Four months of rioting brought down one of the most authoritarian leaders in the Arab world, Tunisian President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali, Friday. And many – from Arab analysts to average citizens – believe this may mark a turning point in the Arab World.
After two decades of unaccountable leadership, Tunisians suffered from an increasingly unbearable degree of poverty, unemployment, widespread corruption and injustice at the hands of the powerful state security. On Friday they showed the world they’d had enough. But, unfortunately, their plight is a common one shared by the majority of citizens across the Arab world.
Many in the region stayed glued to satellite channels Friday watching as Tunisian riot police beat and kicked demonstrators and shot tear gas canisters into crowds. They watched as injured demonstrators were carried away by their colleagues, as the prime minister announced that Ben Ali was no longer in power, and as anchors tried to determine exactly where Ben Ali had fled.
And many viewers outside Tunisia pondered what lessons their leaders took away.
“I think it has made governments around the region aware that uprising and revolution can happen in the world. It is a wake-up call for some. Definitely after what happened in Tunisia, things will not be the same as before,” Gamal A