Arab Spring is a widespread political movement reflecting unrest in Arab countries demanding government reform due to corruption and lack of civil rights for its citizens. Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which began December 18, 2010 have led to a series of protests and demonstrations for government overthrow throughout North Africa and the Middle East.
Numerous factors have led to the protests, including issues such as dictatorship or absolute monarchy, human rights violations, government corruption (demonstrated by WikiLeaks diplomatic cables), economic decline, unemployment, extreme poverty, and a number of demographic structural factors, such as a large percentage of educated but dissatisfied youth within the population.
The catalysts for the revolts in all Northern African and Persian Gulf countries have been the concentration of wealth in the hands of autocrats in power for decades, insufficient transparency of its redistribution, corruption, and especially the refusal of the youth to accept the status quo. Increasing food prices and global famine rates have also been a significant factor, as they involve threats to food security worldwide and prices that approach levels of the 2007–2008 world food price crisis.
In recent decades rising living standards and literacy rates, as well as the increased availability of higher education, have resulted in an improved human development index in the affected countries. The tension between rising aspirations and a lack of government reform may have been a contributing factor in all of the protests. Many of the internet-savvy youth of these countries have studied in the West, where autocrats and absolute monarchies are considered anachronisms.
Tunisia and Egypt, the first to witness major uprisings, differ from other North African and Middle Eastern nations such as Algeria and Libya in that they lack significant oil revenue, and were thus unable to make concessions to calm the masses.
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Arab Spring, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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