Sparked in 2010 in Tunisia, this uprising was welcomed by many across the political spectrum as a birth of democracy in the Middle East. Others saw it as potentially dangerous and destabilizing.
How to make sense of the subsequent evolution (and some would call “death”) of the movement is perhaps the matter of greatest conflict - aka “What happened to the Arab Spring?” Overall, the passing of the Arab Spring is thus seen by some as predictable and expected (and the result of overwhelming authoritarian reaction), while others see it as tragic and lamentable (the result of relative inaction on the part of Western governments to support those seeking freedom).
Certainly, the subsequent regressive response by authoritarian governments in Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and other Arab countries was expected by many and fairly predictable - including by participants in the movement. Initially, there were hopes by many for outside support and intervention from the United States and other western countries to support those fighting for freedom. The limited American response, both to the popular uprisings and to the authoritarian crackdowns, has been framed in various ways.
Some see in the American military aid given to the highly repressive regimes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt a kind of tacit support for the authoritarian regimes’ response to the popular democratic movements. Others see in the failure of the United States to take a more active role in supporting the popular movements a failure to provide moral leadership in line with our professed democratic values. Others see in American actions, as well as in American inaction, a more pragmatic approach aimed at maintaining “stability” in the region.
QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:
-Why do you believe the Arab Spring seems to have died?
-Is there any way the Arab Spring could have succeeded?
-Will there be another future Arab Spring one day?
Arthur M. Peña, Jacob Hess
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