Arabic Spring between Revolution and Counter-Revolution

Translated by: Delil Saado

Also available in العربيةKURDÎ


Arabic World has witnessed a wave of protests which have begun since the late of 2010, many have argued about its name; everyone has called it according to his/her perspective or his/her political affiliation. The strange paradox is that tow political  mainstreams or trends  have not even agreed about naming this movement with the same name; some of them called it a revolution, others uprising, some called it a movement, some called it a crisis, and some of them focused on naming it a conspiracy .

The Reasons have led to the Emergence of the Protests

Region has lived within systems called “Modern States” since the beginning of the 20th century and has had its imitative features from the European States Post-Enlightenment Revolution, but these systems were not being mimicked to the original version because of the depth and originality of Authority concept, and Authoritarianism was deeply-rooted in the reality of this region, which is considered the mainspring of this concept.

Despite the fact that plenty of state’s orientation in the region of the Middle East towards building a model republics which it has the characteristic of giving people kind of the right of choosing the authority, more importantly part and different one from previous systems, that it has started to conduct the election process as a democratic orientation, in order to fill the functional spaces in the state’s structure, but the truth is that this process has not exceeded the formal boundaries and (shadow lists), and we have not encountered government change since the beginning of 20th century and up till now by this process, and if any government had changed, it would probably have been changed though bloody coups; coups were the only way for changing governments or persons, but throughout last four decades this mean is no longer works as an attempt for change, and all of presidents of these “republics” have clung to the chair; “the Authority Chair”, by doing institutional amendments that guarantee their long stay in charge of power and keeping it in their ancestry, therefore, there is no way you could claim about the existence of republican system in its simplest forms in the Middle East.

By the passage of time, this type of state transforms from a political and an administrative system to a system depends excessively on the intelligence; it transforms to a police state, so that, the most influential institutions are the intelligence institutions in such states which its main task is to protect the president and a bunch of people around him as they consider them the citizens of first class, thereby individual, social, political, and even economic freedoms are tightly being made difficult . The state, which its sons have sacrificed in order to be built, is turning into a nightmare, taking away their hopes, they have thought that it will bring a space of freedom, justice, and equality.

They posed a stereotype which differs from the human nature that aspires to diversity, contrast, and difference, and they made out of difference the most sort of dangerous threats whether it is religious, racial, or a national difference. They have built prisons for an offender and who is out of context which has been drawn by the state in order to discipline who is inside as well as who is outside. So that, the state has become overall prison for its people.

The economic exploitation, which is being done by those who are in charge and their entourage surrounding them under the name of “public funds”, or “State’s Property” has led to the elimination of a wide range percentage of the Middle Class, and it has formed two completely different classes; Wealthy Class who was a limited number and a widespread Poor Class, and it has produced a massive crowds of an unemployed and hungry people.

In spite of the fact that this type of state has tried hard for the elimination of Internal Dynamics (Youth, woman, crushed poor people, countryside, racial and religious minorities, and others), it has put them in an idle and a weak situation. But, the incidents of the Arab Spring have proven the vitality of these dynamics.

These reasons altogether have led to consequences which are the rebellion, an internal disobedience, going out to squares, chanting the slogans of revolution, and requesting for the overthrow of Regime.

Is it possible to consider this rebellion a Revolution?

In order to answer this question you have to give a definition of revolution.

Revolution in Semantic

The meaning of a word revolution differs from language to another one; in English it is called: (Revolution) which means rebellion, or the overthrow of Regime ), in Turkish language it is (Devrim) which means a coup as well as in Persian, and unlike, what mentioned above  in Kurdish language (şoreş) it means as an opposite . In Arabic Language it means revolted a revolutionary way; raged and upset.

Revolution Terminological

Revolution in political terminology is being identified as: a fundamental change in political and social situations, in which people is conducting it in a state. Many have identified the term of “Revolution” as a state of transformation of the quantitative accumulations to the qualitative changes when it reaches the necessary criterion.

Ocalan*, the thinker, has said in this regard “Dialectic characteristics in the social transformations are based on lows and legislations: the start-up variations such as a quantitative accumulations, throughout a long period of time, explodes faster and differently in a qualitative phase during assistance of an internal and external circumstances for it, or as a necessity” he stated.

Revolution Forms

Revolutions have many  forms and types, it is being identified by the existing basic contradictions in its time, its difference depends on its goals, one of them, for example, the Freedom Revolution against Sexism in the male society: it holds a permanent description in the struggle and aims to remove the inequality and discrimination between both genders, and the nature of this revolution is that it holds indications of a gradual change and development as well as the Cultural Revolutions and the Information Technology Revolution which have occurred in the science and technology. The classified revolutions in the early of 20th century were the most vital at a certain phase: in addition, to the emergence of revolutions under the name of Patriotic Liberation Movements which kept going up to 70th of the 20th century.

Through this simplified presentation of the revolution forms, we have come to an outcome, that the term of revolution is not, necessarily, an equivalent for violence and armament, and what identify uses of revolution is the dialectic (development low) which was being followed at that time. While the revolutions which have taken Marxism as an approach and adopted its dialectic was probably the most bloody one, due to its adaptation of the armed conflict as a way to get to the victory and considering the revolutionary violence as “a midwife” for a new birth, because of the existence low of “the Low of Negation” in the Marxist Dialectic, which was the reason behind the adaptation of revolutions for the violence, at a period of time, as an attempt to neutralize totally the old , and replacing the new one in its place .

There is another dialect for development called “Heigl Dialectic” , or ” Heiglist Dialectic” relative to the German philosopher Heigl, who is known as “a Dialectic founder” which is the low that he depended on in the development according to the following formula: ( thesis + counter thesis = a new thesis ), the thesis is a standing existents, whereas the counter thesis is meant all what is new ( whether it is a new idea, philosophy, approach, a political and administrative system, or new values ), and the formula of “+” is meant a struggle between a thesis and the counter thesis; between the old and the new one (an alternative), and this struggle will lead to a new formula

(A new system), and the prominent feature of a new composition would always be the alternative formula; the feature of counter thesis. But, this cannot deny the existence of the old one, even if its existence was weak inside the new composition, and this equation counsels the denial process and a total negation to the old by the mean of violence, consequently, opens the way to conduct a permanent revolutions aiming to a comprehensive change in the structure of the social and political systems; for instance: (Ibrahim El-Khalil‘s breakthrough was as a counter-thesis against the old thesis represented in divinity of human and worshipping idols, he kept on the term of God, but he offered an alternative in his definition of God and presented the idea of prophecy as an alternative for the old one (Human Divinity) that is how he created a new values and theses) .

From the above-Mentioned, how can we Evaluate “the Arab Spring” ?

The protests of the Arab Spring has begun from the spark which has been launched by the Tunisian Mohamed El-Bouazizi on 17th of December in 2010 to announce the rebellion and disobedience against the totalitarian Regimes in the Middle East and burning the threads of the harness which have silenced  the mouths of the repressed peoples since nearly four decades . El-Bouazizi’s scream was the scream of an oppressed against oppression and the scream of famished against stuffed bellies from the toil of those simple people and curved heads whom had never expected that fate someday.

circumstances and conditions were in place for this scream to be transformed to revolution: these states called “Nation States”  and since its formation, it has tried hard to create a total integration and unification between people and a state throughout increasing a “Patriotic Slogans”, in which they have considered people as an integral part of state and this attempt, exactly, has been called with the fascism of state, and it was intended to tighten people and control them which has led to the creation of binary of “caretaker-rabble”, the Authority is a sponsor; ( Doer or subject), but the whole society has transformed to a herd; ( an object ), and was probably accepting this binary and classifying it under the banner of “Patriotic Principles”, because the protection of the state was considered as the protection of the homeland, but throughout the passage of time, or what is being called the historical context for the development, this binary has been exposed to a big crack in which “Herd” has begun to dust itself off  and asks about the meaning of its existence and the essence of its right of life .

The states, in general, nation state, in particular, does not hold the description of development and a permanent natural change ; it has remained in the same context which has been formed of, therefore, they have transformed, in a short period of time, to a conservative systems and have not kept up with the times, and it was close to the conservative section and very far away from ambitions, visions, and options of the young segment which has led to the situation of holding this generation’s breathe under the banner of these systems . This segment is going to turn into an important internal dynamic in such conditions, and it carries a flowing energy towards an alteration and renovation, especially, after the openness of this generation on the world and its experiences through networks, social media, and internet.

The other important condition was the ongoing  evolution in the mind of the largest social segment whom was satisfied or at least cannot find its way out from its enslavement, so it has accepted it as a “Natural  Situation” imposed on it, it has started to suspect about this situation and has begun to investigate it; especially, after the development of the Sexism awareness (Woman’s Perception of Herself), she has begun to announce about her ambitions in freedom, equality, justice, and refusing the unfair lows against her, especially, civil status lows and due to these changes that have occurred in this section; refusing to open up a space for her to express herself and not to create the amendments and reforms that are needed for this Regime and in the customs and traditions, was as if blocking the flow of the sweeping stream, which makes its explosion an enormous .

“the pressure generates an explosion” is a popular saying and a guidance for those who are in charge of reign, but, unfortunately, they have forgotten or it has been intentionally forgotten by all presidents of the region, and the societies have suffered from the situation of multiple pressure, under these models of states, due to the absence of freedom: since the freedom of speech was a serious problem as well as the absence or the weakness of press freedom…etc. .

The Problems that have prevented from the Access to the Level of Revolution

What has been agreed upon concerning the Arab Spring is that it was a spontaneous start, rejecting a reality full of tragedies, and it was a start of anger and rebellion without any preparations, it did not have correct tendencies and did not have an organized and pioneered force to control the course of events, that is why, it was a random and lacking of planning and programs. This mess has its reasons and dimensions: where the state has never granted society the right to freedom of organization, and whoever would try this, he/she would be considered out of low, and it was totally prohibited for the sections and segments to organize themselves out of state’s framework, and this way, the state has controlled the society and its freedoms.

One of the issues of Arab Spring was the lack of pioneered who would take the lead in its hands and direct this flowing power towards the path that leads to the success.

Who is meant by pioneered..?

1- An intellectual:

All revolutions are being created by intellectual, for example, who have established the ground for the Revolution of October, were Russian intellectuals, so the intellectuals and enlightened people have done a main role in the European Enlightenment Revolution.

What is the Role of an Intellectual in the Arab Spring?

No role has been noticed for an intellectual to be mentioned in the events of Arab Spring: since the role of the real intellectual is to establish a theory proceeded from the reality trouble and identification of the outcomes to get the rising of society to the ultimate goal, moreover, its tasks and duties for creation of the society imagination, at least theoretically and figuratively, for an alternative system that aspires to, systems begin to be destroyed when it loses its credibility in the people’s mind . The process of building a new system starts necessarily from the same point. But, what have obviously appeared is that an intellectual, in the region, lives a clear duality between what his/her pen produces and what he/she lives in his/her daily life, he/she was closer to the kind whom have been described in the Holy Quran “as the likeness of the ass carrying books”, he/she has got a significant accumulated and informative  cognitive, but it is quoted and acquired: he/she gets knowledge from books, media, and internet, and he/she hardly adds a something from his/her own to this knowledge, in addition, to his/her influence by “curriculum” which have made of him/her a selfish individual, his/her purpose in this life is the greatest profit, most of the educated people in the region have harnessed their pen for making money and they have made it a source for livelihood, whereas, we would not find ,historically, a real intellectual who has died with a wealth, beginning with Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Victor Hugo, Naguib Mahfouz etc… . An intellectual is the one who has got the spirit of responsibility towards tragedies of his/her society, especially, in some turning point phases and crises period, and he/she is a fighter for its sake such as Mansur Al-Hallaj, Giordano Bruno, etc… . While the role of the Arab intellectuals, who have allegedly taken neutral attitude, was a negative in the incidents of Arab Spring.

2 – The Role of the Political Parties in Arab Spring

A political party is known: as “a group of an organized people in a regulatory structural and they share the same ideology and struggle to be in charge of power”.

The emergence of the political parties coincided probably with the modern ages and it has regulatory resembled with the structural of the nation state and its hierarchy, and it has become its miniature. Nation state has lost its appeal among the society in the current situation, in which the society has no longer interested in the nationality of the state or in a nation state as much as it is interested in the level of freedom and its allowed space for it, it also looks for justice, security, and stability more than anything else. Likewise, the political parties as well, most of classical ones do not keep up with the times in its ideology, goals, its internal system, and its regulatory structural, and it has started to lose its popularity and its leading role, in which it has no longer represented people’s hopes and aspirations of freedom and equality, no matter what was its slogans or its announced purposes, in other words, all forms of political parties have bankrupt, nowadays. Therefore, no role of the political parties have been noticed in the Arab Spring incidents, in general, the political parties in the Middle East and in the Arabic World, in particular, have not promoted to the level of a party with all its known measurements and which have been universally agreed upon, and it is just a chunk of contradictions, its name has never ever expressed its reality, a good example in this regard, El-Baath, Socialist Arabic Party and its slogan “Unity, Freedom, and Socialism”  where El-Baath Party stands from these empty resonant slogans, or the name of a Communist Party that claims the left movement and it is a home-grown chauvinistic movement and one of the most racist parties for nationalism .Thus, the political parties haven not prepared to lead the incidents .

Another important point must be addressed in this context, which is the conflict over the power is an aggravated and chronic disease in the region, this is why the ruling parties have not given the chance for peoples to organize themselves in an appropriate way, out of their boundaries . So, the countries which have witnessed the incidents of the Arab Spring, have not developed anything on the behalf of opposition, where its purpose was only changing names and people on the top of the pyramid to be replaced with different ones, and that was unfortunate for the people of the region of the Arab Spring, their opposition was worse premise and more corrupt than governments themselves, which means that they were two side of the same coin.

The Role of Woman in the Arab Spring

Woman has effectively participated in the Arab Spring, and it has got a prominent role against the lack of freedom and discrimination in its all forms: beginning with the Jasmine Revolution, when one of women has climbed on the shoulders of two men and has called for freedom. Then, one of participants in the Liberation Square has launched her popular saying when she said “where there is a freedom, there is ethics,” and has wisely connected between a freedom and ethics. The Algerian and Sudanese Woman have recently participated the protests; where Alaa Salih has ascended her platform and has gained the title of “Revolution Icon”, and she has led the Sudanese Rebellion against the dictatorship of Omar Al-Bashir.

According to what has been expressed by one of the Arab intellectual ” if the revolution has not been feminized, cannot be reliable, but that is only applicable on the five preliminary  phases (an oppression, congestion, demonstration, an explosion, and change ), and woman is not required to have a vital role in the following phases”, and it is the main reason why the Arab Spring has not reached to the level of an integrated modern revolution, the revolution that has not put on its agenda the freedom of woman as its main goals, basically, cannot be considered a revolution and does not have the chance to achieve the other goals which has sought for, and the freedom of woman is the basis of all kinds of freedom; in which all diseases are centered around Authority such as (an exploitation, lack of freedoms, the denial of the other and rejecting him/her, the lack of democracy as a culture and as one of the forms of the management, the culture of rape, the environmental and political problems, and the problems of cultural, dogmatic, and nationality minorities. These issues altogether have emerged with the development of the Authority concept which has historically begun from the developing concept of the Masculine Authority, in which has become the basis of all types of authorities, whether it is political, religious, or the authority of money.

When a man entered woman’s house to become a householder and dominated on all her moral and material values, she had lost her existence as a doer in all aspects of life, consequently, and the whole humanity had lost. On the basis of a saying: “if you lost something at somewhere, you would have to look for it at the same place”, the one who aspires whether it is socially, politically, or individually, for freedom , first of all: he/she has to seek for the freedom of woman, because her freedom is the freedom of society, and that does not mean giving her just a space to participate only in the primarily phases of a movement or a revolution, but also she should have been given the right to take part effectively in the decision making centers and in the political field, and that is what the Arab Spring has missed which is one of the most important reasons why these protests have not reached to the level of a revolution .


Counter-Revolution could be called as the twin of the revolution, it appears coincided with the revolution and hidden in its dress, it is like a virus that hides among the healthy cells and then starts to erode the healthy cells, these components get benefit from disorder that is being occurred by revolution and delude people of its reality which leads people to the confusion between the right course of the revolution and its counter course: since it has a totally different goals from the revolution ones which are being called for by revolutionists and it works hard to divert it from its course and its real objectives, a good example in this regard, what happened in French Revolution in 1789, and it is considered as a lesson we should get a good benefit of it . The slogans of the French Revolution were very clear; freedom, equality, justice, and brotherhood, in which Mr. Ocalan, the thinker pointed out to an important issue in this context which is “If the French Revolution ended up the same way as it had begun, it would have changed the world destination and it would not have given the chance for the birth of a global system, but the emergence of the movement or what has been called Jacobins-Club and its circumvention on the revolution has totally changed the course of the revolution , and the real revolutionists’ necks have been hit by the chopping block and that is how the Counter-Revolution has won and has changed the course of the revolution from its objectives and has directed it towards the building of the Nation-State which was not among the goals of the French Revolution” . The French revolutionist Gorge Jack Danton has said his famous saying, in this regard that “the revolution eats, its sons “.

The Jasmine Revolution and its Counter-Revolution

The Jasmine Revolution began in Tunisia after Mohammed Al-Bouazizi had martyred on January fourth in 2011, which have occurred a big reflect against tyranny in all its forms, and people’s demands were very clear in freedom and dignified life: in addition, to a wide participation of a Tunisian Woman, and one of its results was the deportation of all the old regime icons, but it had not achieved all its objectives, the gab has been formed, filled by the most organized segment, not the more close to the people’s demands in freedom and justice, therefore, the Renaissance Brotherhood Movement has dominated the power because of its organizational readiness . The beginning of this movement is back to the late 60th under the name of an Islamic group which conducted its first organizational meetings secretly on April in 1972, and it took the opportunity to be in charge for the first time in its history. That was where the Counter-Revolution began, and as a result of the people’s ambitions and aspirations for creating a radical change in the structure of the system, this movement has not had a long life in power, but the victory of the scholar Tunisia’s Nedaa Party led by Beji Qayed Sebsi has not come the Tunisia out of the circulation of Counter-Revolution, because the goal of the Jasmine Revolution was not changing the icons and bringing a new icons who have the same ideology and Regime, but it was aiming to a whole change for the Regime and its institutions, that is why we can classify the Renaissance Movement and Tunisia’s Nedaa Party as the Counter-Revolution, since they have not brought something new for this people .

Egypt Revolution

If the January Revolution had ended the same way as it began,

Egypt Revolution could have become the icon of the Arab Spring Revolutions, and Egypt could have become a role model in the region and an example to be followed.

The Liberation Square was one of the most marvelous epics of the January Revolution in 2011, as well as, people’s demands were clear in freedom, justice, and a dignified life under a slogan of “live and dignity”, and this mobility could be able to achieve its demands in stepping down the old Regime leaders in a record time, but many problems have been faced by this mobility which have prevented the access of the desired goals and some of them:

1- Lack of pioneered leadership who could control that mobility, and leads and organizes the rebellious people.

2- Lack of tendencies and clear programs: especially, concerning the management of the country after overthrowing the Regime

3- The division of the Egyptian Society into:

A- Nationalists: or what is being called Nasseris, related to Gamal Abdel Nasser, they have considered the people’s uprising and their demands as an attack on the values of the state .this segment is conservative; it is being afraid of change and renovation, and it connects tightly between the state and a citizen, in which it considers that one of its duties is the protection of the State Institutions.

B- The extremist Islamists: especially, the group of Muslims’ brotherhood; it is too far to represent the ambitions of people in freedom and justice which has been proven by evidences and clues, this group is organized in Egypt from a long time ago, and it installed the wave of the revolution in its last days after it had confirmed that this mobility would lead to step down the icons of the old Regime, and it had got benefit from this administrative void which has occurred.

C- The aspired segment for change and renovation: it was the fuel of Egypt revolution, and it was looking forward to a homeland keeping up with times and opened on the outside world, but it did not have the experience and the right tools to conduct a revolution and leading it to its fully goals.

The struggle started among these three segments after Mubarak and his entourage had stepped down, which have led to the change of the mobility destination, and the representative of the Counter Revolution have figured out that the chance is available to take advantage of these conditions for its interests; the Brotherhood Group initiated  to take a lead by Mohammed Mousy, after the first segment(Nationalists) had paved the way for it, which is also representing the other part of the Counter Revolution, the Group took control of the country, which has a significant legacy of the Secular Culture, after it had took advantage from the results of the Liberation Square’s struggle, had circumvented around it, and had put under service of its sectarianism and group interests . It has, remarkably, made a serious change in the institution of the country, to be compatible with the authority of Islamic Brotherhood and their tendencies . But, the question that arises in this dilemma is: why the conservative nationalists have opened the way for Moursy and Brotherhood to be in charge of power after that emptiness that has been left after Mubarak and his entourage have stepped down ?, the answer is probably can be seen throughout the living situation; so, they have wanted to put two options in front of the people and as if there is no third one, which is either the Brotherhood or the conservative nationalists leaded by the presidency of Assisi, like the proverb says: “they show you a death, to be satisfied with the fever”

The Outcome :

The nature of revolutions in the new millennium varies from the previous one: science has developed in both its (applied and humanitarian), in which the Natural Science has been advanced beyond the Classical Physics such as Newton Physics and others, to the Modern Physics represented by Quantum Physics, and this including Einstein’s theory of relativity; in addition to the formation of Ecology (the science of environment), and the great development has occurred in Chemistry and the emergence of great developments in the Industrial World and Technology . Whereas, the Humanitarian Sciences have stepped really amazing steps, especially, in Sociology which has become as “Mother of Science”, in these days and according to many opinions , much less, about an amazing advancement in Philosophy and the Quantum Philosophy is a good example . As a result of these developments that have occurred in sciences, the theories of revolution have developed based on definite paradigm or what is being called (the spirit of the age).

The social theories depend on the science of its time, in the Marxist Era ,for example, the Newtonian Physics was common and acceptable, and Darwin’s theory was in progress and taking a big space in the scientific field, in addition, the Archeology (the Science of Monuments) has not been developed enough . So, we could say that the Paradigm is taking shape during the meeting of social theories with the sciences of its time .

Therefore, we can define Paradigm as: a bunch of ideal ideas, which are collective and comprehensive for the interests of all segments of society no matter how different they are .

Paradigm has depended on the concept of the right of self-determination until the end of 20th century, which was necessarily meant building a state: all different categories were finding their interests in building a state although of its contradictions, therefore, the revolution or the social theories were aimed to the destruction of one of the state forms , to build on its ruins a new state .

But, the Paradigm, nowadays, has developed and has searched for solutions out of the state’s framework or what has been called “None-State Democratic”, which is depending on organizing and managing an informal society for itself . For example, Egypt’s population is close to a hundred million, and the percentage of the participation in state’s jobs or government’s jobs from simplest job to the most complicated one, according to the minister of Planning, Follow-up, and Administrative Reforms, reaches to 5,2 million; so, 5.2% percentage of Egypt’s population are government employees, but the rest of them are out of the framework of state’s institutions, they can organize and build service and administrative institutions alongside state’s institutions as needed, since these institutions are civil and from the social fabric, it will not consider itself as an authority working on exploiting its society and will not have holiness. Therefore, it’s believed there must be a struggle to create this model; “a State + Democratic”, despite of the fact that expecting democracy and social justice, and freedom from state is a wrong thing, but there must be a struggle until state will be convinced with this solution and its confirmation through passing it in the institution, that is when, we could say that the goals of revolution have been achieved, and we could call these protests a revolution .

The revolution in the 21th century differs from its previous revolutions: the contradictions, in the century which is being lived, differs from the previous century and the one preceded it, these contradictions cannot be resolved through a short-term coups, but it needs such as a long-term revolution, to has a deep impact . Thus, both vocabulary “pre-revolution and post-revolution” are not precise, because the power of revolutions lies in its continuity and being without interruption, where is always change and renovation .

preserving the efforts of participants in the arenas of the Arab Spring, and avoiding the transformation of spring into autumn which ,in turn, opens the way for a cold winter, may lie in an urgent and a close solution and emphasizing on the necessity of the continuity of the revolution, which puts the pressure on governments to remove privileges, powers, and immunity from government members, beginning with president and members of government to the members of parliament, and to become these jobs like any others in the structure of the state, because these privileges and powers are the reason for the creation of corruption in the state’s body, beginning from salaries to their accommodation .

*Ocalan: Abdullah Ocalan was born on April 4, 1948, Omerli, Turkey, also known as Apo, i.e. a Kurdish leader who has been imprisoned at Imraly Island in Turkey by Turkish State for nearly two decades.