A huge movement against the Arab autocracy and dictatorships began on December 17th 2010 in Tunisia when a man, Mohamed Bouazizi, had set himself on fire as means of protest because was constantly tormented by police for not having a permit for his stall, and ignored by the municipal office when he went to obtain one. Protests then began to erupt in Egypt on January 25th 2011, and two days later in Yemen it also touched down in Saudi, Bahrain, Syria, Libya, and Jordan. A group of common people held the movement, mostly young, who wanted a change. Dissatisfaction with local government ruling, and a widening gap between classes, due to a recession, were said to be the main causes of the Spring, and some say that this was a US sponsored event funded by the National Endowment for Democracy. However, there were multiple reasons for the protests and uprising across the Arab nations such as dictatorship, inequality, political corruption, economic downfall, poverty, ect. Some researchers felt that people also wanted to modernize the society, and adapt to a new way of life.
Social Media played a huge role in spreading the movement, people all over the Arab counties could share thoughts and ideas, therefore spreading them and allowing others to see that there were people who wanted the same changes and were angry at the same things. People would post videos, tweets, pictures using their own voices which was uncommon in Arab countries with mostly oppressive governments.
In some countries, the Arab spring was successful, many Arab countries are working toward reform and democracy in their governments however for other countries there is still an on-going battle. Unfortunately, in many places military action and harsh government forces have taken over and forced people to stop their protesting. Many lasting impacts have been made during this revolution. Arab people once again feel that they have a voice and are willing to speak up, and are willing to share their ideas with the world.
In my point of view, I feel that the spring was both effective and ineffective. In some areas, such as Syria things have only gotten worse while in Tunisia, a new government is being created and there is reform. Social movements and collective resistance are our rights as human beings, we should be able to speak out against oppressive higher powers. I believe that if they are done correctly these movements can bring about great changes that will have a long-term impact. However, most times, these movements become riots and radical actions are taken on both ends of the argument. It is our duty to create a better future, social movements and resistance are one way that we can take a step toward that future.
For further reading:
Al Jazeera: A Timeline of the Arab Spring
Source Watch: Arab Spring (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Arab_Spring)
Al Jazeera: Timeline: The Arab Spring (further reading link)
Wikipedia: The Arab Spring (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring)
The Triangle: Arab Spring brings success, failures (http://thetriangle.org/opinion/arab-spring/)