Jasmine Revolution: An Overview

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The whole revolution starts of with in Tunisia with one man, named MohammedBouazizi burning himself due to shame and embarrassment he faces in a market due to confiscation of his wares by the local muncipality and what it results in is a whole change in the Arab world. It was literally “triggered off” thanks to this man, though sadly, he couldn’t stay alive to see what his act had caused. His burning causes the entire Tunisian administration to come under fire, it ends in the ousting of its leader of 23 years, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and then this very revolution just spreads all through the Arab world.

Egypt came next. The Egyptians rallied at Tahrir Square in Cairo and stayed there till their president of 30 years, Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Tunisia and Egypt were the biggest success in the whole of the revolution, which by the way, hasn’t ended as yet.

The success in Egypt and Tunisia has prompted several uprisings in the Arab world. There has been protests in Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and even Bahrain and Oman. The whole of the middle east has been shook up. The general trend in such countries has been of either a monarchical family ruling the country or it could be a dictator. Or else they would be a namesake democracy where their rulers would rule for years on end. Zine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak are the best examples. They have been in power for such a long time. Their countries are, at least on paper, democratic countries and they have managed to get themselves to win in every election.

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Other countries are not too good themselves. Saudi Arabia has been ruled by the Sauds since its existence. The Assads have ruled Syria for a long time, Bahrain was ruled by the Khalifas, Yemen has been ruled by Ali AbdullahSaleh for a long time now and almost the whole of the middle east is in a similar situation. Even Iran had similar protests. However in Iran, the protests were quelled down in time and very little could actually be done in Iran.

The other parts of the middle east too faced some sort of partial revolutions like the ones in Iran. Jordan and Syria are good examples. They did stir up some strong sentiments and feelings, but not enough to topple the administration and provide them with a stable and democratic form of government. However, the revolution is not yet over and we are yet to expect results from the revolution. Countries are stirring, but very slowly.

Though it was not expected to hit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, it did happen. Bahrain was hit pretty badly. In fact, the situation there went quite out of hand with protesters dying at the hands of the police. Things actually went quite bad and the monarch had to call for help from the Saudis. The Saudis had to send the National Guard in order to quell the riots in Bahrain. They did try to simulate a similar type of protests in Bahrain at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, however, the Bahrain protests did not end up in a success. Saudi was hit and surprisingly, women took the lead and demanded reforms. Saudi Arabia has some of the most oppressive laws against women. Women are not allowed to drive, they are not allowed to go out without wearing full clothes which even covers the eyes, they are not allowed to go out without a male escort like father, brother or husband and more such oppressive laws. Women protested these very laws but their protests were rather very passive. It did not yield a lot of results. Though things haven’t radically changed in Saudi Arabia, at least people are more aware of what they have been missing out on. This is a good start if you look at it.

People now realize that they are still a century behind the world. Every country is inching towards freedom. This oppression and restriction is not the way of the new world. These despotic leaders had kept their people in the dark and had violated their freedoms all the time. They did not let them voice their opinions and denied them their say in the nation’s affairs and happenings. It was all about the lack of awareness. At the end of the day, it was the injustice they have been facing all this time that had drove them for such a rapid change.

People in the middle east don’t have the chance to elect their leaders, they don’t have a right to criticize the government as they stand a chance of going to jail or face harder punishments. There is no political freedom as such and you cannot voice your opinions. So however economically prosperous you may be, you still won’t be happy because you are not free.

After the protests in Tunisia and Egypt were successful, all eyes turned to Libya. Libya was now the biggest problem in the Jasmine revolution. In Tunisia and Egypt, their dictators were at least of sound mind. In Libya, you have a madman who has no respect for anybody. The dictator is MuammarGaddafi and he has been in power for over 40 years which is perhaps one of the longest rule in the whole of the middle east – North Africa region. This is a man who has no conscience, no feelings nor has any logic. When protests in Libya started, nobody knew that it would not be an uprising, but an outright civil war. He used the army to try and quell the rebellion. But things backfired and many of his own soldiers joined the rebels . They captured Benghazi and established a stronghold there where they fought off the rest of the Libyan army which was loyal to Gaddafi. Gaddafi started using Libyan Air Force jets to kill the rebels. He didn’t care about the loss of life. He called mercenaries from nearby African countries and promised them with a lot of money if they killed protesters. They came by the hundreds and began their indiscriminate killing of the rebels.

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The world was now watching Libya as the government slowly started regaining control. Thankfully enough, the UN Security Council declared a No-fly zone over Libya under Article 42 of the UN charter. The Libyan Air Force now couldn’t do much as the NATO was now patrolling the Libyan skies and shooting down any plane that was being used to kill rebels. Gaddafi wasn’t disheartened. After all, the No-fly zone didn’t mean that he couldn’t use tanks or rocket launchers. He killed many rebels with heavy artillery and army skirmishes.

Thankfully enough, the world has finally woken up and taken the side of the rebels against this madman called MuammarGaddafi. The world has a unanimous voice which says “Gaddafi, you have to step down.” Gaddafi however has done very little. He is stubborn as a mule when it comes to the question of power. He refuses to step down. He still believes that he can crush the rebels even now. That is becoming tougher by the day when you see that most countries are now more openly supporting the rebels against Gaddafi.

Libya is not going to go down without a big fight. But nevertheless, things look good for the rebels and in the most likely scenario, Col. MuammarGaddafi will be removed from power.

The protests in Syria are intensifying even now. Al-Assad is getting worried about the situation in his country, there has been a lot of arrests and violence in many places. Assad is clearly very upset. That shows that the protests are gaining steam.

Things in Yemen are going bad. People are opposing Ali AbdullahSaleh and there is a lot of protests going on. Violence is increasing in Sana’a and Aden. But still things are looking good for Yemen as Ali AbdullahSaleh has considered stepping down from power and leaving the people of Yemen to choose their own leaders.

The Jasmine revolution is very significant when you look at the fact that it has changed the face of the middle east. The middle east was considered as a place which was ruled by a collection of despotic rules and dictators as well as monarchical regimes. People perceived the middle east as a place where there was lawlessness, there was no rights and no freedoms. The Jasmine revolution has changed that completely. They showed that the middle east is also eligible for a full democracy in their countries. They also have rights and freedoms and a life of dignity.

The Jasmine revolution also showed the world that the Arab people have a lot of frustration pent up within themselves. The revolution showed that the Arab people want what they had missed out on all this while.

The Jasmine Revolution has changed the face of the Arab world. And it is not over yet.

Copyright © 2011 AshwathKomath

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