by Ziad AbuZayyad
Though many people may not agree on the name “Arab Spring,” we decided to call this issue of the Palestine-Israel Journal “The Arab Spring,” and put together local and international contributions from prominent academics, public figures and writers to discuss the various aspects of this phenomenon. Is it spring or revolution? Will its events and repercussions continue for a long time to come? Was it a regional event, or was its impact both regional and global? Did it succeed in bringing the needed change which people fought for, or did it just change the personnel while the same regimes remained in power? What will be the future of the Arab countries that were able to go to the polls and carry out free democratic elections? Will the Islamic movement that won the majority in several Arab countries be able to adopt democratic values and share responsibility with the others, or will it see the elections as a one-time exercise that brought it to power and forever? And what is the impact on the Israeli social protest movement?
We have to stress the fact that the Arab Spring was not really a mild, beautiful spring but a series of revolutions which were accompanied by violence and bloodshed initiated by the regimes that the masses wanted to change. But we must recognize its positive aspects. People are not afraid or intimidated anymore. The wall of fear has been brought down, and the revolutionaries will stay on the alert. The struggle for democracy, good governance, human rights and the elimination of corruption will continue.
The path has been neither easy nor covered with roses. And the countries of the Arab Spring are not all at the same stage of progress. Some have gone very far ahead; others are still in the midst of the struggle against the brutal regimes; and others are in-between.
The Arab people can be proud of initiating this 21st-century revolution against injustice in all corners of life. They inspired social justice revolutions in Europe, in the United States and among their neighbors in Israel. It’s more probable that the 2lst century will be the century of peoples’ struggle for a better life and human values rather than expansionism and colonialism. And while discussing this noble phenomenon, we acknowledge the tremendous role played by the new social electronic media which became the major vehicle carrying information across borders in spite of the most restrictive measures of censorship and oppression of freedom of the press.