2011 was undeniably the year of the protestor with revolutions fuelling across the globe. Be it the fight against corruption in India and Pakistan or the uprising against the 1% in the developed nations, rebellion was positively the theme of the year. Such was the impact of the winds of change that ‘Time Magazine’ professed ‘the Protester’ as the Person of the Year 2011. Unarguably remonstrations across the globe were essential for the recognition of the faceless protester but the most instrumental revolution took place in the Middle East and more specifically the Arab countries.
The self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia soon engulfed a cartel of dictator regimes in the heart of the world. The Arab Spring reinstated fear among dictators across the world. The fight for democracy spread across 18 nationalities and has caused over 32,000 casualties. Notable developments as a result of the revolution were the coup d’état of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen.
Post the revival of democracy in the Middle East an alarming trend has been sensed. In comparison to liberal and supposed secular parties, the populace of these countries has opted for Islamist parties. The Ennahda Party in Tunisia comprising moderate Islamists has gained the highest number of seats, winning 89 seats in the 217 member assembly. Ennahda party leader, Hamadi Jebali is appointed as the Prime Minister who will be leading a coalition with the liberal Congress for the Republic and the left-of-centre Ettakatol or Forum Party. Muslim Brotherhood backed Freedom and Justice Party has the highest number of seats in Egypt assembly and the 100 member drafting committee to form the new constitution of Egypt has witnessed nearly two dozen political personalities pulling out. The Presidential elections are due in May 2012 and are dotted with a string of Islamist leaders vying for the top job.
The rise of religious parties in the region is disturbing as it may lead to a regime which refuses to recognise any higher authority, hence the apprehension towards the changing trend. In the aforementioned cases, the parties gaining highest number of votes are the ones who were suppressed by the previous regime, whose activities were banned and leaders sent to exile. However, they managed to survive and have made a comeback by way of current electoral gains. The Islamists were also the only credible opposition to the autocratic regimes and were connected to the people and hence have been successful in gaining valuable ground in the post dictatorship era.
The situation of the Middle East post the Arab Spring has transmuted from a garden of roses to a valley of despair. There is ambiguity on the future leaders of the nations and their acceptability among the developed nations is certainly questionable. For the general populace trade and commerce have been on the down trend and lawlessness has dominated the region. For now the world can do nothing but speculate.