News / Middle East

Arab Spring Still a Work in Progress

Arab Spring Still Work in Progressi
X
January 25, 2013 8:51 PM
As Egyptians mark the second anniversary of their revolution, experts are assessing the actual impact of the Arab Spring, which many people expected to transform the Middle East. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
— As Egyptians mark the second anniversary of their revolution, experts are assessing the actual impact of the Arab Spring, which many people expected to transform the Middle East.

The Egyptian revolution was a time of great hope and enthusiasm among millions of Egyptians.

But the second anniversary finds secular liberals protesting what they see as excesses by the new Islamist-led government.

Multiple Arab Springs

The contrast is emblematic of the disappointment and conflict that followed the euphoria of the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and other countries.

“The word ‘revolution’ is a very romantic term,” said Stacy Gutkowski, a Middle East Expert at London’s King’s college.

“It conjures up images of something dramatic like the Berlin Wall falling. That isn’t what has happened in the region. These are rumblings, long-term rumblings. But not yet radical change.”

Gutkowski said people were bound to be disappointed, even where governments were overthrown. And the kind of dramatic change the North African countries have seen has not spread to other parts of the region, where activists face either lengthy violent conflict, as in Syria, or piecemeal changes meted out slowly by entrenched autocracies, as in the Persian Gulf states.

“To say that there is one Arab Spring is really a misnomer. In fact, there are three Arab Springs,” she said.

  • Anti-Gadhafi and proud: Libyans chronicle their uprising in Tripoli. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A drummer is surrounded by flags in the heady hours before President Mubarak's speech, Cairo, February 10, 2011 (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Egypt's military allowed for presidential elections in mid-2012. Rallies were held for candidates across the country. Photo taken in Edwa, April 23, 2012 (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a few months before his ouster, September, 2010. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Pope Shenouda's photograph outside the Hanging Church in Coptic Cairo, March 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Mohamed Morsi was the second choice candidate of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • The few classes that are in session are light on studying. Photo taken in Benghazi, June 26, 2011. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Hunkering down: a poster of Syria's president at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Damascus, January 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Voters scan the lists at a polling station in Sana'a, February 21, 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Women played an unusally large role in the uprising leading to Yemen's elections. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Febuary 19, 2012 - One year after the Arab Spring hit Yemen, youths on both sides are hopeful. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • The head of the UN mission in Syria, General Robert Mood, in Hama, May 3, 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, January 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Made in the USA: A tear gas canister is displayed by a protestor on Tahrir square, November 2011. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • A rally on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi on Tahrir Square, June 24, 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Sept 4, 2011 - Waiting for action in the Gadhafi-held town of Bani Walid. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Neighbor and rebel Mohammed Arab guards Mohammed Gadhafi's abandoned home in Tripoli, August 29, 2011. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Getting a good view of the festivities in Tripoli, August 30, 2011. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in better times -- celebrating 40 years in power, August 29, 2009 in Tripoli. (E. Arrott/VOA)
  • Egypt's military took control, but some said it marked little change from the old system. Military ruler Hussein Tantawi's face merged with Hosni Mubarak, Cairo, April 2012. (E. Arrott/VOA)

Work in progress

Considering the different types of governments and the variety of local cultures in the vast region, that’s not surprising. It certainly is not to the former British ambassador to Libya and Iran, Richard Dalton, who spoke to VOA via Skype.

“The Arab Awakening was always going to be the work of a generation. It’s not a surprise that there are different rates of change. But nowhere in the Arab World has the population been untouched,” said Dalton.

Not only is change slow and uneven, in some cases it is in the wrong direction - as people deal with issues the former autocrats covered up, like economic problems that have made life worse for many, rather than better. There also are concerns about the rights of women and members of minority groups.

And while the region’s new leaders are being tougher on the West and Israel, the autocrats’ pro-Western policies have not been changed as dramatically as many had hoped.

“Whatever government is in power, countries have interests and there’s a narrow range of options for maximizing advantage to both government and people,” said Dalton.

So, whether in the presidential palaces or in the streets, two years later the Arab Spring still is very much a work in progress.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid