After the Arab Spring, a Long, Hot Summer: Reflections and Further Reading

The popular protests that have swept the Arab world since December 2010 are popularly known as the 'Arab Spring'.  The term itself connotes the 'Prague Spring' of 1968, where a period of political liberalization was followed by brutal Soviet suppression.  Though the demonstrators have left the streets in Cairo and Tunis, the initial euphoria following the demonstrations against autocrats has given way to a state of limbo as groups jockey for influence and power. While the Tunisian and Egyptian movements remained relatively peaceful, the Syrian and Libyan regimes have met the protesters with extreme violence, challenging the notion of a democratic sea change in the region.

In the London Review of Books,  Adam Shatz investigates the Palestinian perspective in "Is Palestine Next?" on the uprisings in the light of the decline of pan-Arab sentiment and what democracies might mean for the Palestinian Question.

In 'Crowdmapping the Arab Spring', the Voice of America, the official media representative of the United States government has a clear-sighted analysis of the benefits and limitations of social media in a revolutionary milieu and brings you a new tool called a 'crisis map', a visual/geographic aggregator of Twitter and Facebook feeds that could be a new direction for social media.

Writing for Dissent magazine, Florida State University professor John Kelsey's "The Limits of the Arab Spring" counters the prevailing narrative, arguing that the beneficiaries of the unrest are simply a younger set of autocrats., the official English-language website of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is both a source of information on the group and an interesting example of how an organization not known for its progressive politics has adopted new technology to further their aims.

To find you more about the social media and the Arab spring, watch out for the pilot episode of the Diwaniyya podcast - coming soon!

Toyotas of War

Diwaniyya Contributor