What is Arab Spring?

It seems as though every day we are waking up to crazy shit going down in the Middle East. Recently, beyond skirmishes and random suicide bombers, enormous waves of banned together citizens have risen up against dictatorial regimes. This has been called, Arab Spring a/k/a Arab Awakening. Can anyone say, American Revolution?


It is said that one man sparked a revolution, literally. On December 17th, 2010, when police confiscated his cart for not having a permit, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26 year old Tunisian fruit and vegetable street vendor, set himself on fire (called: self-immolation…damn). Arab Spring began the next day, December 18th, 2010. The people had had enough and within weeks ousted their two decade, authoritarian ruler. Props to Mohamed, one crazy, bad-ass revolutionary.

The Wave Crashes Down

Egypt and Yemen suddenly wake up as mostly angry youth groups and individuals take to the streets brazen with Tunisia’s recent victory.
• Egypt – Less than two months after Arab Spring set off, another ruler fell. This time, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak who ran like a little girl to a posh spa in the Red Sea.
• Bahrain – Valentine’s Day 2011, a gaggle of Persian Gulf islands off eastern Saudi Arabia get all uppity but Saudi troops tamp them down pretty fast.
• Libya – This country got their panties in a bunch over an arrested activist and came at Gadhafi with all they had, eventually putting a bullet in his head.
• Syria – March 16, 2011 President Assad continues to hold on to his blatant butchering of innocents. At this posting, approximately five to six thousand people have been capped by his military.
• Yemen – Yemeni revolutionaries get their cake when they blow up President Saleh. He doesn’t die but slithers to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment and continues to refuse stepping down until November 2011.

The Grandstands Fill

Suddenly, seeing a major threat to world energy production, several countries ban together to pressure leaders, impose sanctions and even assist rebels. The U.S. used drones and French air force swept in to bombard Gadhafi’s fleeing convoy; Syria continues to face sanctions as well as threatened military attacks from its neighbors; and leaders begin to go on trial, watching from afar as their countries thrive or implode without their leadership.

Democracy Tries to Blossom

Voting has begun throughout these newfound, yet often floundering countries. However tribal religious sects and stubborn military rule drastically slow down the political progress.


Currently the combined death toll of the Arab Spring is estimated between 32,000 and 38,000 people. The American Revolution took 25,324 lives in the name of freedom. Not much of a comparison given modern warfare however, human sacrifice for a major cause has always been a notable price.

Arab Spring is a testament to the power of the people. It is hard to believe it took this long given the laundry list of crimes against humanity. America has even had its own taste of revolt with the Tea Party and Occupy movements. Will we topple our leaders too?


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