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Revolutions per minute

“The 18 days that changed the world,” that’s what they’re calling it. And amazingly, just days after the revolutionary victory of the Egyptian people, that almost seems like an understatement.

Four days after the mere three weeks it took for the fall of a thirty year authoritarian regime, youths all around the Middle East have taken to the streets of their countries to fight for what rightfully belongs to them: freedom.

Protests in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan and Iran have erupted, Arab youths risking their lives and the lives of their families all for the notion of hope.

Hope provided by a country that many had deemed unlikely to act: Tunisia.

And look at the effects of that hope!

In 2009 the Iranian people made a similar attempt at democracy, taking to the streets in mass protests against a dictator who has ruled their country for too long, a dictator who rigged an election in his favor and used fear and violence to kill the human spirit. That revolt was quickly disassembled and Ahmadinejad continued his authoritarian rule against the unwilling Iranian people.

The fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia quickly carried out an idea that spread across the Middle East like a disease. After the success of the Egyptian people with the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, that disease quickly became inflamed. If Tunisia could do it, if Egypt could do it…what was, what is stopping the rest of the Arab youths?

Now? Nothing.

Fear is no longer an obstacle for those seeking freedom. To die an activist is to die a martyr for humanity, for liberty, for democracy.

Al-Khalifa, the ruling king of Bahrain, offered his people a lump sum of money to every family in a desperate attempt to quiet down and disassemble the protests. In this seemingly rich country, people all across hit the streets in anti-government demonstrations not in the name of poverty or unemployment, but simply for the need of democracy, protesting against the corruption of government and the unequal spread of power.

One thing these countries all have in common is the will and need to be free. These people are protesting not just against their corrupt governments, poverty and unemployment, they’re fighting for the right to dream.

Dictators such as Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya, Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and the notorious Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran have all used fear and the threat of violence during their reigns. And for many years, for too long in fact, this repressive tactic had worked.

Despite what many believe, these people, in all of these countries, had been living under the presumption that their governments, though authoritarian and corrupt, were somewhat poor. Yes, there are rich and poor people, but it was assumed their kings and presidents, though rich, were living beyond their actual means.  

At the height of WikiLeaks came the slap-in-the-face notion when people living below the poverty line, unemployed and starving, realized just how many billions of dollars their rulers were spending on luxury items, extravagant birthday parties and monthly vacations while they could barely find two pennies to scratch together.

This was a hard hitting realization that soon resulted in unrest and uprising.

On January 3, 2011 one man’s desperate act of suicide sparked the wild fire that is now truly changing the world. His devastating attempt at death woke a nation into the realization that if dying had become the only answer then no one was asking the right question.

If they were going to die, it would be at their own will, fighting to the death for a belief, an idea that would be achieved at any sacrifice, including life.

I pray for the success of these countries. I wish them true democracy.

With hope, with faith, anything is possible. Every obstacle is destructible.

Filed under Middle East Revolution Revolt Egypt Tunisia Yemen Jordan Iran Bahrain NPR Freedom Democracy Creative Writing Mubarak Hosni Ben Ali Abdullah Saleh Algeria Corruption Poverty Unemployment Martyr Al-Khalifa Gaddafi Libya Police state WikiLeaks