The rest is pretty much history already. The Tunisian youth have been feeling the oppression for a long time, and this was the literal spark that set the country ablaze and chased Ben Ali out of the presidential office(along with his wife which supposedly brought 1.5tons of solid gold with her). Nothing is certain as of yet for what is going to happen in Tunisia, but there's no doubt that the people have a lot more power and freedom now than a few months ago.
Now we are seeing the same thing in many other Arab nations like Egypt and Yemen. One can say that the same problems are present in these nations. Average population age of 30, educated youngsters with too few jobs and rising cost of living, and a apathic and corrupt government that eats too much of the cake and cares too little for its population. Egypt's future is, as I write this OP, hanging in the balance. Last rumors on my newspapers tell me that large police forces in Cairo have vanished, on this "friday of anger" as the population calls it. Some opposition members have claimed that if they reach a number over a hundred-thousand today, the military would not dare to go against them. We will see what happens, which parts of the government forces stays loyal and which ones does not.
Naturally, this revolution is somewhat bittersweet for the western world. The US have supported the local dictators, Egypt is one of USA's major allies in the middle east and have gotten tons of funding and state-of-the-art weaponry from them. They are secular dictatorships and they have bans on religious political parties. Tunisia isn't a big problem since that nation is very secular and all pretty much agree on the divide between state and religion, and the Islamists are an marginal political entity that no Tunisian really likes.
In Egypt on the other hand, we have the muslim brotherhood as one of the biggest political opposition groups. They are not allowed to form a political organization, so they list themselves as independents in elections, but they have something like 20% national support. They don't believe in democracy and a secular government, and if they came to power things would turn for the worse. Also, the Egyptian governmental forces are more likely to violently suppress any uprising that embraces these Islamic sharia-tendencies.
Fortunately, it seems that this is not a religious revolt. It is a youth-revolt, an educated and secular movement. If the Islamic brotherhood tries to take the spotlight, the demonstrators would hopefully make it clear that this is not their doing. Both to stop the brotherhood from gaining more than necessary from it and avoiding that the military will turn on the demonstrators. And if Egypt's uprising succeeds, it will not be the last Arab country to see change.
Personally, I think that this is a sign of the times. Facebook, twitter, large access to internet and communication, open discussions about things that people find problematic in their society like corruption and oppression. All you need in today's society is to mobilize enough people to make the government listen. Win or lose, this is a sign that the age of communication is still going strong, and that there is hope for more freedom and less corruption around the world.
Edited by duke_Qa, 18 March 2011 - 09:41 AM.