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Economic Factors of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt

On the 18th of December 2010, the Arab League and its surrounding states erupted in riots that turned into revolutions, its entirety lasing for almost two years. This wave of demonstrations was called the Arab Spring. Many political leaders were forced to step down as a result of the civil unrest caused by the riots. Bringing down government regimes was the main goal of the revolutions, and people were willing to risk their lives to achieve it. Various economic factors pushed the Arab people into action, as their lives became completely intolerable under their previous governments.

Riots in Tunisia became extremely violent very quickly, and were considered to be the strongest wave of social unrest in the country’s recent history. The main factors that pushed people to their breaking points were extremely poor living conditions for the majority of the population, lack of personal freedom of speech and protest, high unemployment rates, and food inflation. Political corruption was well-known throughout the country and prevalent, so the only option that people had left was to tear down the government altogether. They managed to achieve this goal, and eventually Enhada, the leading Islamist party, managed to win the highest number of the votes in the post-revolution election. Hundreds of rebels were injured or killed when fighting for their rights; police and security forces were mainly responsible for these deaths.

The revolution in Tunisia inspired the people of Egypt, and they followed the lead of their neighbors by starting a wave of protests as well. Having been warned of the possibilities that this uprising could happen by witnessing the events in Tunisia, the Egyptian government tried to block the nation’s access to the Internet. This deprived people of an extremely effective communication tool, and also made it almost impossible to get real information about the scale and results of the multiple protests. The president dismissed the government almost immediately in his attempts to appease the public. However, the violence continued to escalate. The reasons that pushed the Egyptians to revolt against the government were similar to the ones in Tunisia. Living conditions for many people in the country were and still are extremely poor. However, people had no chance to change this due to unemployment, corruption, and oppressive laws that made building successful businesses and attracting international investors almost impossible.

The Arab Spring revolutions varied in intensity and form, but all of them were caused by the same reasons. The governments of the countries that experienced these revolutions were not doing a satisfactory job of protecting their people’s interests, and people eventually decided to change their dreadful living conditions by taking power into their own hands. This example should teach politicians that no amount of money or power will help them if the nation’s patience wears off.

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