Egyptian Revolution: The Spread of the Arab Spring

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was one of a cluster of dictators controlling the Arab world who rigged elections and tortured dissidents (BBC, 2011).  He enriched himself at his people’s expense, much like Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Muammar Ghaddafi of Libya, and Bashar al-Assad of Syria.  Through north Africa and the Arab world, there was a shared hatred for these dictators.  As the Jasmine Revolution of Tunisia spread throughout Tunisia, the rest of the Arab world watched in awe.  By January 12, 2011, Ben Ali bowed to the protests and fled the country for Saudi Arabia.  Ben Ali controlled Tunisia with an iron fist for 24 years, but it took a mere 24 days to overthrow his regime (BBC, 2011).

Inspired by the Jasmine Revolution, the Egyptians caught the fire of revolution.  Six months before Mohamad Bouazizi set himself on fire, Khaled Saeed was brutally beaten and murdered by Egyptian police for exposing the Mubarak regime’s corruption online (BBC, 2011).  Saeed’s brother took a picture of his brother’s disfigured corpse, and his family posted the picture online for the world to see.

Facebook had 5 million users in Egypt and hence Saeed’s story spread quickly. Emboldened by the events in Tunisia, a mass protest was organized through Facebook one day in advance on January 24, 2011 (BBC, 2011).  Since only 20% of Egyptians had access to Internet, a unique strategy was developed encorporating Cairo’s taxi drivers (BBC, 2011).  Since cab drivers were known to carry news, they were targeted to spread the word of the planned protest.  In addition, courageous dissidents such as Asmaa Mahfouz plead the Egyptians to unite and protest.  Great efforts were taken to confuse the Egyptian police by giving mixed signals as to where the protest was going to be held.  On January 25, 2011, more than 40,000 Egyptians took to Tahrir Square to protest the Mubarak regime, previously unimaginable.

Inspired by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and Syria soon joined the Arab spring with new ambition towards achieving democracy(Alexander, 2011).

Works Cited

Alexander, H. (2011, February 1). Jordan: revolution fears in Algeria, Yemen and Syria. Retrieved May 4, 2012, from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/jordan/8297297/Jordan-revolution-fears-in-Algeria-Yemen-and-Syria.html

BBC. (2011, September 6). How FaceBook Changed The World The Arab Spring. Retrieved May 2, 2011, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnPR90dJ3Gk

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