Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cartoon: Winds of Change, from the Arab Spring to Winter | Arab Spring: 10 years in the news

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Ten years later, the winds of change that brought us the Arab Spring have continued to blow, but not always in our favor.

In 2011, Khalid Albaih’s cartoons on the Arab Spring has gone viral, with some even appearing on walls from Cairo to Beirut. In this series for Al Jazeera, he revisits and reinvents some of his work, reflecting on the difference the past decade has made for people in the Middle East and North Africa.

A strong wind is a force. When it blows, it can push you in a specific direction, even if you’re trying to resist it. In the spring, you might be able to fight. But with the onset of winter, it becomes more and more difficult to resist. You are tired, confused and rethinking your whole trip.

But the wind is too strong for you to stop. So you just keep walking in the direction it’s leading you. After awhile you start to go with the flow, perhaps even making it a part of your lifestyle to just walk forward and not look back.

But each spring, a new uprising blooms with frustration. Anger and hope arise to push again against the winds of the status quo.

I drew this original cartoon at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, when millions of people took to the streets in the region. They pushed against the mighty winds of the status quo, armed with nothing but hope that by standing united they could challenge even the greatest forces and spark the winds of change.

Ten years later, the Arab world has gone through a long winter of disappointment that has turned into civil wars. Meanwhile, some have found other means of resistance, some have gone in a different direction, some have joined the status quo, some have faced violence, some have resorted to violence, some now find themselves in prison without trial, and some have not had the chance to do so. he comes out alive.

Yet the winds of change keep blowing and all we can do is keep trying to change its course in any way we can.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.


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