The Twitter Revolution

Boston, MA- The Arab Spring is a regional phenomenon that began in Tunisia on December 18th, 2010. The revolution began with the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor who set himself on fire to protest against the high levels of unemployment, high costs of food, high levels of corruption, censorship laws and lack of freedom of speech. This led to a series of demonstrations across the country which eventually led to the resignation of Zine Ben-Ali. This seemed like an isolated event yet it would soon be understood that it was anything but.  Little did the world know that this phenomenon would spread through all of North Africa and some of the gulf countries as well.

The domino effect of the Arab Spring that was initiated by Tunisia was immediately followed by another North African country: Egypt. Things played out differently in Egypt since Hosni Mubarak’s regime was already alert that a “Tunisian-Style” explosion could occur in his own country.  In Egypt,the protests ran for 18 days until finally on March 4th, Mubarak resigned from his position as president of the country.The level of importance of this revolution was not only measured by outcome but also because of the methods utilized in order to achieve the success they did.

The usage of social media in order to organize these protests was probably the most influential factor in the entire revolution.  In countries where things like internet censorship, news bias and alteration and government oppression towards freedom of speech were the norm, the common citizen rebelled against this oppression and utilized tools such as facebok and twitter in order to voice their ideals. The revolution was actually documented by the bloggers, twitter users and YouTube stars more so than the mainstream news networks. Hence the nickname “The Twitter Revolution.”

Former Middle East correspondent gives opinion about the aftermath of the Arab Spring

Boston, MA- It’s been over 18 months since the ending of the so called Arab Spring yet whether the aftermath of this movement was positive or negative is yet to be determined. The region is still going through convulsions that wont seem to be resolved in the near future, and turmoil seems to be returning with the series of attacks towards American organizations in the countries involved. In an interview with former Middle East correspondent Doug Struck, he stated that he doesn’t think the conflict will be resolved for the next 10 years, and that the roots of the crisis are much more economic than they are political. “The Arab Spring was much more than an effort to overthrow their authoritarian governments” said Struck “It was a reaction to the desperation of the people who did not see such a bright future ahead of them.”

Having lived in Cairo for five years during the first Gulf war in the early 90′s, Struck believes it is foolish to try and predict what will happen with these countries; but he does not see an Iran type regression to fundamentalist Islam in either Egypt or Tunisia. Both countries are very secular within Muslim Country standards with very high regards on women’s rights. He says that although the Muslim Brotherhood won in Egypt, they have a history of being very moderate and are not likely to impose religious laws on the Egyptian population. He also believes the reason why the Muslim Brotherhood won the elections in Egypt is because former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak never trusted the Brotherhood, which made the citizens of this country feel even more compelled to vote for them.

When asked his opinion about all the recent attacks to American embassies across the Middle East he said: “Its crazy to believe that after the fall of the dictatorships there wouldn’t be chaos. We shouldn’t be surprised that there is resentment towards the U.S. because they didn’t out these countries before” He states that the main problem the U.S has faced when dealing with Middle Eastern countries is that they usually only get to deal with the elite, who are very far removed from the actual situation of the rest of the country’s citizens.