Articles on Arab Spring

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Tarana Burke created #MeToo in 2006 but it didn’t emerge as a mass social movement until 2017. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Why social movements like #MeToo seem to come out of nowhere

From the French Revolution to #MeToo, social movements often burst into the mainstream with what seems like little warning. Cass Sunstein explains why.
Syrian anti-government protesters march as part of an uprising against the country’s authoritarian regime, in Banias, Syria, April 17, 2011. The Arabic banner at center reads: ‘All of us would die for our country.’ AP/Anonymous

How the Syrian uprising began and why it matters

On the eighth anniversary of the Syrian uprising, scholar Wendy Pearlman writes about the people who risked their lives and raised their voices to fight the oppressive rule of Bashar al-Assad.
The Algerian population has taken to the streets in a peaceful and nonviolent manner to protest against President Bouteflika’s running for a fifth term of office. Ryad Kramdi/AFP

Protesters in Algeria use nonviolence to seek real political change

Demonstrations against Abdelaziz Bouteflika have opened up a rare space for debate and self-expression – and could signal a change to a more free and involved civil society in Algeria.
Seven years after Tahrir Square became the focal point of the Egyptian Revolution, towering metal gates now control access. Ahmed Abd El-Fatah/Wikimedia

How city squares can be public places of protest or centres of state control

Today’s urban public spaces tend to represent governments and cities rather than people and citizens. Architects and urban designers should contribute to shaping spaces for freedom and interaction.
An Egyptian street vendor selling bread walks past as a tear gas canister (background) fired by riot police during clashes with protesters near Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 29, 2013. Khhaled Desouki/AFP

How to assess political stability? Follow the bread path

In Morocco, bread is not only a symbol for wider demands but also the material basis of affordable and just living conditions.
Protestors stand behind burning barricades during clashes with riot police near the Tunisian capital of Tunis in January 2018. Violent protests over price hikes raised fears of broader unrest in the country that was the birthplace of the Arab Spring. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

The dismal failure of efforts to empower people in the Arab world

Decentralization in the Middle East and North Africa is supposed to lead to greater public representation in municipal politics. In fact, it is largely strengthening authoritarianism.

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