There is a reason as to why people behave in any manner. These reasons may be practically or theoretically explained as to their causes. Theoretically, behaviors can be explained using theories such as the relative deprivation theory and the frustration aggression theory. This paper identifies a social behavior i.e. a revolution and tries to explain it using the available theories. Precisely, the paper discusses the Arab Spring revolution and provides its details as related to the frustration-Aggression theory.
The Arab Spring is a pan-regional turbulence which affected the Arab countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco Sudan, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. This revolutionary wave was characterized by Violent and non-violent, civil wars, riots, protests and demonstrations in the major cities of the affected states. The uprising started in December 2010 and has recurred to date though it has calm in most of the countries. The fallout can be explained using the frustration-aggression theory which argues that social movements are as a result of frustrations that lead to a collective and aggressive behavior (Sanderson 387). The theory further describes frustrations as absolute or relative which happens when people experience survival difficulties due to lack of necessities and when people have as much as the people surrounding them have, respectively.
The Arab Spring evolutionally movement is believed to have sprouted from Tunisia when Muhamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after he was harassed and humiliated by municipal officers (Dupont and Florence para 1). He was a street vendor who could no longer persevere to the injustices that were prevailing in Tunisia at that time. The incident came at a time when most of Tunisia citizen were lamenting of food inflation, high rate of unemployment, poor living standards and deprivation of the freedom of speech. This shows that the people of Tunisia were suffering from frustration and had begun to despair in life. According to frustration-aggression theory, frustration precedes aggression. The suffering of people of Tunisia is a good sign of frustration. Bouazazi self-immolation instigated demonstrations and protests which can also be described as a collective action or aggression. The Tunisia revolution movement marked the beginning of the Arab Spring as a good match to frustration aggression hypothesis.
The Arab spring swept through Egypt in January 2011 and persisted for about 18 days. The government of Egypt blamed the media activists and disrupted the nation’s access to the internet. However, this never stopped thousands of Egyptians from protesting in the streets. The government did not know that there was more than activism that made people aggressive. The failure of the government to halt the aggression by curtailing access to social media is evidence that the claims of Egyptians were genuine and valid at individual and society level. The Egyptians had constant pressure of living that came from frustration of people by the government (Dupont and Florence 1). Most of the citizens involved in these demonstrations were youths. They accused the President Mubarak government of failure to address economic and political injustices that lowered the living standards of the people and increased the rate of unemployment. Most of the people hardly met they basic living standards thus making the pressure earn a living, to build. It is inherent that the situation in Egypt led to frustrations that best explain the origin of the collective and aggressive behavior of the Egyptians in the Cairo protests. Another aspect of this theory is evident from the behavior of Hosni Mubarak in power. At the onset of the protests, Mubarak dismissed the whole of the cabinet and appointed a fresh one. The Act fueled the protest further. Therefore, it means that amidst the Protestants, there were those who were frustrated after their privileges in cabinet were drawn to others making them aggressive.
The Arab spring in the Libyan context was not any different from that in Tunisia and Egypt. It started February 15, 2011 and assumed the form of civil war (Dupont and Florence 6). The protests were fueled by the authoritarian rule of Muammar Gaddafi that had lasted for forty two years. The Muammar Gaddafi opposition was a fight for power, something that some of the Libyans believed was a right for everyone not just Gaddafi and his lineage. The pro-Gaddafi people on the other had believed that Gaddafi deserved to rule as the president to the expiry of his period something that created rebellion. The stay of Gaddafi in power was a frustration to those who aspired for such powers and this caused aggression which resulted to radical war that became part of the spreading Arab Spring.
The revolutionary wave hit Yemen in the mid-January 2011, in the towns to the north and south of Yemen. The initial claims of the Protestants were the poor economic conditions, unemployment and corruption. Their demands also included the protests against the proposed change of the constitution and to push for the resignation of the president Abudullah Sareh. The frustrations in Yemen were both absolute and relative. The absolute frustration made people desperate for lack of necessities that are important for a better living while the relative frustration explains why President Ali Abdullah Sareh was faced with opposition from his advisors who wanted to be his successors (Dupont and Florence 3). In Syria, things were the same and people protested against public oppression and governance. In both cases, frustration is depicted followed by aggression thus proving the frustration-aggression hypothesis.
Dupont, Cedric and Florence, P. The Arab Spring or how to explain those Revolutionary Episodes. Swiss Political Science Review. 2013 Accessed on 27th March 2014 < http://graduateinstitute.ch/files/live/sites/iheid/files/shared/Winter/2012/Presentations_Cours/dupont_passy_debate_arab_spring_proof_read.pdf >
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