Heidi Lane on the Arab spring

The Arab Spring’s Three Foundations
per Concordiam “Wave of Change” issue
March 2012
Op-ed by: Heidi Lane, research fellow, International Security Program
Topic: Arab spring

“It has scarcely been a year since the Arab Spring swept across the Middle East and North Africa. Since then, emboldened Tunisians and Egyptians have, through mainly peaceful means, unseated their governments and ousted their respective presidents. Other popular protest movements, which have proven considerably bloodier, have spread in Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Libya. Many observers were quick to credit social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube with providing the tools Arab citizens needed to overcome generations of fear and political apathy. This view, though alluring, is far too simple. Repression and the absence of meaningful political expression, with or without the tools of technology, have been the rule for decades, not the exception. So the question that requires further inquiry is: Why now? Three systemic changes during the past 30 years may reveal some useful answers.”

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