Following the events in Tunisia that forced former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country, netizens across the Arab world are asking: “are we next?”
Egyptian journalist and blogger Mona Eltahawy, who has kept close watch on the Twittersphere throughout the Tunisian uprising, penned a widely-read column this morning entitled “More Tunisias, Please” in which she noted that the Arab world is watching with bated breath to see if “another Tunisia” will occur:
Ben Ali imprisoned or chased into exile viable alternatives to his rule, so what comes next politically is not clear. But the world is watching this small Arab country and wondering if this is the first step in ridding the region of its granddaddies.
Analyst Juan Cole also suggested the potential for Tunisia to be the start of something bigger:
…But since Tunisia is Sunni and Arab, it would not be embarrassing for Egyptians, Algerians, Syrians and Jordanians to borrow its techniques and rhetoric for their own domestic purposes, which makes it potentially influential. Certainly an alliance of frustrated BA holders, professionals, workers, farmers, progressives and Muslim activists that results in a parliamentary democracy would likely have more resonances in the Arab world than Iran’s authoritarian rule by ayatollah (Sunnis don’t have ayatollahs). It remains to be seen if little Tunisia is the start of something, or one more false dawn.
Tunisia today, fascist Syria tomorrow. The revolution is coming. Bring democracy to the Arab Middle East.
What will happen next remains to be seen, but it is undeniable that the Tunisian uprising has sparked hope for tides of change across the Arab world.