Know how the Arab Spring began in Tunisia in 2011, causing ripples of political unrest in countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Discover how the use of Social Media helped power the transition and changed the course of history forever. These successive revolutions fueled by anger and opposition to years of oppression are results of a fire that was burning deep inside the people.
Although the Middle East and North Africa uprisings did not take place during a particular calendar season.
They were generally referred to as the Arab Spring, and they alluded to the so-called Prague Spring, the 1968 Democratic Revolution, and Czechoslovakia.
The timeline begins:
The first spark
A street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi was approached by Tunisian authorities about his unlicensed cart.
He offered to pay a fine but instead his vegetables were confiscated and he was publicly humiliated by the police.
Afterwards to add insult to injury local officials refused to hear his complaints of harassment and as a form of protest Bouazizi stood in front of the local governor’s office and set himself on fire. He succumbed to his injuries on January 4th.
President on the run
Bouazizi became a martyr who encouraged those who were enduring hardship at the hands of a corrupt administration. His death triggered a Tunisian movement in which demonstrators armed themselves not only with posters, but also mobile phones causing demonstrations to spread to social media across the world beginning on 11 January, a week after the death of Bouazizi, Tunisia’s government collapsed and the humiliated President Ben Ali fled the region.
Revolution becomes widespread
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak steppes down
The Dictator dies in Libiya
Libya ended the dictatorship and the life of their leader Muammar Gaddafi who was captured and killed by Libyan Rebel militia.
Yemen joins the revolution
Ali Abdullah Saleh formally ceded power to his deputy Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and stepped down as the President of Yemen
Although some of the Arab Spring demonstrations have addressed political reforms. Unfortunately, not all of them have brought significant reform for working-class citizens like Mohamed Bouazizi.
The uprisings were co-opted by Islamic extremists, such as ISIS, as a part of the revolution against secular Arab regimes on their own agenda, as governments collapsed in countries like Syria and Iraq, the Rebel Movement moved in to fill the gap by employing strong-arm methods and even brute force without caring for civilians.
Did Arab Spring actually address any of the issues faced by the population of countries in which it toppled the governments?
Is Social media the right tool to fuel revolutions or it can be manipulated to change the course of a revolution to satisfy the extremist agendas of a handful?
What do you think?
Sources: BBC News / Aljazeera / Huffington Post