Tunisia’s upcoming parliamentary election has failed to inspire many of the people who first organized the Revolution. Shockingly, very poor people who have never had any experience of democratic governance care more about jobs, electricity and paved roads than about democratic election contests between people much richer and better connected than themselves. Adel Kahri, a 25-year-old unemployed management graduate in the western city of Kasserine, told the FT:
This election is a game and is of no interest to us…We have more important concerns than that: to find work, to meet our basic needs. None of the political parties in Kasserine have presented any programmes to help the town.
Most political revolutions fail to establish stable democratic governments. Most countries who reach democracy do so gradually, over many decades with many fits and starts. Nothing about the Arab Spring suggests that the Arab world has a special exemption from the standard (and often very sad) patterns of historical development.