It seems the
Tunisia, where the uprising began with the self-immolation of a desperate young street vendor, marked the three-year anniversary this week of the overthrow of President
Marches through Tunis, the capital, evoked both the gains and setbacks of the post-Ali era, with Tunisians celebrating their evolution from repression to self-determination while also lamenting the assassinations, political clashes and economic turmoil that has dogged the movement's progress.
But in contrast with turbulent Egypt and
The Arab Spring is an ongoing political process whose success or failure will take years more to determine, Dubai political science professor Abdulkhaleq Abdulla asserted in a commentary for the Gulf News.
But the movement "was inspirational for the Arabs and impressed the world with its suddenness and youthfulness," Abdulla wrote. "It injected some badly needed sense of hope in the terminally hopeless Arab world. The Arab Spring brought freedom to nearly 150 million Arabs in five Arab states which had enough of the highly corrupt one-man and one-party regimes."
Tunisia's ambassador to Pakistan, Mourad Bourehla, likewise penned a sober account of the country's progress toward stable democracy in a commentary for the Daily Times.
"Tunisia has become distinguished not only as the spark that ignited the 'Arab Spring' uprisings, but also as the first of these to successfully institutionalize the 'revolution' through what have been hailed as the first-ever free, transparent and pluralistic elections in the history of the country," Bourehla noted.
Alluding to the occasional violence and social strife that has accompanied the transition, the diplomat observed that "Tunisia is not an exception -- democratic transitions are always difficult but with the resilience of the civil society, the active role of the women organizations, the trade unions, Tunisia is about to win the challenge and to be a model for democratic transition."
Tunisia's success in achieving compromise and political consensus on a balance between Islamist striving to impose sharia law and liberals' ardent struggle for a secular state have set it apart from the other revolutionary venues of 2011.
In Egypt, where massive demonstrations ousted the 30-year rule of President
Syria, approaching the three-year mark of a popular uprising against President
Oil-rich Libya, which waged a fierce campaign to rid the country of the 42-year dictatorship of
In Yemen, where the 34-year autocracy of President
Tunisia, in contrast, has cause for hope of a better outcome, the elected leader who stepped aside for the next political contest said in a speech Monday.
"We are very far from realizing the objectives of the revolution," said outgoing President Moncef Marzouki. But Tunisia is on "the right track, [even if] the path is still difficult and dangerous."