Perspectives Middle East & North Africa #2: People's Power - The Arab World in Revolt

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The self-immolation of young and jobless Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, being deprived of his vegetable stand and humiliated by the authorities, triggered popular movements and historic events in the Arab World completely unexpected in their magnitude…

… but were they really that unexpected? Have not generations of activists, journalists, and ordinary citizens for decades tirelessly pointed to the repressive practices of their governments? Was it not common knowledge that thousands were executed, imprisoned, exiled, and dissent silenced in many other ways; was not testimony after testimony collected, and report after report submitted? Did not countless experts, Arab and foreign, repeatedly stress the need for comprehensive political reforms, for economic opportunities for the growing youth population, for a redistribution of wealth, and the establishment of accountable and transparent governance?

Since the events started to unfold in December 2010, much has been speculated about the Arab “Spring,” “Awakening” or “Renaissance.”

Will these popular revolts translate into sustainable change? Will counter-movements emerge, once citizens do not feel that their lives have improved? In what way will foreign interests determine the course of events?

The authors in this special edition of “Perspectives Middle East” address the above questions and many more. The edition seeks to offer a forum for a diversity of voices and viewpoints – ranging from in-depth analytical insights to opinion pieces and testimonies.

Product details
Date of Publication
May 2011
Heinrich Böll Foundation - Middle East
Number of Pages
Table of contents

Editorial - People’s Power: The Arab World in Revolt

A Revolution of Ideas

The Arab Revolts: Ten Tentative Observations - Mouin Rabbani

Revolutions Bring Down Ideas As Well! - Fawaz Traboulsi

The Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt: The People Without Populism - Ahmad Beydoun

What the People Want… - Mohammed Ali Atassi

Revolutions for Democracy - Hussein Yaakoub

Arab Streets and Arab Publics: A New Political Culture?

The “Arab Spring:” Rebirth or Final Throes of Pan-Arabism? - Yassine Temlali

A New Arab Street in Post-Islamist Times -  Asef Bayat

What Next for the “Arab Street?” - Muhammad Ali Khalidi and Terry Regier

The Other Face of the January Revolution: The People’s Desire to Liberate Their Language! - Mansoura Ez-Eldin

Revolutions in Real Time: The Mediatization of Political Struggle

The Role of Al-Jazeera (Arabic) in the Arab Revolts of 2011 - Aref Hijjawi

Media Lives Up to Its Name as Game Changers in Spreading Arab Revolutions - Magda Abu-Fadil

Social Media and the Revolutions: How the Internet Revived the Arab Public Sphere and Digitalized Activism - Doreen Khoury

Digital Activism: Arabs Can Do It Themselves - Interview with Sami Ben Gharbia

Portrait: Slim Amamou – From Digital Activist to State Secretary - Eva Lehnen

The Social Costs of Authoritarianism

Whither the Political and Social Movement in Arab Countries: Can We Expect a New Arab Renaissance? - Adib Nehme

Arab Leaders and Western Countries: Swapping Democracy for Business Interests - Ibrahim Saif

The Revolutions of the Arab Region: Socio-economic Questions at the Heart of Successful Ways Forward - Ziad Abdel Samad and Kinda Mohamadieh

Feeding the Arab Uprisings - Rami Zurayk

Freedom Is the Prerequisite for Bread - Interview with Ibrahim Awad

“The People Demand...” the Downfall or the Reform of the Regime?

The Youth Revolution: A First Reading of the Social and Cultural Conditions Surrounding the Tunisian Revolution - Mehdi Mabrouk

What Kind of Transition for Egypt? - Issandr El Amrani

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the 25 January Revolution - Dalal Bizri

Yemen’s Revolution: The Lack of Public Reasoning - Nadia Al-Sakkaf

Bahrain: Change of the Regime or Changes Within the Regime? - Mostafa Abdulla

A Tense Syria in a Changing Arab World - Yassin al-Haj Salih

It is Imperative that the International Community Sends a Clear Message - Interview with Anas Abdah and Astepho Ablahad

Libyan Re-independence and Reclaiming the Revolution - Ghazi Gheblawi

Algeria, or the Desire for a Future - Ghania Mouffok

The Arab Revolutions-in-the-Making and Palestine - George Giacaman

Distorted Democracy: Democratic Transformation and Sectarian Identities in Iraq after 2003 - Anbara Abu-Ayyash

The Lebanese “Secularist” Movement in the Shadow of the Arab Democratic Movements - Hassan Abbas and Hussein Yaakoub


Heroic Resolve in the Face of the Omnipresent Machine of Oppression: Recounting the Events of the Tunisian Revolution - Malek Sghiri

Fear and Revolution in Libya - Nahla Daoud

The Price of the Divide on Libya: Why I Support the No Fly Zone - Tasnim Qutait

Encounters on the Margin of Revolution - Muzna Al-Masri

Participation and Justice

In the Wake of Arab Revolts: Women’s Rights in the Balance - Interview with Hanan Abdel Rahman-Rabbani

We Are Not Accomplices to Power! A New Role for the Judiciary - Interview with Nizar Saghieh

A Chronicle of Legislative Developments in the Aftermath of the Tunisian Revolution: A Revolution Seeks the Means to Succeed! - Wahid Ferchichi

Nothing Was Ever Brought to Trial - Interview with Magda Adly

International and Security Politics

American Policies: Debating National Interests - Raed Fakeeh

EU-Libya Agreements on Refugees and Asylum Seekers: The Need for a Reassessment - Urs Fruehauf

Goodbye Free Libya? A Report from Benghazi - Nicolas Pelham

The Securitization of Political Rule: Security Domination of Arab Regimes and the Prospects for Democratization - Mouin Rabbani

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