http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/304372

Op-Ed: Middle East revolution gives people a voice

Posted Mar 7, 2011 by Bennett Kaplan
Four or five years ago, the historical revolution we are experiencing in the Middle East is something that nobody would believe could happen.
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Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr.com
Citizens of countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Bahrain were living under harsh rule at the hands of merciless power hungry leaders.
Most of the time, people lived with the conditions that were put forth, for the sole reason that there was nothing that could be done. In a majority of these countries, public protests were outlawed, and emergency law was in effect. People could not have their own voice, and those who chose to have a voice became political prisoners.
To publicly show anti-government contempt, was to condemn yourself to imprisonment at the hands of the government. When Egypt and Tunisia revolted, people in these other countries started to question their own governments. Up until then, people had never questioned their government, and accepted the conditions they lived in.
When the Egyptian and Tunisian revolution was witnessed, the eyes of people all around the Middle East were open. People realized that they could in fact make a difference in their government just as in Egypt and Tunisia. People in countries such as Libya and Bahrain are using the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia as a basis for their own protests.
Protesters in Cairo atop a tank  shouting slogans
Protesters in Cairo atop a tank, shouting slogans
RamyRaoof
Organizing through the internet, the people of Bahrain and Libya learned that the only way to overthrow their respective governments was to revolt. In Bahrain, where any sort of protests were banned, people came together around the symbolic Pearl Square, similar to Tahrir square in Egypt, where protesters camped for days until their President stepped down.
People who throughout their entire lives were not able to have a voice in their government are now marching down symbolic streets and city squares, representing the struggle and the long awaited change in government. When the Libyan and Bahraini government violently lashed out against protesters in an attempt to silence them, people did not back down.
People fought back, defending themselves, and what they stood for. In previous years, people would have backed down to the government, but not this time. People are tired of ruthless violent treatment at the hands of the police and military, and when they are attacked by their own government for demanding basic rights, their point is instantly proven.
People are no longer going to allow corrupt governments to rule their lives, and to profit off their work. Throughout the Middle East, countries are following suit, and staging anti-government protests, because for them, it has been enough. Enough corrupt laws, poor economies, and corrupt police.
People have found their voice, and in the Middle East, 2011 will be the year of freedom for thousands who may have never heard the word “freedom” their entire lives.