levy, Daniel. Israel’s Options after Mubarak. Al Jazeera, 2011. Web.
McGreal, Chris. Army and protestors disagree over Egypt’s path to democracy. Guardian, 2011. Web.
Moore, Clement and Springborg, Robert. Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East. P.10-197 Press Cambridge, Mass: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print.
Shadid, Anthony. Discontented Within Egypt Face Power of Old Elites. New York Times, 2011. Web.