In 2011, Khalid Albaih’s cartoons about the Arab Spring went viral, some even appearing on walls from Cairo to Beirut. In this series for Al Jazeera, he revisits and reimagines some of his work, reflecting on the difference the last decade has made for people in the Middle East and North Africa.
A strong wind is a force. When it blows, it can push you in a specific direction, even as you try to stand against it. In the spring, you may be able to put up a fight. But by the time winter comes, it gets harder and harder to resist. You are tired, confused, and rethinking your whole journey.
But the wind is too strong for you to stop. So, you keep walking in the direction it pushes you. After a while, you start to go with the flow, maybe even making it part of your way of life to just walk forward and not look back.
But every spring, a new uprising blooms from frustration. Anger and hope arise to once again push against the winds of the status quo.
I drew this original cartoon at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, as millions took to the streets across the region. They pushed against the powerful winds of the status quo armed with nothing but the hope that by standing united they could challenge even the greatest forces and bring on the winds of change.
Ten years on, the Arab world has passed through a long winter filled with disappointments that turned to civil wars. During that time, some found other ways of resistance, some went in a different direction, some rejoined the status quo, some faced violence, some used violence, some now find themselves in jail without trial, and some have not been lucky enough to make it out alive.
Still, the winds of change keep blowing, and all we can do is keep trying to change its course in whichever way we can.
The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.