The Arab Spring 2011, which has bled into over a year, has shown the world the fundamental desire of the human heart to exercise choice. Paths have been burned to topple autocratic regimes which have consistently violated fundamental human rights (e.g., “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”). For more on the Arab protest movement, view this interactive timeline.
What is the surest sign of true freedom in the Arab world? How does the life and message of Jesus Christ inform such understanding?
While Arab regimes began to crumble, beginning with Tunisia on January 14, 2011, followed by Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, other nations such as Syria remain doggedly resistance to relinquishing power. This domino-effect of opposition within Arab nations to longstanding autocratic governments that have violated human freedoms might be attributed to what Malcolm Gladwell refers to in his book, The Tipping Point, as (1) the law of the few, (2) the stickiness factor, and (3) the power of context.
As an educated 26-year old Tunisian and street vender, Mohamed Bouazizi catalyzed the revolution by setting himself ablaze after police confiscated his produce stand for not having a permit. After his death, Bouazizi’s mother commented, “My son set himself on fire for dignity.” With his dignity stripped and only source of income withdrawn, Bouaziz lost all hope. The ultimate culprit was not only the police who confiscated his vendor permit but also the very system that drove him to utter despair. Without opportunity, there is no freedom. Without freedom, there is no life. Bouaziz’s death signified the law of the few in that it took a few people to light the fire of opposition. In less than 30 days, the stickiness factor and the power of context (most Arab nations have dictators as presidents) contributed to revolution movements moving to Egypt and then Yemen, Libya, and Syria.
What is the surest sign of true freedom in the Arab world? How does the life and message of Jesus Christ inform such understanding? The surest sign of true freedom in the Arab world will not come through political democracy, although this is certainly a start. True freedom will come to the Arab world when Arabs can choose their own belief system, including their religion. True freedom comes from knowing and responding to the truth. And knowing the truth will set us free (John 8:32). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Muslims throughout the Arab world are having supernatural dreams and visions of Issa (Arabic: Jesus) who is showing them that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). For true stories of Jesus supernaturally appearing to Muslims in dreams and visions and how their lives have been radically transformed, see these video vignettes on the More than Dreams website. Stories feature those from Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey.
What is your perspective on the Arab freedom uprisings?
Considering that Jesus never led by coercion, how might we view Jesus’ liberating message of spiritual freedom relative to the Arab world through Gladwell’s (1) the law of the few, (2) the stickiness factor, and (3) the power of context?