Time Magazine has selected the protestors for its cover page as the personality of the year. This selection signifies the protestors’ courage and sacrifice through their message against the corrupt, authoritarian regimes in the Arab world. Such an action was driven by courage, because they sent their message at the right time in protest of the unjust system that has been producing suffering and agony for the majority of the people.
The protestors shared a social identity and acted collectively to achieve their goal. They were driven by a common identity and purpose. The person who sparked the Arab spring revolution was Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire. It was not about the Tunisian police confiscating his fruit cart but when he went to the responsible officials, his complaint was ignored. He then set himself on fire. It was an act of self dignity.
His self sacrifice sparked the fire that led to the Tunisian revolution a year ago, which led to the collapse of the previous regime and ushered the country into a new stage that led to the first free democratic election in Tunisia. The political impact of the Tunisian revolution expedited the upheaval in the rest of the Arab world.
As a matter of fact, the political volcano was approaching explosion a few months before the Tunisian eruption in July 2010, as a result of the arrest and killing of Internet activist Khalid Saed. Khalid Saed was a courageous young man who exposed the filth of Egypt security personnel by putting pictures on the Internet involving drug trade. The Internet activist was the target of the Egyptian security forces in Alexandria. He was tortured to death. The Khalid Saed page on the Internet was the first step that mobilized tens of thousands of young people during the summer of 2010, who were connected through Facebook and other technological means of communication. Members of the Spider Network were the ones who called for the mass protest on January 25th, 2011, that led to the collapse of the Mubarak regime on February 11, 2011.
The political flames that sparked the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions also led to the removal of the Libyan regime and to ongoing civil wars in both Yemen and Syria, which ultimately will remove the corrupt regimes in both states.
Not too many experts or political analysts could have predicated the Arab Spring revolution, nor could they have predicted such a rapid and major impact, not only in the Arab world, but also on the entire world.
The lesson that has begun to develop in many countries is that when people, especially the younger generation, are dissatisfied with their political and economic conditions, they rebel even in democratic societies such as the U.S., Russia and other western states demanding reforms.
The Arab spring revolution removed the blanket of fear, especially in the Arab world, where the corrupt leaders have taken their people for granted and believed they could do whatever pleases them. This will no longer happen. For those who have been elected in Tunisia and Egypt, regardless of the color of their political ideology, they have to work hard and implement programs that will meet the needs of those who started the revolutions. After all, the unemployment factor and increasing poverty, among other important reasons, have ignited the spark that led to the use of public protests.
There are more than 25 million people who are unemployed, especially the young and college graduates, in the Arab world. In any society, when the young get their education and are not able to find jobs, they are walking ticking bombs. A report issued by the World Bank stated that the Arab states need to create at least 100 million jobs during the next twenty years to met the rising needs for employment. Arab oil producing states in general should invest part of their money surplus in the Arab world, instead of investing it in the west.