Revolution in Tunisia and Egypt

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In the beginning of this year, some Arab countries experienced a number of riots and protests from the citizens who opposed their respective governments. Citizens of these countries accused their government of being corrupt, oppressive, and dictatorial. Also, many citizens blamed their government for high unemployment levels and high cost of living, poor living standards and poverty in their respective countries. Antigovernment protests began in Tunisia and spread to other countries in both Africa and Asia continents (Oxford Business Group, 2011). The revolutionary momentum became unstoppable, and resulted in shaking of ruling regimes.

Revolutionary waves spread from Tunisia to other countries, such as Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and Iran among other Arab countries (Onyeka, 2011). The revolutionary protests experienced recently in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries aimed at overthrowing dictatorial and corrupt governments from power (Arieff, 2011). These revolutions started in Tunisia, and inspired antigovernment protests in other countries in the Arab world, where protesters fought for democracy in their countries. In Tunisia, protests started in the mid-December 2010 and resulted to the falling of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s government in the middle of January 2011.

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Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was the president of Tunisia for 23 years, and the citizens of this country accused his government of dictatorship and corruption (Justin C. De Leon, 2011). Unlike revolutions that took place in Libya, and the ongoing protests in Syria where the Army supported their governments, in Tunisia and Egypt, things happened to be different. This is because, in Tunisia despite the emergence of clashes between the loyal police forces and protesters, the military forces refused to fire protesters. The military forces in Tunisia stood against Ben Ali’s government.

On the other hand, the military forces in Egypt supported President Hosni Mubarak, but it reached a time when the military forces refused to fire on protestors. The most noticeable event happened in Tahrir Square, where exceedingly many protesters had camped to force Hosni Mubarak to resign his power. The army did not attack the protesters since they had also lost confidence in their respective governments. As a result of overwhelming demonstrations in the major cities of both countries, and lack of military support, both the President Ben Ali of Tunisia, and the President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt were obliged to resign their power.

After Tunisian protesters had toppled Ben Ali’s government, he managed to flee in exile to South Arabia. Revolution in Tunisia got precipitated by poor living conditions among the majority of citizens in Tunisia, particularly in the global economic crises that contributed to high prices on basic commodities such as food (inflation), and unemployment. Also, these protests got precipitated by the increasing citizen’s frustration at rampant corruption, lack of freedom of self expression among other political freedoms. The protests became extremely severe, and forced Ben Ali to resign, and fled from Tunisia.

After the end of protest in Tunisia, new protests emerged in Egypt on January 25, 2011. The uprising in this country resulted to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. In Egypt, the greatest protests took place in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez. On the other hand, the revolutionary uprisings experienced in countries, like Tunisia, Egypt, and other Arab countries, relied heavily on the social media, the Internet, and related technologies, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TwitPic. These Internet tools helped in the early phases of revolution to accelerate the protest (Ann Macintosh, 2011).

Despite the fact that the protests in the Arab countries relied on the social media, there was less evidence that social media played a key role in some other countries, like Yemen, where there is low Internet penetration. Also, there is no concrete evidence linking the social media with the protests in Libya, since the government had cracked down the Internet applications more effectively. In Syria, which is currently facing demonstrations, the role of social media has been more limited due to fears on the possibility that the government monitors the online behavior.

Although the role played by the social media in Yemen and Syria seems to be limited, in Tunisia and Egypt, the success of revolution largely relied on the social media because people were able to organize their protests using the Internet resources. In the countries, like Egypt, the government tried to squelch technologies used by protestors in organizing the demonstrations by largely shutting down mobile connection, and Internet, but this could not stop the revolutionary momentum since it was overwhelming.

Despite the attempts by the government to block people from communicating through the Internet or cell phones, revolution in Egypt succeeded, and lead to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s government. As a result of the role that social networks played in Tunisia and Egypt, other Arab countries, such as Syria, Jordan, and Yemen among others, feared that social networking mobilization, enabled by the Internet applications, can result to youth uprisings in their countries.

In order to avoid what happened in Tunisia and Egypt, the leader of these countries are trying to find new ways of ending protests; but countries, like Syria, have been unsuccessful in ending demonstrations. It is believed that protesters in these countries had a marvelous coordination. For example, it is believed that protesters in Tunisia and Egypt communicated using the Internet tools, like Facebook and Twitter. In both Tunisia and Egypt, social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, played a vital role in the revolution success. Protesters used to communicate, and plan protests in various cities using Facebook and Twitter.

Antigovernment protests became extremely severe in some countries, and claimed the lives of many citizens. This is because, in some countries, protesters fought with the government supporters, or the military that supported the dictatorial governments. For example, in the countries, like Libya, many people were killed because some citizens fought in favor of the government. Also, in this country military forces supported Gaddafi’s government, this lead to a severe fight between the government forces and the rebel forces assisted by NATO troops.

Additionally, many people were killed by government forces. Finally, revolutionary efforts in Libya succeed after overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi’s government, who was accused of dictatorship. Other than claiming the lives of many citizens, revolution in Libya claimed the life of Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by the antigovernment rebels and the NATO forces. This paper puts more emphasis on Tunisia and Egypt, which succeeded in their revolution efforts by overthrowing their respective governments. This paper discusses the main reasons that made the protesters and rebels stand against their governments.

Tunisia, being small in size and tidy, has got large middle-class intellectuals amid over 10 million people population, and an extensive tradition of calm politics. Unlike Tunisia, Egypt is large, but quite chaotic with most people living in Cairo its capital alone than in the entire Tunisia. Few Egypt’s rich and the multitude of the poor live in essentially dissimilar worlds, and went through a century of battle and changing ideologies previous to the imposed 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak (Council on Foreign Relations, 2011).

However, the revolutions in both countries took place hardly a month apart, they trailed remarkably related patterns. The unsteady aftermaths of those seizures also seem much alike, as both the countries fumble their way system into a more difficult new world. Both states of Tunis and Cairo respectively remain apprehensive states. The excitement of empowerment since the falling of detested dictators has principally passed away. After all the revolutionary violence and riots in the major cities of the two countries, now the citizens feel relieved.

Despite all the problems that the citizens of these countries went through, they are now highly excited because of gaining their political freedom. Because of the passionate core of the revolutionaries in both Tunisia and Egypt, which comprised of trade unionists, secular liberals, and Islamists among others, both countries are determined to ensure lasting solution and avoid the possibilities of having such revolutionary protests and riots in future. This is because, in the process of revolution, the stability of the country may be affected in terms of economic stability, public safety, and public service delivery.

When protestors from Tunisia moved to streets with the aim of overthrowing Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s government, social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, assisted them in organizing the protests in various cities across Tunisia (Joel Beinin, 2011). When Tunisia government received the reports linking social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, with the protests and riots, officials, who supported the government, started to mysteriously attack the Facebook users.

Later, prospective users started complaining to Facebook that there was a possibility that their accounts got hacked by unknown people. It turned out that the government officials, involved in hacking the accounts of Facebook users, were allegedly directing Facebook users to a different page, grasped their account passwords, and were regularly deleting all the information they posted on their accounts. As a result, Facebook came up with a decision to implement https, which was a more safe way of accessing Facebook accounts to all users in Tunisia.

This initiative played a vital role in protecting users’ information, and made it extremely hard for other people to hack Facebook accounts. Surprisingly, during the recent revolution in Egypt, the similar issues emerged among the protesters, who opposed Hosni Mubarak’s leadership. Compared to Tunisia, this problem materialized in large scale in Egypt. In this country, one fourth of the entire population can access the Internet, and have the largest blogging community among the Arab countries. Protestors in Egypt took advantage of Facebook to connect with each other (Sokari Ekine, 2011).

For example, some reports revealed that there was one Facebook event page for protests that comprised of more than 90,000 citizens who had signed to attend. As it happened in Tunisia, Facebook provided https option to all Facebook users in Egypt, and the world at large. In both Tunisia and Egypt, some referred these protests as “Facebook revolutions,” or “Twitter revolutions” (Martin, 2011). In an attempt to curb the protests in Egypt, the Egyptian government decided to shut down internet access in the entire country.

Despite the government’s attempt to block Egyptian protesters from accessing the Internet, revolutionary momentum in Egypt was unstoppable. As a matter of fact, Facebook and Twitter were largely used by protesters not only in Egypt and Tunisia, but also in other Arab countries, like Libya, Yemen, Algeria, and Iran among other Arab nations. Protesters used this mean of communication, because it was safer and more confidential mean of communication, as compared to making phone calls, or sending text messages.

In Tunisia, Ben Ali’s government attempted to stop the protests through violence, and conducting reforms in the last minute. Later the military forces of Tunisia intervened against the security forces that were loyal to the government. This contributed to the resignation of Ben Ali. Because of the success of the protesters in Tunisia, activists and opposition groups in Egypt planned a demonstration in January 25, 2011, which was the National Police Day. The citizens in Egypt participated in demonstrations in order to protest against abuse by the police.

As it happened in Tunisia, the demonstrations in Egypt emerged due to the same frustrations, such as corruption, high levels of unemployment, and lack of political freedoms. The protests in Egypt were well-planned through the social media, such as blogging, social media, and video sharing to encourage people to protest. In Egypt, there was the sequence of demonstrations involving civil resistance, prohibited by the government of Egypt. This series of protests had continued for several weeks, but later spread to various main cities in the country.

The spread of these protests to the major cities in Egypt resulted to violence since the protesters in the cities clashed with the police forces loyal to the President Hosni Mubarak. Although the loyal police forces tried to stop the demonstrations in the cities of Egypt, it reached a point when the military forces supported the protesters, and refused to fire upon the people protesting, most notably, in a place called Tahrir Square, where the demonstrating citizens camped out in a civil resistance. This obliged Hosni Mubarak to resign his power in February 2011.

By cutting off the Internet, and other wireless services in Egypt during the time of overwhelming protests in the streets of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak betrayed his own fear that Twitter, Facebook, laptops, and smart phones could empower people who opposed his government; he displayed his weakness across the globe and overthrow his government. The main reason that made Hosni Mubarak cut down Internet was the fact that he was aware of the role that the Internet and the wireless services played in Tunisian revolution, which toppled Ben Ali’s government, who went on exile after the protests became irresistible.

The major sources of uprisings in Tunisia were due to government corruption, inequality, joblessness, and censorship. Many youths, who participated in demonstrations, protested against the government, accused the government of failing to grant them jobs, despite the fact that they were well-educated. In Tunisia, the protests started in December 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi, who was a college-educated street vendor in Sidi Bouzid, burned himself in hopelessness, frustration, and joblessness.

Sidi Bouzid died due to fire burns, and this incidence motivated many youths to participate in demonstrations against the government, due to poor living conditions they experienced because of the lack of jobs. The protests in Tunisia got precipitated quickly by the online Internet tools, despite the enactment of strict web censorship laws by the Tunisia’s Government. As a result of the role played by the Internet tools in the recent revolution that took place in Tunisia, their success raised various questions on whether these social networks could be used by new opposition movements in he future to challenge the operations of the new government. On the other hand, the Internet tools also played a key role in Egypt. The Internet tools that were used included, Facebook and Twitter. Reports on revolution in Egypt reveal that in one day more than 90,000 citizens had signed up on a Facebook page for demonstrations. The organizers of protests in Egypt comprised of people who stood against torture, corruption, poverty, and unemployment.

When the protests began, the banned Muslim Brotherhood, which is the most powerful opposition movement in Egypt had said that it would not officially take part in the antigovernment protests, but some of its members participated in the protests in Cairo, and other main cities in Egypt. The use of Facebook, TwitPic, and YouTube enabled the protesters to distribute photographs and videos, this contributed to the faster spread of protests across Egypt (Reich, 2011).

Egyptian opposition leaders affirmed January 25, 2011, as a “Day of Rage” to mark where the protesters would participate in demonstrations to protest against Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. Individuals, who moved to streets to protest against the government, comprised of Islamists, secularists, and Communists who represented the opposition in Egypt. Some people believed that the recent overthrow of Ben Ali’s dictatorship in Tunisia by democratic opposition movement contributed to the demonstrations in Egypt, and other countries in the Arab world.

Although the accurate number of people, who participated in demonstrations, was not known, an enormous flood of videos and photographs on the Internet revealed that remarkably many people participated in the Egypt protests. To some extent, it is believed that the WikiLeaks acted as the catalyst to the revolutions in the Arab countries, especially in Tunisia. For example, in Tunisia, WikiLeaks revealed sensitive information about the operations of the government, and the corruptions that were going on in Ben Ali’s government. The information provided by WikiLeaks originated from the leaked American diplomatic cables.

According to Mr. Assange, who is the founder of WikiLeaks, the leaked cables precipitated revolutions in the Arab countries since they were able to realize how corrupt their governments were. According to Mr. Assange, the release of the leaked diplomatic information was vital, not because it revealed new information to the people of Tunisia and Egypt about the incidences of corruption that used to happen in their countries, but because they exposed that both the U. S. and European governments were alert of the corruption that was taking place within the governments of the two countries.

Additionally, Mr. Assange explains that the release of the leaked American diplomatic information created political crises for the rulers in the region as well as leaders in foreign countries. He believes that the created political crises made it impossible for both American and French governments to help the presidents of both Tunisia and Egypt, as they might have done. As a result, Mr. Assange believes that since French and American governments did not come to aid the presidents of both Tunisia and Egypt; the revolution in Tunisia and Egypt succeeded.

Although some people believe that WikiLeaks took part in the revolution in both countries, many people in Egypt believe that revolution in Egypt happened due to inspiration from the success of revolution in Tunisia. In both Tunisia and Egypt, education played a significant role in the occurrence of the uprisings in the major cities, this is because many youths in both countries are educated, and this made them more aware of their political rights and freedoms. Therefore, educated youth opposed their respective governments because they felt that authoritarian governments violated their rights.

Also, the participation of youth in the antigovernment protests was because many youth in both countries were educated, but the employment opportunities were extremely limited compared to the number of youth looking for jobs. This means that many youth graduated from colleges and university, but they could not get jobs due to the huge number of graduates, who competed for remarkably few job opportunities provided by their respective governments. The largest number of protesters in the major cities of Tunisia and Egypt comprised of youths.

This was because young people got highly frustrated since the lack of jobs subjecting them to poor living standards. For example, in Egypt many youths have graduated but they are afraid of their future lives due to the lack of jobs in the country. For example in Egypt, citizens below the age of 30 years represent two-thirds of the total population in Egypt, and every year, another 700,000 youth graduate from various colleges and universities, but surprisingly, all these new graduates chase only 200,000 new jobs.

This means that less than half of the new graduates get jobs, while others become frustrated due to the lack of jobs. Also, in Tunisia, it was the same case, there were many well-educated youth, but employment opportunities were limited. For example, in Tunisia, Mohamed Bouazizi, who was a college-educated street vendor in Sidi Bouzid, burned himself in hopelessness and frustration contributed by joblessness. This is one of the main reasons that made many youth participate in demonstrations, compared to the older people in both Tunisia and Egypt.


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New York: Nova Science Publishers. Martin, I. G. (2011). Political Participation, Democracy and Internet: Tunisian Revolution. Munich: GRIN Verlag. Onyeka, O. M. (2011). The Trouble With The World. Ottawa: WSIC EBooks Ltd. Reich, B. (2011). Shift and Reset: Strategies for Addressing Serious Issues in a Connected Society. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Relations, C. o. (2011). The New Arab Revolt: What Happened, What It Means, and What Comes Next. New York: Council on Foreign Relations. Sokari Ekine, F. M. (2011). African Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions. London: Fahamu/Pambazuka.

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