Is the Arab spring over?
Arab spring, a political uprising, started after the self-immolation of a street vendor in Tunisia in December 2010. Gradually, demonstrations erupted in neighboring countries and within a year Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Tunisia came under violent protests. Protestors demanded democratic leadership, rule of law, economic progress, eradication of corruption and employment etc. Though the protests ended three years later, yet many grievances including corruption, political, economic and social reforms remained in places to be addressed. A new series of upheavals emerged in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Sudan in 2019. Violent clashes took over Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Sudan and Tunisia. People again were demanding freedom, good governance, end to corruption, employment and want the wealth of nation to be distributed justly and evenly. These protests were mainly surveyed in countries that somehow managed to escape the Arab spring of 2011 and the current unrest is perhaps the continuation of the unaddressed grievances.
Syria, Libya and Yemen descended into a civil war and collapse. In Egypt and Bahrain state forced counterrevolution with the help of external forces. Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq are under huge debts and economic pressure is mainly what has triggered these new protests. On the other hand, there is still a distinction between what is happening in Iran and other Middle Eastern states. Though Iran has increased the prices of fuel to a large extent, but still major Iranian riots are against the government being financed and supported by westerners. In Tunisia however, we saw peaceful political transition, still we cannot label it as a success. Economy is struggling, civilians are being attacked and preceding political leaders try to hamper the democratic culture from within the institutions.
It is evident that Arab spring has not yet ended and world is waiting for a catalyst that can bring Middle East to fire once again. Pandemic has entered into 2021 and we can expect a new wave of Arab spring as economic pressure and political suppression continue to reside. But In one way or another, there will be some sort of change or reform, maybe governance would improve, maybe more freedom would be imparted to the public, and most certainly the leadership would be more independent in the days to come