Laura Clarke is an International Relations graduate living in London. She enjoys writing, talking and, thankfully, quite likes rain too.
Bad Year to be a Bad Guy
Opinion – As 2011 comes to a close it is perhaps time to reflect on the progress the world has made and, inevitably, what still must be done. Looking at the year in review, the Arab Spring is without a doubt the most pivotal movement to be witnessed in decades. There is no argument that its consequences, both good and bad, will be felt for many years.
The Arab Spring has seen citizens stand up against some of the world’s most heinous dictators; they have risked their lives, and the lives of their families, to offer opposition in countries where criticism of the regime has meant torture and death. The Arab Spring has been an empowerment of the individual, of ordinary citizens who decided that they deserved to be heard.
In Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, we have seen victory achieved, although those expecting a smooth transition of power were in for an almighty shock. Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections and continued unrest have revealed a growing fear that the country will be unable to shake off military rule in favour of democracy.
As Egyptian citizens enter the New Year with hope that it will usher in an era of rights and representation, the brutality of the security forces and continued imprisonment of many activists makes this goal increasingly unlikely.
The Arab Spring has its foundations in hope and the idea that the collective voice of citizens can overcome oppression. To assume that the overthrow of a dictator is the beginning of democracy underestimates the fight ahead. There is still a way to go, but if anyone can win this battle, it is those courageous citizens.