Social-economic issues are behind Occupy Wall Street, French, Greek and Spanish riots, the Arab protests wave and many other protests in the last few years around the globe. In the wake of what is known as “Arab Spring”, a wave of protests washed away the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt. Inspired by these events, demonstrators across the region stood up against and seriously challenged the strongmen of Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria. The question is what the common denominator of the “Arab spring” was. The answer is People Power, the power of non-partisan youth movements. A united movement, committed to nonviolence, with a thorough plan to achieve its goals is capable of momentous achievements.
Such a strategic movement is the worst nightmare for every autocrat and can pull the pillars of support out of the government support and force the strongmen to make concessions once considered impossible. The results have been inconceivable; once ruthless rulers, the leaders of numerous Arab countries have been promising reforms, reshuffling governments, and entering into dialogues with opposition groups they once banned. Maybe the “Arab spring” actually began in Lebanon with the “Cedar revolution” after Hariri’s assassination, but unfortunately it finished the moment violence prevailed and became the leading force in the entire region. Unfortunately guns must be sold and used and everything that happened in Libya and that is happening in Syria cannot be called “Arab spring”. A better name would be “Arab tragedy”. Without labour unions in Tunisia and youth movements in Egypt changes would have been much slower and like in Libya and Syria would rely on armed groups. Therefore achievements of those people involved in changes in Tunisia and Egypt are even bigger.
Actively engaged in the nonviolent struggle against regimes since 1991 as a high school kid; Siniša Šikman led students at Students protest 1996/97. His networked organization Serbian Students Movement became a fundament of OTPOR! (“Resistance!”), founded in October 1998, a movement in which he was a very active member but that finished with the Milosevic era in October 2000. Siniša then worked as a freelance trainer and has been a trainer with CANVAS (Center for Applied NonViolent Actions and Strategies) for the last five years. He conducted 46 strategic nonviolent struggle trainings with 764 participants from all over the world, including participants and movements who had pivotal role in changes in Ukraine, Georgia, Maldives, Egypt, etc. His expertise unites both partisan and NGO sector skills and knowledge.