Arab Spring: Why Did it Fail to Bring Political Change?

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It has almost been a decade since the glaring display of Mohommad Al-Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruitseller, of setting himself on fire due to destitution. However, such destitution caused by the depravity of politicians seems to have borne a little fruit. The popular uprisings across the Middle East ignited by this shocking event and dubbed as ‘The Arab Spring’, failed to bring any considerable change in the lives of Arabs as they still dream for true democracy in their countries. The majority of Arabs are still suffering under the yoke of corrupt and authoritarian politicians, exclusive political and economic institutions and endemic tyranny. Their dreams for change are shattered by the replacement of one corrupt regime with another of the worse kind and the concepts of freedom of speech, expression and dissent are almost alien to them. Further, the status quo seems to continue as far as the future can be sighted.

The first reason for the absence of democracy in Arab states is their long period of monarchical rule. The monarchy, in Arab states, has persisted over time withstanding all periods of turmoil and has emerged to be the only viable form of government in these states. Therefore, to change the status quo is not in the best interest of the rulers. On the other hand, the people have become content with living under monarchy so much so that they do not raise any voices for change.

Secondly, continuous warfare, instability and chaos have become the festering sores of the majority of the Arab countries. Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine as well as Lebanon have been suffering from war since long. Owing to this sorry state, any revolutionary fervour fails to gain hold and dilutes before yielding any consequential result. Any political upheaval, therefore, is like a bubble on the surface of the water which emerges but ultimately settles down without any effect.

Furthermore, those at the helm in Arab states have consolidated power and grip. They do not tolerate any dissent and punish those who resist to toe the line. Hence, either no political opposition arises or even if it arises, it is choked, silenced and made a frightening precedent for others. The matters of the state are exclusively run by few who are succeeded as per inheritance rather than the popular vote. There is no freedom of speech, press, opposition, and, hence, no democracy.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, the Arab states are still under the age-old monarchical rule. While the people in the majority of countries today enjoy all sorts of political, social and economic rights under the banner of democracy, those in the Arab states have been living under the same system for ages. Nevertheless, if any prospect for democracy is to be materialized, it is only with persistent and concrete efforts; else, the status quo will continue.