Remember the martyrs of the Arab Spring [OPINION]

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It’s been well over a year since the first protests that swept the Middle East. People strove and longed for change and freedom, and it came, but only with the loss of thousands. Remembering the martyrs of the Arab Spring is something essential to keeping the revolutions going. Their souls are the crucial part of change and democracy in the Middle East. Quite literally, they are the ones who lit protests in the Middle East. Starting in Tunisia, when Mohammed Boazizi, a street vendor lit himself on fire in the middle of the street due to harassment by a municipal official. Boazizi made history in the Arab world on that day, although he lost his life doing so.

After Tunisians overthrew their president in less than 28 days, the people of Tunisia were ecstatic and overwhelmed with happiness. After Egyptians overthrew Mubarak, they were about to fly to the stars. It was huge for them and for others around the world. After Gaddafi’s life ended by the hands of Libyan rebels, the people felt the freedom beating the pulse of their hearts. After Yemenis overthrew Ali Abdullah Saleh, they felt as if the weights on their shoulders were lifted, finally feeling like they can breathe.

While these countries overthrew their leaders, Syria and Bahrain continue to fight day after day to overthrow their leaders. Syrians have lost over 11,000 people since the start of their uprising. Dozens in Bahrain were injured and killed by teargases that were being thrown by riot police randomly into homes and streets when protests were held.

After overthrowing Ben Ali, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Ghaddafi and Ali Abdullah Saleh, some have forgot the martyrs of the Arab Spring. The innocent civilians that were killed by security forces left a mark on the streets of each country with their blood and tears. When patriotism is extremely high, and hopes for a better future are low, dying for a cause that may end up changing their people’s lives seems the best way to help, especially since they felt like they had nothing left to be optimistic about.

Clearly, those who died for their country because they believed in something are very precious people. They shouldn’t be forgotten whatsoever. Anti-government protesters call them heroes; symbolic figures. Their pictures are plastered on the walls across the Arab world, with the dates of their deaths. Many were relatively young, which goes to show you how the youth of each country believed in an optimistic life for themselves and their families, no matter the sacrifice. They believed that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but had to die to see it, marking their footprints in this tunnel of change. The killing of innocent youth has also showed the truth about our barbaric governments, exposing the way they are merciless towards their people.

Regardless of what may people think, the lives that were lost brought the change that each nations’ citizens wanted to see for decades. Days will continue to pass, time will fly and many people will forget the faces of the martyrs, but one thing that people will never forget: their calls for change.

After decades of deception, the people of each nation finally woke up and stood up for their basic rights as humans. Sadly, with each rally held during the Arab Spring, many have fallen. Their battles for better lives ended short by bullets, explosions, sharpnel and even teargas suffocation. Many mourn for their friends and loved ones, but there comes a sense of pride that they have died as martyrs.

Commemorating the martyrs plays an enormous role for freedom and democracy seekers. The remembrance of the martyrs has steered the people together emotionally, feeling a spiritual connection whether it’d be at a candle light vigil or simply in a place of worship.

As the Arab Spring continues in each country it claimed, struggles arise and daily fears persist. Continuing to remember those who have died for the sake of democracy will bring positive energy to the cause of each country’s goals. Although there are obstacles ahead, the people will get there and achieve them. Positive reforms will eventually be placed and new laws and order without oppression will come.

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About Summer Nasser
Blogger, with Yemeni roots based in New York City. Student of Sociology (B.A.) with a focus on the country of Yemen. I would consider myself a student of knowledge.

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