What is going on in North Africa and the Middle East?

March 31, 2011

by Sarah Michele Ford

It all started in mid-December, when a fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest mistreatment by police and municipal officials.  A month of protests later, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was in exile and a unity government had been formed.  The Jasmine Revolution had succeeded. Only days after Ben Ali was driven out of office, the January 25th Movement began in Egypt.  After three weeks of public protests and civil unrest, President Mubarak stepped down. And then the unrest moved to Bahrain, to Iran (just a little bit), Syria, and most notably at this point, Libya.  All of this leaves us asking, what is happening in the Arab world?

As sociologists, we can look at what’s happening on the other side of the world as a lens through which to study social change.  In fact, there can be no more dramatic example of social change than a revolution!  While the revolutions may have seemed sudden to those of us on the outside, they certainly did not come out of nowhere.  They almost certainly arose out of disconnects between the political elites (in each of these nations, the leaders targeted by the unrest was (or, in the case of Libya, is) a dictator) and the people of the nations.  The people were eventually able to capitalize on the dissatisfaction with the existing power structure to create that change, drawing on 21st century social media to communicate both with each other and with the outside world when the mainstream media were unable to report the stories.  While the catalyst may have been the frustration and outrage of that fruit seller in Tunisia, the revolutions were about much more than that.

It will be an interesting study in social change, social movements, and political sociology to see the shapes taken by post-revolution Tunisia and Egypt, and what ultimately happens in Libya.


  1. what stood out to me was in the beginning when it said a fruit vendor set himself on fire to protest the mistreatment of police and municipal officer.It is sad that it took for someone to set themselves on fire just to let whoever know that there was mistreatment by people who are in charge in helping the people.

  2. A vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire becasue of the mistreat of police officers, but that was just the beggining of the protests in the middle eatern. Protest began after the vendor who set himself on fire, The Jasmine Revolution was one them who actually succeeded, then came the January 25th Movement that was taken place in Ygypt.
    Could it be that all this protests have been planned since everything happened around the same date and it also happened near each other. They might be trying to get a point through by them all doing it around the same time.

  3. Citizens of a country have all the rights to criticize and protest against the existing governmental power…why? Of course if dissatisfaction exists, people will be restless, always looking for some sort of social change and in order to begin a revolution against the oppressing power, one must speak out or act out such as the fruit vendor in Tunisia who set himself on fire to protest the mistreatment the people have been receiving from “reinforcements”. The idea of freedom (such as the first amendment) is very attractive to the younger generation. Sure, their freedom ideologies may differ completely from America’s, but I think being free to roam, to think, to protest, to speak is what makes a country effective. The people can’t stay oppressed forever or even temporarily because one person will act out and in a domino effect, other countries will revolt against their leaders (such as the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia then the January 25th Movement in Egypt).

    Globalization is one of the most controversial issues that all countries face. Should one ideal globalize all nations, no. Not everyone benefits from one specific idea such as neo liberalism or the growth of communism. Globalization does NOT benefit the people, specifically the poor who can’t afford to financially support their nation. Corporations benefits from globalization…so what happens to the poor? This is where the people step in. Revolutions are occuring all over the world to protect themselves from lies and deception of corporate powers, to achieve total social change that will help the people and not ignore the people.

  4. These protests in Tunisia are becoming a bit out control when a man sets himself on fire. But I guess you can say they are making some noise over there because the Jasmin revolution succeeded and Ben Ali stepped down. This was also great motivation for Egypt because shortly after they began their January 25th movement which drove their president out of office. Things are going happening all over the world that we can study and learn from. I think its good to look at the social change in Tunisia and Egypt and learn from them. It proves that we can do anything as people.

  5. This article is about the Jasmine Revolution that started in mid-december in 2010 in Tunisia. What stood out to me was that a fruit vendor set himself on fire to protest mistreatment from the police and municipal officials. I am very surprised that the Revolution was very successful for them. The protest got them what they wanted. Another event that happened was the January 25th movement that began in Egypt. And then it moved to Bahrain, to Iran, Syria, and Libya. It is interesting seeing how social movement and how society can make a change if they all work together.

    We can see what is going on in other countries through social change. People here in America did not see this coming, these revolutions, but the people in the other countries knew what was going on and they wanted change in their country. How a revolution becomes successful, is if majority, almost all, of the people agree with the revolution, the courtier will have change. And we will get that revolution out through media. This was a very strong article because the people dictate what will happen in the country of they all work together.

  6. With the revolutions going on within the “Arab world” such as the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and the January 25th movement in Egypt, one could question the affect globalization would have in preventing these resistances. The “Arab world” is not exactly open to the rest of the world. The only time others hear of the social changes in the “Arab world” is usually when there is a revolt of some sort that impacts social change drastically. Rather than a steady change like some other countries, it appears as though the “Arab world” has a breaking point socially where the citizens get so fed up with the choices their government makes that they revolt. It is unfortunate that such drastic measures have to be taken for them to be heard.

  7. I’m surprised of how long it took for a unity government to be formed after the protest of the mistreatment of police and municipal officers. The fruit vendor in Tunisia who set himself on fire must have been really upset with these officers. It took a month for others to realize what was going on. Now, protests and revolutions are happening through Bahrain to Iran, Syria and Libya.
    I think the people in North Africa and the Middle East are dissatisfied by all the social changes. I wonder if there was another way the fruit vendor can show the mistreatment, what would it be?

  8. What truly surprised me was hearing about the fruit vendor who had set himself on fire because it instantly reminded me of the 8888 Uprising that took place in Burma. I remember learning about the Uprising in my Social Justice class in high school, and how the citizens of Burma were doing just as the fruit vendor had, and lighting themselves on fire to make a political statement. In vieing for their voices to be heard, the citizens of Egypt, Iran, Syria, and Libya are begging for a social change. Sadly not many Americans or teens our age even know about this political unrest in the Arab world. As the revolution grows and more nations begin to involve themselves in the social unrest, I believe the US needs to take action first. By setting an example for the rest of the world in being one of the most leading industrial countries in the world, we can help the Middle East. In making such a big political statement as this what else can spark the rest of the world’s attention? As people are risking their own lives to make such a major political statement, citizens of the US young and old need to stand up and instigate change. Wiether its the US’s advanced technologies or industrial power we as a country essentially do have the capabilities to get involved.

  9. What stood out to me was there was a lot of protesting going on that led to many presidents stepping down throughout the Middle East and North Africa. First Starting with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who was exiled and a new government was formed because of the Jasmine Revolution.

    Then the civil unrest spread throughout Libya and Egypt and caused more Presidents to step down from their offices which in turn caused a social change. Its amazing that the Jasmine Revolution started this whole snowball effect which created such a big social change

  10. What is happening right now in these countries has happened for centuries. It is nothing new, but its a good thing that more people be informed of it. The more exposure it gets, the more help the world may give to them. What we can hope for is a permanent solution to solve these problems and make this area of the world a more stable place, because quick fixes have not worked. It should not take putting yourself on fire to get a response. The people are desperate for change. Not just a change of a dictator, but a change of corrupt governments.

  11. I was shocked when I read the first two lines of the article. I was shocked by the fact that someone would go as far as setting themselves on fire just to protest the mistreatment of the police. It is crazy how the people tried to force Zine El Abidine Ben Ali out of presidency with protest and it’s impact was shown through social change by the Jasmine Revolution and the January 25th movement that took on after Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was driven out presidency.

  12. The citizens of the middle east and North Africa have the right to overthrow their president. If you ask me, the president should have realized how upset the people were after the Tunisia man set himself on fire. Thanks to the Jasmine Revolution, President Zine El Abidine was forced out of presidency. Even though the president was out, it caused a social change. For example, there was a change in nature, social institutions, social behaviors or social relations of a society. The social changed allowed the citizens of the middle east and North africa a good and new beginning.

  13. Within the past few months, the Arab world has changed dramatically. Nations such as Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, and now Libya have all been under a dictatorship and now those governments have been overthrown by the people–striking a social change. It all started with the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia to disban the government and exile the President; and it succeeded. The protests in Egypt were known as the January 25th Movement, where they, too, overthew the tryranny of a dictatorship. Protests have spurred across the Arab rule and change is certaintly to follow. The article points out that these protests did not happen within a course of a day, but over a long time period. The people of these nations were able to communicate effectively and strategically “attack” their governements. This is all because of globalization. We are all connected by some kind of communication whether it is by social media, email, or telephone. That is also how the world has been connected and has been able to see the civil unrest going on in the Arab rule. Globalization–it can have a positive connotation or a negative one.

  14. It is interesting to see what public action can do to a government. However, i do feel like these public protests are very extreme they did seem to have positive outcomes for the most part. The Jasmine Revolution was put in motion due to high unemployment, food inflation, corruption and lack of free speech, as well as the fruit vendor setting fire to himself. At the end, the people got what they wanted but many lives were taken due to the route they were forced to take by their government. Right after this incident, egypt decided to pretty much do the same thing and start an Egyptian revolution.At the end of this revolution the people had succeeded in making President Mubarak step down in office. These events go to show that if social change is wanted bad enough and the people are willing to go to great lengths to change the system, it can be done and it has been done.

  15. This is an interesting article because it shows the importance of Revolution and how different occurences lead up to revolution. Many people assume that revolutions occur suddenly, as a group or individual does something catastrophic like those in the article. However, as Ford mentions in the article, many events and attitudes gradually lead up to a revolution after individuals and groups get tired of being mistreated by the “people in power.” The things going on in places like Libya have been happening for a while. The citizens are going to start to organize (they already have according to this article)and fight back against the unjust government. With the help of communication, the media and staying educated about their rights and what is going on in the world, people being oppressed by the government can begin to implement social change and replace corrupt rulers.

  16. The start of the article when the fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the misuse by police and municipal officers i believe was one of the things that started some of the after coming problems in Africa and the middle east.Globalization was another factor because of the spread of there market which meant freer trade and cheaper foreign labor some people were not pleased with this. When the jasmine Revolution was succeeded it had lead to Ben Ali being driven out of office; Which led to or started the January 25th movement in Egypt.
    Sociologists were looking at the other side looking at the social changes going on. I find this very interesting because i feel as though their are many disconnects going on between people which lead to the problems going on today.People are not getting listened to and they feel as though they are being mistreated or they are not happy with the leadership going on in their home and are trying to find ways to be heard(the fruit vendor).

  17. Globalization has laid its effect in yet another part of the world. It seems to corrupt governments into money making businesses who neglect their people like the vendor in Tunisia. Creating policies that benefit the Nation’s business but not the Nation’s people is a thing that I believe cannot stand forever.

    Eventually the people must demand social change as in the Jasmine Revolution. It seems that the January 25th Movement is spreading in the Arab world because the people are finding themselves in similar shoes to their neighbors and feel the need for change. I hope that justice can be found in the governments to be formed.

    Eventually these governments must learn to balance the needs of their people above their greed for money. For without their people, they truly have nothing; but it takes a strong people to show their government that.

  18. The fact that a Fruit vendor was so frustrated and angry with the maltreatment from the police says to me that the situation over there is much worse than i thought. The atmosphere over there must be similar to how it was in the us during the 1970s, everyone must be nervous, angry, and anxious, because they have no idea what will happen in the days to come. The jasmine revolution has been successful in the fact that they got rid of their political leader who was allowing the injustices that were being done to the people. The January 25th movement demonstrated how the people wanted to resolve this conflict peacefully by marching and conducting several other demonstrations of support for the cause and a desire for social change.

  19. I don’t think that a nation is ever fully satisfied with their government. They simply cannot please every single person. However, when living conditions are bad, and basic rights are being taken away, a protest is completely necessary. The man setting himself on fire was taking it too far. I’m not sure where that got him or what it did for him in his protesting…except attention from the media. Harming yourself doesn’t seem like it would have too much of an affect in a protest where the leader doesn’t care about your well-being. Seeing as how this protest was successful, and Ali was driven out of office, it drove other countries to demand a social change as well; such as the January 25th movement in Egypt. Other countries seeing the changes being made around the world will push them to revolt too, they want the same success within their own countries. Protest after protest, globalization will occur and there will be revolutions all over.

  20. After reading this article knowing that the Jasmine Revolution had succeeded and driven out the President out of the office with the three weeks of public protests. I’m surprise to see that many people are participating in this protest for freedom, labor strikes and others.Seem like social changes are happening and that behaviors are changes.The disconnection between the dictator and the peoples, was that many people were unsatisfied with the power that has been created.

  21. Its interesting to see the way people make a statment or protest against the issues that they are facing in their world. A fruit vendor set himself on fire to make a statement about the mistreatment persued by the police. throught this article, it clearly states the way that people are coming together to make a change for themselves and try to make things better. This highlights the way people of Egypt or Tunisia have found a way to begin a new Revolution. There have been more ways that people have protested against the harsh doings of those in power but the fact that now in the 21st century this is still happening is something to be cared about. Now the main stream media is about to communicate to the people of the doings of those in power but not all have the availablity to report the stories. The new things that will come of those in Egypt and Tunisia will be epic and affect the people who civilze there.

  22. The unrest in the Arab world has extended from Tunisia to Libya. It has all been protests and demonstrations from the people. In this article it’s obvious that people want change within the government and social change. The Jasmine Revolution and January 25th Movement were all civil responses to the neglect of the government and both had demonstrations, marches, and strikes. It led to the drive out of the officials not wanted. This is all from a disconnection between the high power politicians and its people and the frustration they have.
    The fruit vendor who set himself on fire is the extreme that people would go to make their point get across to the outside world. This revolution has yet to show the social changes.

  23. This article speaks about the social change that is happening in North Africa and the Middle East. The fruit vendor in Tunisia was just an example of what people who are being treated unfairly are willing to do. The Jasmine Revolution succeeded and later the January 25th movement began in Egypt, both events are examples of social unrest and political inequality.

    Globalization is another example of inequality, like the people of North Africa and the Middle East those being treated unjust by the system of globalization will revolt. The revolution in Egypt should be an example and the other countries should create change to stop maltreatment and unrest.

  24. Radical social changes including revolutions certainly are influenced by the rise of new communication outlets and technological advances. The ability to congregate with the dissatisfied masses are made easier with services like an online bulletin board system (bbs) or twitter; however, without proper cause like the disconnect between the political elites and the general population. Social changes in industrialized (usually democratic) countries are less likely to occur because of relatively less corruption, thus the concept of social revolution is not something people living in these countries are familiar with. To study social change, social movement, and political sociology, one may have to consider cultural differences that are apparent in countries currently undergoing a revolution.

    Perhaps the proper way to study a social revolution is to ask “what is happening in the Arabian world?” Once the question is answered, the study of social changes can be initiated with relative ease.

  25. When the fruit vender set himself on fire, to me and to many other Egyptians at the time was that a revolution was needed to be started. The Egyptian people were sick of a dictatorship, but anyone would be and demand a social change. I would be on the side of the Egyptian people demanding that social change because i would not want any of my freedom strip away from me, matter of fact i would love to have all of my freedoms such as speech. In my opinion the Jasmine Revolution was a major success because the people have received their freedom, and now they don’t have to listen to anyone or fall under the pressures of globalization. However i just hope more months down the road after the January 25th Movement, is that they can settle themself for a better social climate

  26. It seems like globalization is reaching out to so many of the Arab’s countries and those countries are poor countries too. Just like this article, how it talks about how a fruit vendor man set himself on fair because of the mistreatment he had from policemen and officers. Then there’s the Jasmine revolution about how poor the living conditions are in those Arab’s areas. Right after that the January 25th Movement began to form peace from all the struggles that were going on and that movement was first form in Egypt. Globalization had hit the Arab world very hard since there has been social changes in the nation, institution, behavior, relations and the society itself. This tell us that the poor people are not living well in the Arab’s countries due to all the struggles they have.

  27. geovani rodriguez-dodgerdoom@yahoo.com
    social change is caused by revolution. A man set himself on fire to demonstrate social change. he was protesting the unjust treatment of his people. This is caused by globalization. The exploitation of people for their land and resources. this is created based on the Neo-liberalism concept. that trade should be free and big business should be allowed to prosper. the article hits on how social media is able to get messages across and help created social change. That it helped created a revolution, like The Jasmine Revolution.

  28. I found it interesting that the article started off by saying that because the fruit vendor set himself on fire in Tunisia, the protests had started and the Jasmine Revolution succeeded. The protests had begun before the January 25th movement, but it wasn’t until the fruit vendor made national headlines, did the protests in Egypt and Libya become huge national news. By using force and violence the protesters were getting what they wanted by President Mubarak stepping down from office and this triggered other citizens from countries like Libya, Iran and Syria to protest and change their government. This social change came through the citizens and not the government which shows a lot about what the citizens can do for a country and how important citizens are to globilization. It seems like it took a while for the goverment to make changes and the citizens were the main point to get the ball rolling in helping one another and the country as a whole.

  29. The fruit vendor in Tunisia setting himself on fire shows how tired the poor class of poor countries are of the constant mitreatment they recieve. This is ,in a way, an example of how globalization does not benefit poor counties at all.Like it said in the video that business corporations and investors who usually avoid countriess that seem to be unsafe. These countries are mostly the Arab world and the middle East. And I think because of that, the people are very poor there and want to protest agaisnt there situation.

  30. It is interesting how Globalization is sweeping throughout many areras of the world such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, all of which are poor countries. What was intriguing in the begining of this article was about the fruit vender who set himself on fire to prove a strong point. Many of these countries are going through many social and economic changes that we only see through the mass media. With many revolutions such as the Jasmine Revolution, the January 25th Movement, and some more along the way towards Libya, we can clearly see that social changes are about to be brought greatly to these poor Arab countires.

  31. Being mistreated by police officers and officials lead to a man who set himself on fire in Tunisia. It had to lead to that to get the government to see how corrupt their policies were.

    That then led to the Jasmine revolution that is taking place because the people want change and they need help. The January 25th movement is taking over and moving rapidly. That tells us that not only are they in trouble and mistreated in Egypt but also in the surrounding countries as well.

    Globalization also led to this because it was free trade and had cheap labor prices which made people work harder for less money.

  32. To think that enable to bring attention to a negative issue, one man in Tunsinia had to burn himself and brought notice of the mistreatment by the police and municipal officials. This one terrible action started a a civil resistance, January 25 Movement, and the Jasmine Revolution had proven to succeed. Though someone had to do something so drastic, it caused a huge social change that people started to notice the wrong in their own nation. Globalization has been involved because now that media spreads the world and is able to be seen by all cultures, now that Egypt has civil resistance the people are trying to bring cultural change and Western ideas to their nation such as the Middle East. They are now realizing their civil rights as people.

  33. Mohamed Bouazizi is part of an age of a new generation that wants to move away from their generation old social norm of dictatorship and reach an ideology that globalization imposes on the world. However these ideas also stray from the purpose of revolutions such as the Jasmine Revolution and the January 25th Movement in Egypt. They fight for a government that will look out for the poorer people – or citizen in general – when globalization is meant to benefit the already wealthy. The new generations of this Arab world are demanding a social change but have nowhere to go yet. There world has been forced in into a downward spiral of pain and death in hopes that it will turn around and they can rise from the rubble.
    With the motivational spark of one mans struggles and courage to stand out of the crowd and make the issue seen these nations people have gathered and will continue to fight for the world that they see as better until they are given the change and reform the demand, deserve and hope to one day live.

  34. For every incidence, there has to be an initiation act because it sparks people’s attention all over the world. This sort of action is the thought of globalization. In Tunisia, people want to be connected to the rest of the world and fruit vendor, who set himself on fire truly believed in it. The struggle( protests) after initial action of fruit vendor, jasmine revolution triggered other countries in middle east to look at their government and make a significant change. Further more, Egypt has its own revolution, January 25th movement to set an example for unity and independence in nations. One small social change is enough to trigger a difference in people’s mind.

  35. The protest in Tunisia have become out of hand when a fruit vendor had set himself on fire because of the mistreatment of the police officers. With also the Jasmin revolution succeeded and the January 25th movement causing the President to step down it is clear that the middle east has issues that have caused major controversy that other countries have noticed. Globalization is not benefiting the smaller countries and the people. It really makes me question the corporations that do this, they should be helping the smaller countries and not damaging them.

  36. It’s sad that a man had to set himself on fire to make people realize how bad some people are being mistreated. This is one thing that began a social change, because soon many other nations started revolution.

  37. Globalization is suppose to be all about free markets but it seems to only benefit some countries. Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya are all victims of it. The January 25th Movement and the Jasmine Revolution show it. In both revolutions people were upset over food inflation. Where are these countries’ natural resources going? Outside the county to people who will pay more money for it. Thanks to technology we can see the social change in these countries not only due to corruption but also due to globalization.

  38. As the globilization period, the neo-liberalism (the idealogy of free market )is becoming more popular. People over the world (especially people from the poor country) are learn more better thing from other country. With the government that has controlled too much on the econmis. people wouldn’t have much freedom. When they realize that , people would ask for change. The vendor in Tunisia set himself on the fire to protest the mistreatment is the example of peole stand up. Together with the series of revolution in Africa and the Middle East country, there are the example of the outrage of people when the goverment overcontrol. People in the poor country are want to change. THey want to be a part of globilization. people asking for freedom to do business and they want freedom in the life.

  39. It is surprising to see that it had to reach to this extent in order for these middle east countries to gain independence through these social changes. Starting with the fruit vendor in Tunisia who set himself on fire to protest mistreatment, it is sad that it took someones death to start the Jasmine Revolution. finally after all the protest they have succeeded. The January 25th Movement began and it caused president Mubarak to step down. It will be interesting to see what happens next with all the social change occurring. I am glad that at last countries such as Tunisia will have there freedom. I believe there will be many more countries facing the same issues such as globalization in the future.

  40. These acts of protest and defiance shows that the world is ready for change. It seems that people are not standing for being treated wrongly by their governments. This particular movement has started in Africa and the middle east and its is a matter of time for the west and europe to follow. Collectively as a planet they way governments are governing their people are not in good ways. The people have the power to revolt against the govern and I feel people have forgotten about that.

  41. Egypt is one of the most neoliberal country in the world, and we can see it fail due to the huge amount of unemployment and unrest among the citizens currently residing in Egypt.

    As we have seen, globalization has weakened the position of poor countries and exposed poor people to harmful competition. The poor stay poor and competition is tough. The gap between the rich and poor just keeps getting bigger, and the rich will continue to get richer with globalization while the poor continue to compete for wealth and opportunities for wealth.

    The revolt was more about political changes, like removing and impeaching the repressive government, holding elections, and basic human rights.

  42. Tunisia was a neo-liberal country that exploited the people with a vast monopoly. The dictators had many sons who controlled every aspect of the economy. The fruit vendor that set himself on fire in hyper-frustration was the event that sparked all of the already existing anxieties towards the corrupt government. Egypt and Libya followed the Tunisian example and wanted to get rid of their dictators. The modern mass media helped bring about this remarkable change.

  43. It should not be surprising that so many of these countries are dealing with political turmoil. It was only a matter of time until the citizens rose up and began to protest for change. Part of the reason so many citizens are protesting is because of the lack of opportunities in employment. This is the direct result of globalization since poorer nations such as these are the ones who have to deal with the negative consequences of globalization.
    In the mostly neoliberal world we live in, large international coorporations ship their companies to these poorer nations. It sounds good because it creates new jobs, but the companies often times pay their workers pennies a day. These unfair wages/working conditions along with the suppression of the people by their governments have consequently led to all the revolts in the region.

  44. The ideology of free markets, also referred to as neo-liberalism, would have benefits to poorer countries if they had protections in place. But based on how free markets work to the detriment of the poor because these so-called free market companies help set up governments to eliminate social services and replace them with services or commodities that the society must now pay for, the poor lose out and become oppressed. People can only stay oppressed for so long before their frustration play out.
    Mohammed Bouazizi’s frustration was clear when he set himself on fire. This selfless act led to the Jasmine Revolution and with social media in play, it probably help the January 25 movement in Egypt and helped the world see more social change play out in Libya.

  45. The democracy isn’t what it was in the past because the people today are not afraid to speak out for their civil rights. We can see that there has been a social change throughout our history. The issue with the fruit vendor setting himself on fire was to show his people that if they don’t stop what is wrong then there is no escaping the mistreatments; therefore leading to the Jasmine Movement. I believe that due the the large globalization poorer countries are going through more trouble they are not getting paid enough with their hard work but instead richer countries like the US are enjoying their benefits, which we often complain about. In the world of neoliberalism, the rich will become richer and the poor will become poorer and the only thing that we can do is to speak up and put our feelings into action.

  46. Looking at the reasoning behind the Jasmine Revolution and the January 25th Movement in Egypt, it is reasonable to say that the people felt that they needed to step up and fight for social change because of the way they are being treated by their government. One of the reasons why these people feel mistreated can be due to the large globalization taking over poor countries. Since North Africa and the Middle Eastern countries consists of people who are extremely poor, these people have to suffer from neoliberalism. This creates poor working conditions for workers with not enough pay for them to live off on. With globalization occurring in poor countries, the poor also has to suffer from not having social services since the government is cutting back on such services in order to keep the market system going. In the end, as the rich gets richer, the poor gets poorer. Those who have control of the people aren’t very sympathetic when it comes to being aware of how mistreated the people really are. Therefore, the people need to find a way in order to gain the attention that they really need. The fruit vendor who set himself on fire in Tunisia is a great example of someone who is seeking for attention, showing those in power that the people are sick and tired of the mistreatment they have to face every day of their lives and that they are willing to take any risks of hurting themselves in order to send out a message.

  47. Neoliberalism, or the the ideology of free markets, could be to blame for Mr. Bouazizi’s extreme actions to protest the country and its government. With this unstoppable process of neoliberalism, governments are encouraged to cut back on funding for social services and spend that money on opening markets to foreign capital. As a result, this ideology only benefits corporations, leaving citizens of poor countries left to fend for themselves in bad conditions such as poverty and high unemployment rates with no social protection.
    As mentioned before, Mr. Bouazizi’s actions are an example of the citizens becoming fed up with the conditions they have been living in and the lack of control over the corporations by the government. His actions played a very important role jumpstarting the Jasmine Revolution and the January 25th Movement that challenge this globalization process called neoliberalism.

  48. Because of Neoliberalism, a fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire. His name was Mr. Bouaziz’s and he did this because he though this globalization proccess of neoliberalism was unfair and wanted a change to happen. Indeed it did, the Jasmine revolution happenen and this also started the January 25th movment. Social change was amount the people. All it took was one brave man to stand up for what he belived in.
    Although what he did was brave and make a change it is still very sad to know he had to do it in a way that hurt himself and was so drastic. Hopfully this will change and no one else will have to take such drastic measures to get whats fair.

  49. Not since the Time magazine images of a Buddhist monk setting himself afire have we been so kicked in the head by events of this magnitude.
    We have a man like any other man who has spent his life clawing out some modicum of a living in order to provide for his family and loved ones only to have some unkind governmental soul simply walk up to take it away. This man tried “various channels” to no avail and when he could take no more, he sent them, the government souls as loud and as clear a message as he could.
    You see this man in not just one, he is one of many souls that are tired of simply being walked over by
    those that have and sadly, such things occur not only there but around the globe.
    Our world is becoming a much smaller place due to Globalization and Neo-liberalization. To say that
    the little guy is being forgotten is an understatement. As a result of this and I am sure many other similar incidents that did not make the evening news, we have the Jasmine Revolution. It is simply a cry to those in power to be fair and hospitable to ALL concerned NOT just those with “connections”. It is both sad and frightening that
    in order for someone to take notice someone else
    must sacrifice themselves by igniting themselves with paint thinner to make a point!
    This writer feels the bottom line is that all around the world we all need to treat each other in a better manner of such events will only be the beginning or an even worse set of events to come!

  50. its crazy to me how big of a separation there is between everyday working class people and “political elites”. The political elites are supposed to have the best interest of there “people” and be understanding and helpful, but instead the majority of them are greedy selfish people who only care about themselves. its really no surprise to me that these revolutions have happened, you can only tear a person down so much before they can take it anymore and revolt. I can see these type of revolutions happening elsewhere in the world and its just a matter of time. its the classic story of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

  51. When looking at the video on globalization and reading this article, it came to me that the idea of free markets, or neo-liberalism, aren’t necessarily benefiting the poorer countries because there aren’t any regulations that protect them. In this, when the poorer countries are not benefiting from globalization, it’s bound to “fall apart” at one point sooner or later. But looking at the reasoning behind the events of January 25th Movement and the Jasmines Revolution, you can see that the people who felt that they were mistreated felt that they had to fight for some type of social change and it didn’t matter what form they fought in. In this article, it was when a fruit vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire as a sign of a protest of mistreatment. This was how he stepped up in and voiced his mistreatment. In the video, it said that politics and government should stay out of the free markets, but that is not always the case. It also mentioned that globalization can either benefit many groups or it may not, but that in recent years, it’s been imperfect because it tends to leave out poorer countries of the world. This is due to the amount of investments which tend to avoid the countries that are seen to be unsafe and thus, parts of the world are left out of the process.

  52. What’s cool about the revolutions, particularly the one in Egypt is the extent of it’s unity. For the particular case of Egypt, there are many different religions, political groups, ethnic groups, not to mention social classes that exist. Here, we have a nation of people where all stratas of society have come together and united for a common goal. Now that they have succeeded in toppling a corrupt regime, it is important that they politically mobilize in order to prevent a vacuum effect. The restructuring on an entire institution is no easy task. Also it is amazing to me the role technology has played in not only politically organizing but also telling the world their story as it was unfolding.

    I think there is also this misconception that neoliberalism is causally related to corrupt multi-national corporations, and destroyed markets for smaller/vulnerable countries. Are they related to exploitation? yes of course. A neoliberal market REGULATES corporations, refuses monopolizations (by foreign governments). Unfortunately for the smaller countries do not institutionally enforce these things causing their markets to fall victim to corrupt multinational corporations. Egypt is a developed nation with nationalized markets, we will see what happens with that soon…

  53. The situation in the Arab world really came with no surprise for me. For years, the so-called “leaders” of these countries who have Neo- liberalism well anchored in their minds have been abusing the population. The politics of “its mine and i do what i want with it ” has spread in most countries in Africa. Leaders treat the country and the people as if they were their private property. They decide of the ways to run the country: laws and constitution changes and mainly they have a hand on the economic situation of the country. Globalization brought foreign corporations in nations that are trying to “get up” hence reducing the market accessibility to local firms and enterprises. It causes frustration to the population but its beneficiary to the leaders so.. Poor Sidi had to be the bitter voice of the people screeming ” we have had enough, it is time for change and we want it now”.

  54. It seems that the actions of the fruit vendor, no doubt helped to get the actions of the rest of the people moving. This great act of courage/defiance towards the government maltreatment was just the tip of the iceberg towards the revolution. The class/economic divide that is increasing due to neo-liberalism indeed ignited the people. They were starting to get fed up with the dictating, mistreatment, and overall horror from the government.
    Luckily through a type of globalization and just the ever more connectedness of the world, this story got out through social media outlets. This helps to spread like a wild fire. Without this connectedness, the messages/actions of the people would have taken a much longer time to get out. If this new type of media was not present, then maybe the landscape of the situation would be much different. If this type of revolution was trying to be enacted in the past it must have been much more difficult without the outside world looking in on the atrocities that we all witnessed from this situation.

  55. I think that without globalization, in regards to social media and our ability to communicate internationally almost instantaneously, these revolts could not have taken place. Similar to how the civil rights movement during the 1960s prompted another wave a feminism in the U.S. , these cycles of social change are driven by one another. Despite that benefit, globalization and neo-liberalism have made it possible for dictators to seize control of poorer countries (which are are disregarded) and abuse their people. The fruit vendor in Tunisia, the Jasmine Revolution, and the January 25th Movement are all examples of oppressed peoples revolting against their governments with the assistance of social media networks.

  56. hi

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