Arab Spring - Rebellions Spread Across North Africa and the Middle East
A wave of demonstrations and protests has been going on in many Arab countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa since the end of 2010.
Revolutions have taken place in Tunisia and Egypt. In both Arab countries leaders had to resign and transfer their power. In Libya a civil war went on for months in an attempt to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. In many other Arab countries, like Bahrain and Syria there have been uprisings against the government .
The protests, which became known as “Arab Spring”, started in Tunisia in December 2010. After the Tunisian president Ben Ali had fled the country Egypt’s population saw that such a rebellion could be successful . After an 18 day protest against long-time President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president finally resigned and turned power over to the military .
In February protests erupted in Libya. Rebels who were against Gaddafi and his regime gathered in Benghazi and created a new government . The Libyan dictator refused to step down and used the air force and army in an all-out civil war against the rebels. A UN resolution gave NATO the authorization to fly over Libya and make sure Gaddafi’s fighter planes do not attack rebels. After months of fighting the Libyan dictator was finally overthrown and killed.
Protests in Arab nations have erupted for many reasons. Many countries have dictators who have been in power for decades . Corruption is widespread and basic human rights are often violated . In some countries the government has not shared the money from oil with the population, who continues to live in poverty . Many young people who have taken part in protests have studied in western countries and know what real democracy is.
In contrast to earlier protests the rebellions of 2010 and 2011 have been better organized because of social networks like Facebook or Twitter. The opposition planned their protests on these and used YouTube to send images and videos out to the rest of the world.
The unrest caused by the protests in Arab countries has led to economic troubles as well. Oil and food prices have risen dramatically. Economic growth in the region is also expected to decline .
Uprisings in Northern Africa and the Middle East
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- air force = part of a country’s military that uses airplanes to fight
- all-out = using a lot of energy
- attack = use violence against
- attempt = try
- authorization = the right to do something
- civil war = conflict between two groups of people in the same country
- decade = a period of ten years
- decline = to go down
- economic = financial
- erupt = come up, break out
- flee-fled = escape to another place
- gather = come together
- government = the people who rule a country
- growth = to expand, become bigger
- human rights = the basic rights that everyone should have, like the right to vote or to say what you want
- in contrast to = compared to
- long-time = for many years
- military = army
- overthrow = bring down, defeat, win against
- population = the people who live in a country
- poverty = the state of being poor
- refuse = do not want to
- resign = step down, give up power
- resolution = decision, declaration
- rise = go up
- social network = group of people who have the same interests and communicate on internet platforms
- successful = do well, work
- transfer = give to someone else
- unrest = conflict, fighting
- uprising = revolt, rebellion
- violate = to do something that is against an agreement; to disobey
- wave = series
- widespread = common, general