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News, 7/15/2011

The revolutions in the Arab countries not over yet

“Now we need more deeds than words,” said Egyptian activist Esraa Abdel Fattah in the debate concerning the turmoil of the Arab world organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the SuomiAreena event in Pori. The other participants in the debate were President Martti Ahtisaari, and BBC special correspondent Lyse Doucet. The discussion was chaired by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja.

Participants in the debate Arab Spring, Late Frost – and Big Thaw? Insights into the Arab World in Turmoil. Egyptian national activist Esraa Abdel Fattah speaking, with her interpreter to the right. Photo: SuomiAreenaParticipants in the debate Arab Spring, Late Frost – and Big Thaw? Insights into the Arab World in Turmoil. Egyptian national activist Esraa Abdel Fattah speaking, with her interpreter to the right. Photo: SuomiAreena

“What we need now is justice, stability and democracy. From the outside world, we do not need intervention but partnership. And more deeds than words,” said Egyptian national activist Esraa Abdel Fattah in the debate organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in SuomiAreena in Pori.

The debate under the heading Arab Spring, Late Frost – and Big Thaw? Insights into the Arab World in Turmoil was also attended by President Martti Ahtisaari, and BBC special correspondent Lyse Doucet, with Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja chairing the discussion.

The signs of dissatisfaction and the need for change have been in the air for years, the discussion participants pointed out. In spite of this, what happened in the Arab countries surprised everyone.

“It was incredible to see how people marched on Tahrir Square right into tear gas shouting ‘We are not afraid anymore’. The atmosphere in Egypt cannot be compared with anything I have reported on earlier,” Lyse Doucet said.

The example of the Tunisians and the Egyptians has been followed in many Arab countries. Libya is engaged in a civil war, and in Syria security forces have killed demonstrators.

“Even though the situations differ, in all countries in turmoil the revolutions still continue," Doucet pointed out.

Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja chaired the discussion concerning the turmoil in the Arab world in the SuomiAreena event. Photo: SuomiAreenaForeign Minister Erkki Tuomioja chaired the discussion concerning the turmoil in the Arab world in the SuomiAreena event. Photo: SuomiAreena

Esraa Abdel Fattah hopes that in Egypt the revolution would finally happen in September, which is when the parliamentary elections are reported to be held. President Martti Ahtisaari reminded the listeners that even free elections do not always guarantee democracy.

In his opinion, especially the Nordic Countries should take a stronger stand in favour of equal societies and better leaders.

“If the new leaders also advocate only their own and their relative’s interests, nothing will change,” the President stated. “In many cases, the people see the politicians, but the politicians do not see the people.”

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Updated 7/15/2011

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