JESSICA GIANNONE — Opinions Editor
If there is any connection to be made between societal fate and social action, the scattered revolts that took place over recent years, from African turmoil to Middle Eastern upheaval, can stand as clear demonstrations of this seemingly strong relationship. In simple terms, if individuals aggressively voice their resentments, for example, then their acts might eventually lead to uprisings.
For over a year, American people have been protesting economic and social inequality, stationing themselves in tents across the country, occupying countless cities and parks. People everywhere are reacting to unfair (in their eyes) lifestyles they are forced to lead because of social class, economic downgrades and unjust rule.
But these connections between people and society affecting the world we live in don’t solely stem from action within societies. One country’s fall can clearly have a global impact.
Though citizens rebelling and economic downfalls are timeless issues, the occurrences representing the latest societal downturns seemed to have sparked a chain reaction in the world, ultimately leading to America. Moreover, the Arab Spring, it seems to me, isn’t just a coincidence of misfortune and ambition among different places—it shows the power of global revolutionary influence.
It’s as if the entire planet has been influenced by this political upheaval, and the national news of it only enhanced the idea of retaliation. Rebellion has become a common theme in everyday lifestyle. These public issues have become growing examples set for vulnerable citizens unsatisfyingly settled in their uncompromising countries.
To pinpoint where all of this unrest started would probably go back to the beginning of civilization. But to begin somewhere, many can first recall how in December 2010, Tunisian riots initiated after a street vendor set himself on fire in expression of unjust Tunisian hostility. This single action undoubtedly went a long way.
Egypt continued to set an example of this revolution of challenging governments when millions rejected and ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak last January. Through all the protests, demands, brawls and civilian uprising, Tahrir Square became a place of passion, violence and power, ultimately setting the stage for other parts of the world to take notice of and imitate.
Not shortly after, almost overlapping in time, was the Syrian uprising in late January. Again, protesters voiced for the resignation of leader Bashar al-Assad, intending for an overthrow of his party rule. Nonetheless, in January 2011, Tunisia forced their leader of over 20 years to flee to Saudi Arabia, following the same pattern of revolt against governing forces.
All the same, Yemen’s revolution coincided with the other African and Middle Eastern unrest as people protested the corruption in their country, considering unemployment and the economy, leading to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign.
Then of course there is the Libyan uprising, which was initiated in February 2011, as rebels are aiming to oust Muammar Gaddafi and his government. This has caused a civil war between rebels and loyalists, continuing to create tension in the country.
The pattern is clear. Unrest has also existed for a while in countries like Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan and Uganda. In light, we can’t forget the most relevant stop on the route: the Occupy Movement, which has extended beyond the U.S., spreading, but not limited to, continents such as Europe, Asia, Canada and Australia, remaining as a trend of intended justice.
These few examples may portray obvious commonalities to each other, and although one may have “started” it all, can we really pick an initial instigator? The Occupy Movement technically initiated in 2010, almost a year before the actual occupying started, though foreign countries set the stage, in a way, for action.
But has it always been like this: is this a new pattern of misfortune of our time—or has history repeated, and will continue to repeat, itself ?
The real lesson here, it seems to me, isn’t just about a number of countries influencing the motives and expectations of others, as individuals’ actions rapidly spread through media and ideas escalate like viruses—it is that one nation can have a revolutionary impact on the entire world.
Maybe the apparent dissatisfaction with our societies might have always been there, but we need to witness profound external action to give us that extra push required to step forward. Though all of our nations are different in culture, values, standards and beliefs, we all want to be at peace. (The problem is, everyone’s definition of that is diverse).
With all of these current uprisings and determined citizens rallying for improvement, it seems as though the apocalyptic predictions are starting to resemble a reality as the world starts to crumble apart slowly—but maybe it’s finally healing, one nation at a time.