Arab Revolutions: From Tunisia To Egypt, Is This The Beginning Of A Domino Effect?
Protests continue to sweep Egypt, as the world waits to see if President Hosni Mubarak will be forced from office. Those protesters are not alone. The movement leading the demonstrations in Egypt credited inspiration for their actions to the protesters in Tunisia, and a later protest in Yemen credited the Egyptians. What’s going on?
According to Foreign Policy, the successful ouster of autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali struck a chord with many young, angry Arab populations ready to protest. Writes Ellen Knickmeyer, “The unhappy youth in Tunisia are not alone in the Arab world. On Jan. 25, tens of thousands of young Egyptians took to the pavement in Cairo and other major Egyptian cities in the largest challenge to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in a generation. Other crowds have shaken the streets of Sanaa, Algiers, and Amman.”
She also notes, “And rather than the Arab world’s usual suspects — bearded Islamists or jaded leftists — it is young people, angry at the lack of economic opportunity available to them, who are risking their lives going up against police forces.” Why is the Middle Eastern youth so angry? Much of the frustration can be traced to extremely high unemployment rates. As Knickmeyer notes, the unemployment rate for young people in North Africa and the Middle East, who make up sixty percent of the area’s population, is four times higher than the average rate in the region.