The Arab Spring is the title that has been assigned to identify the uprisings over the past couple of years in the Arab world, especially in countries such as Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya, among others. These aforementioned countries have actually had leaders ousted from their ruling positions. From studying world history, I believe that these uprisings, albeit often at a great cost to human life, unfortunately seem to generally be a necessary step in the evolution of a country into what is hopefully something better than what it has been. Of course, there is always the possibility that countries can slip back into the mold that they were in previously or end up in an even worse situation.
These uprisings, with all the bloodshed and political upheaval that they entail, have brought about the removal of long-time leaders like Mubarak (Egypt) and Gaddafi (Libya). They have been stripped of their title, their power, and their hold over the people of their respective countries. Is this good or bad?
This change has created the promise of a different and improved future with true democracy as a possibility. The people in the countries involved in the Arab Spring may finally get a voice, a vote, and make a better life. Instead of having one person in power for decades, legitimate democratic governments can be established where elections can be held to put leaders into power that are actually desired by the people. Islamic political groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, have gained a lot of clout in this environment.
I believe that the Arab Spring can also open the door for a potential government takeover by some person or group that will propagate or even worsen the situation. The aforementioned Muslim Brotherhood, for example, is an Islamic fundamentalist group that was established in 1928 and is outwardly anti-Western and anti Secularism. Ironically, tools like Google, Twitter, and Facebook—obviously Western—helped to feed the uprisings of the Arab Spring, which helped groups such as the MB gain a foothold. But, do groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood acknowledge that they are now in power thanks to Western tools and technology? Are they thankful, or will they continue to be anti Western? I guess only time will show.
It is my genuine desire that in time, these uprisings and politically driven paradigm shifts will lead to strong democracies. Nations will be able to elect leaders into power and hold those same men and women to a standard that will demand integrity, a social conscience, and positive foreign policy. I think that, in the short term, if or when fundamentalist groups come into power, they will shun the ways towards a more open and secular democracy due to beliefs that have been engrained as to what is right or wrong. To prevent this, people of those countries must now choose whether they will choose leaders that plan to take their country forward towards a peaceful and flourishing democracy or backwards towards violence and fundamentalist thinking.
Uprisings, civil wars, and political unrest are historically bound to happen in the evolution of any country. However, in this situation one can only hope that the Arab Spring is all for the best and that this volatile region will one day become much more peaceful and be allied with the Western nations.