(via Google images)
The Arab Spring has come full circle in Tunisia, residents just voted for the very first time on Sunday. Tunisia was where it all started in December when street vendor, Mohamed Bouziz, ended his life by lighting himself on fire. That sparked uprisings, and when the neighboring countries witnessed Tunisia’s success after ousting their President — Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria followed suit.
Hosni Mubarak stepped down after 18 days of protests but Egypt is still experiences conflicts with the interim government and the state military. There are still demonstrations that turn violent from time to time. With the death of Moammar Gadhafi, Libya just reached a milestone of their own. While celebrations are still lively in Libya, the question looming in the background is one that Libyans do not want to think about.
What comes next for a nation that has been lead with their hands tied behind their backs for 42 years?
Just yesterday, The National Transitional Council (NTC) declared liberation and that eight months from now, there will be a democratic election.
History is being re-written in the Middle East. Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gadhafi are all gone, after months of fighting and rallies, the people of Libya, Egypt and Tunisia can rejoice in some of their success. With another bad guy in the Arab world gone, it is up to the citizens to decide their fate, it is on their shoulders to elect a democratic government to better the nation in years to come.
NYT: In His Last Days, Qaddafi Wearied of Fugitive’s Life
Guardian: Gadaffi Dead: the front pages – in pictures
Al Jazeera English: In Pictures: A look back at Gadaffi’s reign
The unrest in the Middle East continues as Libyans face foreign military intervention and the violence in Bahrain and Yemen erupts.
The Saturday that just passed brought out demonstrators to Dundas Square in downtown Toronto that showed their support for the Arab nations fighting for freedom.
Hundreds of people chanted slogans like “the world must know, Gadaffi has to go” and “down, down Gadaffi”. This peaceful rally occurred just an hour or so after Western military began invading Libya. Many demonstrators had mixed feelings about the invasion, Mahmaud Elaradi who has family in Tripoli expressed that the foreign intervention may be a good thing but it is a little too late, “The international community knows who Gadaffi is and what he is capable of. He is a criminal and a terrorist. He has been killing innocent people for over 40 years.”
In the middle of interviewing Elaradi a friend approached him and shared that a relative had just been killed in Tripoli.
Elaradi went on to say that he feels helpless for his country but definitely thinks it is a wake up call for the Arab nation, “We are saying no more to dictators, we are saying yes to democracy, to freedom, to justice. Those dictators have been there for too long, it is time for a change.” Elaradi’s frustrations rippled through the crowds of people chanting for freedom.
Mariam Yousif helped plan the pro-democracy rally with the Arab Solidarity Campaign – which supports the growing movements for freedom throughout the Arab world. Yousif, who was at the rally with her two young daughters, said that the protestors are pleading for freedom and for the country’s Sunni monarchy to step down, “the people of Bahrain have been oppressed for decades and now they are finally speaking out.” Yousif also made it clear that the Saudi troops need to leave Bahrain and the massacre of innocent civilians needs to come to an end.
Regardless of the mixed reactions to the foreign military intervention in Libya, the one thing that is clear and agreed on amongst the large crowd is: the people of Yemen, Bahrain and Libya having been waiting far too long for democracy.
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