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The Arab Spring Essay

1022 words - 4 pages

Democracy- hungry Tunisians began the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and clashes in protest of ill treatment and corruption, beginning a revolutionary wave of protests known as the Arab Spring. The severity of repression in Tunisia was the underlying cause of the Arab spring. Self-immolation, and mass protests mobilized resulted in the overthrow of regime. Major governmental changes and swift reforms were made. The transition to democracy began. Tunisian protests had influenced other countries (with the same major goal of ousting authoritarian regime) and spread to the rest of Arab world through media.

Demonstrations in Tunisia were preceded by repression: high unemployment, food inflation, corruption, lack of freedom of speech and other forms of political and poor living conditions. For example, Tunisia was ranked 184 out of 196 for the least amount of freedom of press. News media could not report about events freely; the government had tight control over the press, radio, and television; and rebroadcasting of foreign programming was restricted. Journalists were threatened with banned newspapers, arrested and even put to jail. Human rights violations were allegedly perpetrated by Tunisia security forces, and many faced police brutality. The fight against terrorism was used by the government as a defense to crack down on legitimate political activities. Political prisoners reportedly suffered discrimination and harsh treatment, while others even opted for hunger strike in protest to ill-treatment by prison guards. Repression severely tested the populations’ limit beyond their bursting point; frustration was sky-high. If a government takes away the hopes of the people and suppress them, they will revolt.

The protests constituted of the most dramatic wave of social and political unrest in Tunisia (in three decades) started by police brutality, and human rights violation. On December 18, 2010, street vendor Mohammad Bouazizi self-immolated himself in protest against police brutality. He had his stall confiscated, was arrested, and humiliated by officers. Bouazizi is considered a martyr by the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). Following Bouazizi's death, a wave of unrest struck all of Tunisia; mass demonstrations, revolts and revolution took place. The situation was disastrous: widespread death and injuries of 300+ Tunisians, most the result of actions by police and security forces against demonstrators. Demonstrators demand better living conditions and a stop to police brutality and corruption. The floodgates of endurance have broken; people cannot hold their anger inside. Repressive governments probably will not change unless masses collectively rise.
The series of protests resulted in freedoms gained by the people. President Ben Ali was ousted and Prime Minister Ghannouchi stepped down. Ben Ali fled into exile in Saudi Arabia. 23 years of repressive ruling had finally ended. The government was overthrown and the people...

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