Lost in translation: The Arab Spring - Where is it now?

Published December 18th, 2013 - 14:36 GMT

Rate Article:

 
PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)
Tunisia Ennahda
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Tunisia: Following the trail-blazing ouster of President Ben Ali, the Islamist party Ennahda came to power. After the assassination of two secular politicians, public anger against the government grew. However, the Islamist party has agreed to give up power and give way to elections next year. Arab Spring holds sway in its place of birth.

Libya protests Qadaffi
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Libya: Gaddafi was overthrown after 42 years in power. A General National Congress was elected in 2012. Since then, the country has been engulfed in turmoil between the government and the rebels. Recently, militias kidnapped the Prime Minister (for a day) and have severely disrupted the oil supply. Arab spring has morphed into Arab chaos.

Morocco Protests
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Morocco: After protests broke out demanding the King reduce his powers and the government combat corruption, the King passed constitutional reforms, ratified after a national referendum. It’s not a democracy, but by and large, the people seemed to be satisfied upon passage of the referendum. Arab Spring served up royal concessions and reform.

Brotherhood elected to power
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Egypt: After the Mubarak regime was toppled, the Brotherhood was elected to power, only to be deposed by the military after a divisive spell in power. A referendum on a constitution will take place in Jan. 2014. On the human rights front, Egypt was voted as the worst country for women in a recent poll. Arab Spring Epic Fail.

hirak
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Jordan: King Abdullah replaced PM & parliament after protests by the Brotherhood & the youth "hirak" erupted. Now, protest stamina is spent. It seems that the Kingdom values stability after seeing its neighbor’s unrest. But it’s too early to say if Jordan’s Arab Spring ‘turn-off’ is the end of their jolty spring story.

syria conflict
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Syria: This is now a protracted conflict zone --with over 115,000 people dead and millions of refugees, Syria has suffered the most in a battle between the regime and the rebels. The international community's efforts notwithstanding, peace seems distant. A copy-cat Spring has turned Syria upside-down. Syria killed the joy of Arab Spring for all.

arrested in bahrain
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Bahrain: The minority Sunni government brutally cracked down on the 2011 Arab Spring protests by the Shia populace. In the last six months, 1,200 people have been arrested and the Bahrainis have had a bloody time of it. The Arab Spring (ignored) continues to bubble and could very well spill over.

iraq bombs
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Iraq: After the US forces withdrew from Iraq, violence between the Sunnis and the Shias has escalated to levels not seen since 2006-2007. The Kurds seem to have come out the winners and experts believe that the beleaguered minority could soon achieve their dream of statehood. So, from spring to sectarian strife and possible statehood.

Yemen al qaeda
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh was overthrown after 33 years in power. However, since then large swathes of Yemeni territory have fallen to Al Qaeda and Houthi rebels. Tension has flared between the North and the South. The country seems to be on the brink of an imminent implosion. A far cry from Arab Spring hopes!

Qatar increased the salary
  Pause  
  Play  

Image 1 of 10: Gulf: Qatar increased the salary of public sector workers. With the affluent from Iraq, Syria moving to the UAE, the real estate prices in Dubai have exploded. The Saudi King announced measures to fight unemployment and inflation. Migrant workers grumble, but they are being deported. The Arab Spring is real for the select few - Elite Arab Spring!

Three years ago, a fruit seller in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest against the corruption prevalent among the Tunisian police and the government. His act of defiance sparked off a series of protests that shook monarchs and authoritative governments across the Middle East, a region home to over 380 million people.   

When the protests first erupted, they inspired a sense of hope in the Middle East.  People believed that their collective action could inspire change in a region dominated by calcified and oppressive power structures.  The sense of renewal inspired the BCC Middle East policy analyst Roger Hardy to coin the term “Arab Spring.”

Indeed, even now as one thinks back to the scenes of millions of people gathered in public squares in Egypt and Bahrain, one can’t help being moved by the feeling of optimism generated by the prospect of imminent change. The feeling of hope can best be described in the words of the great Syrian poet Nissar Qabbani:“To leave the backward desert life/Sit beneath the trees/Bathe in spring water/And learn the names of the flowers.”

But three years since its inception, has the Arab Spring delivered on its promise? Has democracy been ushered in across the region? Has there been an improvement in the living standards of people? Have there been an improvement in the condition of religious minorities and women?

At first glance, the Arab Spring protests seem to have borne fruit in countries like Tunisia and Morocco. However, in countries like Egypt, Bahrain and Syria, they have deeply polarized the population. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, been tortured or displaced from their homes.

In the midst of all the fighting, human rights (particularly for the most vulnerable pockets of the population) seems to have taken a beating. And as 10 unpredicted outcomes of the Arab Spring brings to bear, social media has been exposed as a tool of the affluent and multilingual segments of the population -- a select few-- and so far, has proven unable to drive meaningful change.

Does this all sound complicated?

Fret not!

View this slide show of Arab Spring metamorphosis to quickly find out how different countries and regions have actually fared in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Learn what the people in each country aspired to and what has really transpired.

 

Advertisement

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.