When protests shook the streets of Tunisia in response to the tyrannical rule of leader President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, no one could have expected the domino effect that would ripple through the region. Dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’, the Tunisian uprising set a precedent for countries across the Middle East to cast off their dictatorship shackles and demand a new system of government.
There is barely a country in the Middle East that the Arab Spring (or rather, Arab Summer) that has not tarred with the revolutionary brush. With the precedent firmly set by Tunisia, and Egypt hastily following suit, the time seemed ripe in 2011 for ordinary people across the Middle East to demand better for themselves and their country.
With so many revolutions to choose from, it’s hard not to compare them. Although all follow a similar formula in their embryonic stages, each country’s rebellious movement has been unique. There are, however, a set of criteria that any good revolution should follow such as turnout and tenacity: how many citizens flooded the streets with war cries and homemade banners demanding change? How many of their protests made the rest of the world sit up and take note? Did the revolution merit foreign intervention? Was the corrupt regime removed? How many people burned themselves in the rebel-fire? How long did it all last, and did the media burnout in the interim?
Or, like Syria, has it mutated from revolution to other lesser recognisable forms? Syria has arguably spread into a brutal civil war along sectarian lines, that up until reports of chemical weapons use flooded in, had seen nothing but international inertia.
For some countries, like Egypt, it seems one revolution was not enough. Following the elections in June 2012 that saw Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi come to power as the first democratically elected president in Egypt’s history, one year later large swathes of the fickle Egyptian public were calling for his removal - his Islamist regime was not, it seemed, what they had signed up for. A toppled Morsi later, Egypt’s Arab Spring Part II is in full swing.
Although the Middle East has never been what one could call a haven of stability, revolutions are the movement ‘du jour’ and it is time they all came head to head with each other in a ratings war.
Here is our very own revolutions ratings - where the Arab Springers are lined up side-by-side to meet with the jury's verdict and scored for tenacity, outcome, and Che Guevara factor!