Arab Spring Reflections

The Arab Spring, which stretched over the course of 2011, has its effects on many parts of the world. It all started in Tunisia, when a man whose property was taken from him by the police without reason burnt himself to death on the street. This occurrence attracted attention and further angered the people in the country, who were already dissatisfied with the poverty, high unemployment and corruption in Tunisia. The anger boiled in the public for a long time, then turned into a revolution. As a result, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in ruling power. The people in neighboring countries like Egypt and Libya, who were experiencing the same problems as those in Tunisia, saw that it was possible for them to overthrow their governments too. A long-standing revolution thus broke out. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak was overthrown without much violence and damage to the infrastructure, but unfortunately, this did not apply for countries like Libya or Syria. In Libya, the government threatened to quash the protestors if they were attacked or sanctioned. Thus, the UN voted unanimously that a no-fly zone would be imposed on Libya to make sure that Gaddafi would not bomb the protestors using the air force. However, when the situation did not improve in the country, French warplanes were sent in to help, and not too long after, a full blown civil war erupted in Libya. Gaddafi then retreated into his stronghold but was still killed. However, Syria’s government is still desperately holding on to power, and does not have any qualms about killing its own citizens.

The impact of the Arab Spring? Anger was sparked in many Western states, which was one of the reasons for intervention in Libya. They despise the violent way in which the Middle East countries are ruling their countries. Organisations for peace such as the UN are also against such violence. Countries that depend on military rule these days are unable to stay in power for long, if that is what they are looking for. If they are violent, sanctions will be placed on them. Therefore, they have no chance of gaining means to any trade and income from the outside world and become very poor. At this point, these brutal countries have no choice but to stop their violent acts or their country will fall into bankruptcy, and they would be overthrown. Even if this did not happen, the pressure from other world powers will slowly push them off the ruling seat. One example of this occurrence is in Burma. The military junta, Than Shwe, slowly lost the support of the people when the country became extremely poor and had many serious but unsolved problems such as child labor and civil war. Shortly, he had no choice but to give up his place. The people in the world are demanding more freedom and democracy place, where violent ruling is no longer accepted. With the increase in education throughout all countries, the people now know their worth. They are increasingly aware of their rights and what they can do. Using the social networking sites now easily accessible by a growing number of people, the oppressed now have a means through which they can express their feelings as well as find a way to group together with those of similar ideals. The time has come for countries to discard violence and embrace soft power, by means of diplomacy and discussions.

For a more personal reflection, I too have learnt many things from the Arab Spring. Our lives are like a small depiction of the world – so things that apply to the world can also be applied to us, and vice versa. We can thus deduce that using violence, or brute force methods will not help us to solve the problems we have, but instead aggravate them. In order to become a more productive and peaceful society, we have to start learning to give and take, and respect others, and if any problems arise, only use our power and authority as the last resort.


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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.