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Narrated by dozens of activists and everyday individuals, this book documents the unprecedented events that led to the collapse of dictatorial regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Beginning in 2011, these stories offer unique access to the message that inspired citizens to act, their experiences during revolt, and the lessons they learned from some of the most dramatic changes and appalling events to occur in the history of the Arab world. The riveting, revealing, and sometimes heartbreaking stories in this volume also include voices from Syria. Featuring participants from a variety of social and educational backgrounds and political commitments, these personal stories of action represent the Arab Spring's united and broad social movements, collective identities, and youthful character. For years, the volume's participants lived under regimes that brutally suppressed free expression and protest. Their testimony speaks to the multifaceted emotional, psychological, and cultural factors that motivated citizens to join together to struggle against their oppressors.
On March 17, 2011, many Syrians rose up against the authoritarian Asad regime that had ruled them with an iron fist for forty years. Initial successes were quickly quashed, and the revolution seemed to devolve into a civil war pitting the government against its citizens and extremist mercenaries. As of late 2015, almost 300,000 Syrians have been killed and over half of a total population of 23 million forced out of their homes. Nine million are internally displaced and over four million are wandering the world, many on foot or in leaky boats. Countless numbers have been disappeared. These shocking statistics and the unstoppable violence notwithstanding, the revolution goes on. The story of the attempted crushing of the revolution is known. Less well covered has been the role of artists and intellectuals in representing to the world and to their people the resilience of revolutionary resistance and defiance. How is it possible that artists, filmmakers and writers have not been cowed into numbed silence but are becoming more and more creative? How can we make sense of their insistence that despite the apocalypse engulfing the country their revolution is ongoing and that their works participate in its persistence? With smartphones, pens, voices and brushes, these artists registered their determination to keep the idea of the revolution alive. Dancing in Damascus traces the first four years of the Syrian revolution and the activists’ creative responses to physical and emotional violence.
Egyptians in Revolt investigates the political economy of the Egyptian labor and student movements. Using elements of social movement theory within a broad political economy framework, it assesses labor and student mobilizations in four eras of contemporary Egyptian history: the pre-1952 era, the Nasser era, the Sadat era and the Mubarak era. Egyptians in Revolt examines how both student and labor groups responded to the political economy pressures of the respective eras. Within the context of social movement theory, the book argues that political opportunities and threats have had a significant impact on both student and labor mobilizations. In addition, the book explores how the movements have, at times, been able to affect government policies. However, the argument is made that the inability of both groups to sustain momentum in the long term is due to cooptation efforts by established political forces and the absence of viable and enduring organizational structures that are autonomous of state control. By combining analysis to include both labor and student movements, Egyptians in Revolt is a valuable resource for understanding the Egyptian political economy and its impact on mobilizations. It will therefore be of interest to students and scholars of Middle East Studies, as well as those interested in social movement more broadly.
“It’s a time of change in the world, with dictators toppling and new opportunities rising, but any revolution that doesn’t create equality for women will be incomplete. The time has come to realize the full potential of half the world’s population.” —Christiane Amanpour, from the foreword The Unfinished Revolution tells the story of the global struggle to secure basic rights for women and girls, including in the Middle East where the Arab Spring raised high hopes, but the political revolutions are so far insufficient to guarantee progress. Around the world, women and girls are trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery, trapped in conflict zones where rape is a weapon of war, prevented from attending school, and kept from making deeply personal choices in their private lives, such as whom and when to marry. In many countries, women are second-class citizens by law. In others, religion and traditions block freedoms such as the right to work, study or access health care. Even in the United States, women who are victims of sexual violence often do not see their attackers brought to justice. More than 30 writers—Nobel Prize laureates, leading activists, top policymakers, and former victims—have contributed to this anthology. Drawing from their rich personal experiences, they tackle some of the toughest questions and offer bold new approaches to problems affecting hundreds of millions of women. This volume is indispensable reading, providing thoughtful analysis from a never-before assembled group of advocates. It shows that the fight for women’s equality is far from over. As Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate says, “Women are not free anywhere in this world until all women in the world are free.”
Civic entrepreneurship lies at the heart of the Arab Spring. From the iconic image of an occupied Tahrir Square to scenes of dancing protesters in Syria and politically conscious hip hop in Tunisia, people across the Middle East and North Africa continue to collaborate and experiment their way out of years of dictatorship and political stagnation. The Future of the Arab Spring examines the spirit of civic entrepreneurship that brought once untouchable dictators to their knees and continues to shape the region's political, artistic, and technology sectors. Through interviews with some of the region's leading civic entrepreneurs, including political activists, artists, and technologists, Maryam Jamshidi broadens popular understandings of recent events in this misunderstood region of the world. Features first-hand interviews with some of the most important political, cultural, and economic players on the ground in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and other Arab Spring countries Offers a window into a region often misunderstood in the United States Illuminates the potential for positive, grassroots change in the social, political, and economic systems of Arab countries
This volume examines the role of Arab women in Arab Spring and their contribution to the ongoing process of change sweeping the region. The book begins with an examination of the process of democratization and its impediments in the Arab World since the Second World War. It then looks at the conditions that led to the upsurge of the so-called Arab Spring. Finally, it underscores women’s role as participants, organizers, leaders, but also as victims. The main thesis of the book is that while Arab women were an integral part of the revolutionary efforts within the Arab Spring paradigm, they did not benefit from their sacrifices. Although they continue to be part of the process of change, their gains, rights and scope for participation are still limited. If the expansion of women’s participation and the scope of their rights do not seem to be a priority for revolutionary forces, women have made remarkable achievements, especially in some Arab Spring countries such as Yemen and Libya. The book includes case studies of some Arab Spring countries and other countries influenced by developments: Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia. It calls on revolutionary and reformist forces to give special attention to issues related to Arab women, as they are an indispensable pillar in the process of reform, development, peace and stability in the Middle East.
LONG-LISTED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL Reminiscent of the work of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich, an astonishing collection of intimate wartime testimonies and poetic fragments from a cross-section of Syrians whose lives have been transformed by revolution, war, and flight. Against the backdrop of the wave of demonstrations known as the Arab Spring, in 2011 hundreds of thousands of Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, democracy and human rights. The government’s ferocious response, and the refusal of the demonstrators to back down, sparked a brutal civil war that over the past five years has escalated into the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our times. Yet despite all the reporting, the video, and the wrenching photography, the stories of ordinary Syrians remain unheard, while the stories told about them have been distorted by broad brush dread and political expediency. This fierce and poignant collection changes that. Based on interviews with hundreds of displaced Syrians conducted over four years across the Middle East and Europe, We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled is a breathtaking mosaic of first-hand testimonials from the frontlines. Some of the testimonies are several pages long, eloquent narratives that could stand alone as short stories; others are only a few sentences, poetic and aphoristic. Together, they cohere into an unforgettable chronicle that is not only a testament to the power of storytelling but to the strength of those who face darkness with hope, courage, and moral conviction.

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