The Arab Spring

The Arab awakening is one of the current events that took the world by storm. The Arab awakening, also referred to as Arab spring, is a series of revolutions that have taken place in most middle-eastern Arab countries. The revolutions are said to have started in August 2010 and is still on up to date in some countries. The countries that have so far been involved in the awakening include Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Morocco and Western Sahara (Duthel, 2011).

The Arab awakening was more serious in Libya than in any other country with Islamic culture. In Libya, the commotion was sparked and fueled by the success of the revolution and riots in Tunisia and Egypt. The string of revolutions, protests and boycotts have led to a civil strife in Libya that ultimately culminated in the assassination of the country's long-serving, dictatorial president, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. After his assassination, a transitional government known as the Transition National Council was formed. The uprising in Libya was as a result of Gaddafi's iron-hand rule, massive corruption in government, and the fact that he treated government as his personal property. Gaddafi who took over rule in Libya in 1969 spat upon the principles of democracy and appointed government leaders from his family and close allies. Other motivating factors that led to the Libyan uprising include extreme poverty, abuse of human rights, unemployment, economic decline, economic decline and need for change in authority. 

The Libyan uprising began in February 2011 and continued for close to seven months. The resistance, inspired by the Arab awakening, began with a relatively organized group of anti-government protesters in Benghazi. The uprising swiftly spread to Tripoli and other Libyan cities. The revolution mainly began as street demonstrations, job boycotts, and gradually developed into violent riots. Gaddafi responded swiftly to the resistance and sent his troops out to crash out all oppositions and regain control of the towns that had been taken over. This acts of civil warfare resulted in massive loss of lives, destruction of homes and businesses, mass emigration from Libya, relapse of the economy and a flood of epidemics. The protesters managed to form an inchoate opposition government and built a small rebel army. This small group of protesters gave hope to thousands of oppressed Libyans, and assured them that the fight was still on (Hagger, 2011).

Gaddafi's troops changed the momentum of the struggle in March and forced the rebels out of Tripoli and other major towns leaving them only in their stronghold of Benghazi. The uprising began looking like a mismatched affair until the European forces stepped in and began conducting massive air strikes on the loyalist troops. By late May, the momentum seemed to have shifted back to the rebels who took the opportunity to seize major towns. The opposition was further fueled by Gaddafi's adamant refusal to give up power and claiming to be appointed by a divine authority to rule Libya. The final assault on Tripoli took place at a breakneck speed. The rebels backed by NATO forces pushed through the borders of the city and were met with spontaneous and uncoordinated attacks, which were easily subdued. Gaddafi's home was stormed into and he was captured, ending seven months of ceaseless fighting in the Northern African country.

A number of sociological concepts are clear from this current event. Social construction refers to a construct, idea, or practice that groups of people have developed and organized their thoughts, actions, beliefs and traditions according to the social construct. For instance, the uprising in Libya began as a small idea fueled by other uprisings and riots in other countries with similar cultural, traditional and religious beliefs as Libya. The sociological issue of crime was critical during the revolution in Libya. Being a Muslim state, there are severe punishments on crime and other forms of social injustice. The revolt must have been conducted according to the laws of Islam and other prohibiting factors. Crimes against the nation are one of the main precursors to the revolt. In societies, some crimes may go unpunished but Gaddafi paid for his with his own life. Social stratification refers to the ranking of people in society according to socio-economic status and ability. Libya is a country that is highly stratified in both economic and social terms (Mauricio, 2011). The country has a wide rift between the haves and have-nots. Being a major oil producer, conditions of poverty should not exist. However, in reality, the wealth of the country is in the hands of a few affluent businesspersons while the rest of the population languishes in poverty. Stratification in terms of gender is also widespread with women and children being the most unlucky victims. For instance, girls and women in Libya rarely get the chance to attend school and they lack basic necessities. Furthermore, women are expected to dress in oppressive and demeaning clothing. From the event above, there are clear examples of social deviance.

Deviance, from a sociology context, refers to a case where one goes against the set behavioral norms. These norms are the prescribed code of conduct set by society and which acts as a gauge for morality. The word deviance comes from the verb 'defy' which means to go against the set standards. Social deviance is necessary for a change (both negative and positive) to occur in society. Were it not for the defiant hearts in Libya's population, there would not have been a revolution (Simons, 2011). Oppression, corruption, and human right violations would still be there. The issue of social power in Libya goes hand in hand with deviance. For instance, the loyalist government asserted their social power and made the acts of protest and demonstrations seem like crimes. Such use of social power was also a common feature of Gaddafi's government and he even tried to use it to get power in Africa. Using his position as chairperson of the African Union, Gaddafi tried to manipulate the affairs of many African countries.

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