The “Arab Spring” Deception
Seasons go and seasons come. It only took half a decade for the Arab Spring to return, after the South American Summer, Asian Autumn and African Winter.
Under-reported fact of the day: the phrase “Arab Spring” was not coined for the rash of protests we’ve seen since Mohamed Bouazizi torched himself in protest, igniting this recent round of social revolution. I did not know that until I took a hard look at the premise. Yes, Jefferson Morley from The Washington Post used the term waaaaaaaay back in Two thousand ought five. A simpler time in American History, before Lady Gaga debuted The Fame.
In the wake of mass protests from Tunisia to Yemen to Bahrain and back to Egypt, the quip “Arab Spring” was dusted off. Only in this instance, it overlooks half the story. The Northern Mediterranean.
In fact, the phrasing itself does more to obscure the facts on the ground and divide than it does to embody a “a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes.” Thanks, The Nation, for this week’s Most Rhetorically Rhetorical Award.
The Guardian has a wonderful interactive map covering all the events in the Arab world which could be lumped into this incarnation of the reported “Arab Spring”, which everyone should take some time to peruse. Check it out, it is very thorough. Informative, to boot. But from there we need to take a step back.
What exactly is the Arab Spring supposed to be? It is not about regime change (Tunisia and Egypt being the only nations to experience a toppled dictator is not a majority). Some are reported to be pro-democracy protests. Others simply want a vague change in government. Whatever that is. That last article is in reference to the first wave of protests in Yemen. Which came almost a week after protests in Albania culminated in the shooting death of three people.
Watching the video, you’d think they lost the Stanley Cup or something.
I joke, Vancouver. Y’alls are Canucks, I figure you can take a joke. Those Albanian protesters weren’t nearly as amped.
What does Albania have to do with the so-called Arab Spring? Quite a bit. Time for a bit of cryptojournalist mathematics.
Of the Arab Spring nations, six are Persian Gulf residents: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Which brings us to the Mediterranean Sea….where we find eight Arab Spring nations.
Twenty-one countries have a border on the Mediterranean Sea. Yes, that includes Monaco. No, it does not include Gibraltar. Fifteen of the Mediterranean nations have experienced protests since Tunisia set the trend. Out of 21, even by my estimation that’s almost 75%. You didn’t know?
Greece and Spain have been mentioned previously. Libya is morphing into a slow motion lap dance from hell, undies and pasties on. Torturous. The New York Times even has a page dedicated to the ongoing struggle. Dedication
Egypt and Tunisia are moving forward. Syria has captivated the Western imagination (It’s getting bloody!). Israel is almost a red herring, since they’re in perpetual upheaval. Lebanon caught the news’ eye, for a blink. What about the rest?
Algeria has almost flown under the radar. Beginning in February, they’re ongoing….and beginning to veer towards untenable. Al-Jazeera recently published an opinion musing whether Morocco would be the next regime to institute democratic reform. Spoiler alert: doesn’t look like the proposed reforms were enough to mollify the people.
2nd Spoiler alert: If people are protesting, the Mediterranean Fall has already arrived. I’m a bit surprised Al-Jazeera does not recognize that popular protests are the primary component of this contrived Arab Spring. It’s already here. But it is not quite an Arab Spring.
Not when Bosnians are protesting. Over all sorts of issues. From immigration to the handing over of accused war criminals by the President of Bosnia, people are raising their voice and taking it to the streets. HOW is this separate and different than the protests taking place around the Southern Mediterranean?
It’s not. Protests in Tunisia began over terrible economic conditions. Spaniards began protesting over economic concerns. Guess what? France joined them! Hell, there are even protests in Italy (although they are more along environmental lines), in case you thought The Boot was free from strife. Then again, the MUOS protests in Sicily were also in the same vein.
Icing on the cake? Protests in Turkey from March concerning press freedom. As the gateway from Europe to the Mid East, it is only fitting to find Turkish protesters in the street.
Albania, Greece, Spain, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Bosnia, France, Italy and Turkey. Fifteen Mediterranean countries that have experienced protests mainly over economic concerns and for better government. In case you’re wondering, the Mediterranean countries free from protests (so far) are Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Malta and Monaco. Monaco in the house, bitches!
To be fair, Malta has seen protests. Darrin Zammit Lupi is a photographer who chronicled Libyans protesting in Malta from this past February. Does that count? In the spirit of ambivalence, let’s call it a tie. That makes it five protest free countries, fifteen protesting and one tie. Also, this may be broadcasting doom and gloom, but a report from Financial Mirror elaborates on some of the problems Cypress has encountered recently in the bond market. Which may turn out to be trouble down the line.
I’m not going to say the “Arab Spring” is a “fraud”. Ben Stein did that, and he sounds like something approaching an ignorant Zionist harpy. The notion is not false because you dislike the peoples’ choice for representation.
Ben, while I’ve got your attention, saying The Muslim Brotherhood being closely connected to Adolf Hitler makes you look like a douche. Don’t tell me. Hitler is in an Argentinian villa sending marching orders into the heart of the Middle East.
A giant douche.
No, the Arab Spring is not a fraud. I’ll only go so far as to claim it is a rouse. Sleight of hand, meant to divide.
Yes, there have been waves of protest across the Arab World. In fact, the whole of the Southern Mediterranean has stood in protest. So has most of the Northern Mediterranean.
And therein lies the rub. News outlets cannot report these events as concurrent. Then people might get the idea they’re all on the same side. If Albanians, Syrians, Spaniards, Lebanese, Greeks and Egyptians all realized they were protesting against suspect politicians and economic problems (ie. the same thing), well that’s just too potent.
No, better the disproportionate mass of people worldwide not get wise they’re yelling in unison. Way too potent. We should be discussing how the Mediterranean Fall is reshaping the face of protest around the globe. Instead we’re spoon fed garbage about an Arab Spring that does nothing to capture the story.
People everywhere are protesting. It’s another media farce they’d package this story with a preconceived phrase, missing the vital point that this is unfolding everywhere. Not simply the Arab World. The Arab Spring is half the story. The whole story is too flammable for general consumption.