Tunisia: The Cradle of the Arab Spring

Where It All Began


December 17th, 2010 was like any normal day to us. At least, it was suppose to be like any normal day. But to someone else halfway across the world, that is thttps://www.google.com/search?q=tunisia&biw=1214&bih=668&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNyN2boN3QAhUK8mMKHdmXDjcQ_AUICCgD#tbm=isch&q=tunisian+revolution+2011&imgrc=8Ws3ze55TXRkqM%3Ahe day that their entire world would change. Chaos had broken out in the Arab world. Uprisings, turmoil, and revolutions were in the air. Something big was coming, and there was no stopping it. Countries such as Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt were on the brink of destruction as revolts arose and its citizens sought reform. Civil war broke out. Leaders were fleeing their homelands. Governments were crumbling. Societies were in disarray. Would there be any sign of hope? For one country, disaster was going to be halted in its tracks. Tunisia was the country of hope and redemption. Reminding themselves that prosperity and collaboration are key, they decided to intertwine aspects of a robust humanity rather than allow destruction inhabit their country. Tunisia has been seen as the democratic success story of the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings due to its support and enhancement of the military, new freedom of expression reforms, and above all, becoming a cohesive civil and political society.

Tunisia was a repressive government that never really saw much change since gaining its independence from France. After gaining its independence, the country had only seen 2 regimes over the span of 50 to 60 years. These years were harsh times for everyone who was not part of the elites and the regime. Corruption had taken over its governmental foundation, and Tunisia’s citizens could no longer have a say in the way they lived their lives or have access to what was going on behind closed doors. Their voices were shattered, and their freedom of expression and dignity were constantly under fire. There was no real military presence to protect the people. Everything was in chaos. After the revolution began in 2011 however, the regime realized how important it was to keep their country together rather than fall to ruins. The military was never against the people, rather, supported their fire for democracy and change. Freedom of expression had found the light, and people’s voices were starting to be heard by those in power. The corrupt regime of Al-Assad was overturned, and the government worked toward becoming a cohesive and civil society with its people. Life in Tunisia was improving, and they were on the road to recovery and ultimately, democracy.

Media sources that have covered Tunisia’s transition include the Washington Post, Observer News and Politics and The North Africa Post. I had used one article from each of these sources to research how Tunisia was functioning before the uprisings, what had lead to the revolts and how the country had function when the revolution was in full throttle and also focused on how Tunisia prevailed in the following years. The sources took a look at the government structures, economic systems, the lives of the citizens as well as the social differences. These sources offered insight in several areas of the revolution which proved valuable for my research paper because it offered different perspectives on why the uprisings were revolutionary and how quickly a country’s regime can be torn apart. These sources showed the importance of power for the people rather than oppressing them.


Culbertson, Shelly. “Tunisia Is an Arab Spring Success Story.” Observer News and Politics. Apr. 2016. The Observer: Tunisia Is an Arab Spring Success Story

El Kotbi, Rabia. “Freedom of Expression in Post–Revolution Tunisia, Gains and Pitfalls.” The North Africa Post.com.  11 Dec. 2012. The North Africa Post: Freedom of Expression in a Post Revolution Tunisia Gains and Pitfalls

Ghannoushi, Soumaya. “Tunisia’s Relative Success Story Five Years On Since the Arab Spring.” Middle East Eye. 14 Jan. 2016. The Middle East Eye: Tunisia’s Relative Success Story Five Years on Since the Arab Spring

Grewal, Sharan. “How Tunisia’s Military Has Changed During Its Transition to Democracy.” Washington Post. The Washington Post: How Tunisia’s Military Has Changed During Its Transition to Democracy

Massinger, Kate. “Tunisia Today.” The Yale Review of International Studies RSS. Yale   International Relations Associations, Oct. 2014. The Yale Review: Tunisia Today

Noueihed, Lin, and Alex Warren. The Battle for the Arab Spring. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2013. Print.

Petersson, Catherine. Freedom of Expression and the Downfall of the Regime: The Tunisian Revolution and the Transition to Democracy. Lund University – Department of History. Oct. 2011. Lund University: Freedom of Expression and the Downfall of the Regime

Student Authors: Lindsay Sugar. Junior at Champlain College.

Faculty Evaluator: Professor Rob Williams. Professor at Champlain College.

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