The African Spring:
Only a Matter of Time
The past couple of months have witnessed a sweeping revolution in the Arab world. Ordinary citizens of Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Libya have finally found the voice and the strength to stand up against decades of dictatorship. The results? Tunisia is having its first truly free election in 23 years. The authoritarian government of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has finally fallen. Gaddafi huffed and puffed for a while but with little help from their “friends”, the NTC and the people of Libya triumphed. For decades the people of these nations had been subjected to the will and whims of their respective rulers and their families but now the people are having the last laugh. Call them rebels or revolutionaries but to them labels and titles mean very little.
For them it has been a struggle to secure a more free and equal society for themselves and their children. Egypt, Libya and Tunisia will not attain a full-fledged democracy in a week or a month or even a year. It’s going to be a long and rough journey but the good news is they have begun the journey. Now they are free to elect their own leaders – leaders who will be accountable to the people and not themselves.
One would have expected the swift success of the Arab Spring in North Africa to trigger the “African-Spring” in sub-Saharan Africa, but it has not as yet. Now I wonder who is more surprised, me or the numerous dictators across the continent of Africa. I cannot explain why this revolutionary wave has not swept through the whole of the continent, but I can certainly say those tyrants are sleeping uneasily but I am unperturbed.
The definitive message in the success of the Arab spring cannot be overlooked; the will of the people will always triumph. It has shown that the oppressed everywhere have now found their voice and the strength to finally rattle and pull loose the shackles of the oppressor.
Authoritarian governments may put limitations on the freedom of speech but the voice of the people will always come through with a resounding roar. Tyrants may imprison those who stand up against them but the resolve of the people cannot be held down forever. It can only grow stronger. So to the various dictators across the continent and all around the world, I say to you be very nervous! Because the people will always win, it’s only a matter of time!
By Maclean Arthur