Countries that have experienced revolutions during the past year's 'Arab Spring' movement are in various stages of transitioning to democratic models of government, where they elect their own leaders. In Libya, dictator Moammar Gadhafi was recently killed by rebel fighters, while Tunisian people just held their first election. However, in Syria, a rebellion is still taking place against president Bashar al-Assad, with violent consequences.
The U.S. pulled its ambassador from Syria's capital, Damascus, after he experienced threats of violence against him. In Libya, violence was coming to an end as thousands of former rebel fighters turned over their weapons and as Gadhafi's body was buried in a secret location in the desert.
Tunisia, whose January revolution sparked the Arab Spring movement in neighboring countries, set an example for others yet again with its first democratic election since the fall of its dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
"I feel so delighted now because I took part along with the Tunisian people and I did my part as a voter. I participated in the laying of the foundation stone for the democratic nation which we deserve. It proves again that we are worthy of democracy. The values of civilization and civility are the values of our revolution." - AHMAD NEJIB CHEBBI, Founder, Tunisia Progressive Democratic Party
"The terrorist is gone. The regime is gone. Now we have to look for a new future. I just came here to see and make sure that he is finished, and every piece of my body knows that he is gone, finished, is gone, finished now." - FAWZI EL-FAKIH, Libya
1. What does the term 'Arab Spring' refer to?
2. What part of the world are Libya, Tunisia and Syria located in?
3. Why do people hold elections? What is democracy?
1. Why do you think the revolution against dictators is in such different stages in these three countries? Do you think they will all eventually get to the same place and allow fair election of their leaders? Why or why not?
2. Why is it important that former rebel fighters in Libya give up their weapons?
3. What do you think it would feel like to vote in an election for the first time when your country has never held elections before? Give examples from the video.
How Should the United States Respond to the Demonstrations in the Middle East?: