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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What do you think the revolutions in the Arab world are about?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30620points) February 23rd, 2011

This op-ed piece in the New York Times has some interesting thoughts. Among other things, it states, “The report stated that the Arab world is suffering from three huge deficits — a deficit of education, a deficit of freedom and a deficit of women’s empowerment.”

In your view, what are we witnessing in the Arab world?

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24 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

People think they can finally get rid of corruption. They can finally stop being afraid to speak their minds. They can finally get economic opportunity. They can finally stop being so afraid.

At least, that’s what I think they are hoping for and believe they have won.

VS's avatar

We are witnessing people being fed up with being treated as less than human. They are sick and tired of government who says they are acting in the best interest of “The People” when the whole world knows they are acting in their own selfish interests only. It’s all about hooray for me and f*ck you. They are tired of oppression and self-rightous DICtators. They are just tired…

ucme's avatar

Basically, one resounding enough is enough!! Ringing out loud & proud…...at last!

YoBob's avatar

An underlying global agenda.

Fortunately, that agenda (at least for now) appears to include democratic selection of leadership (or at least the illusion thereof).

mammal's avatar

a revolution without substance; anger, frustration youthful exuberance, but no sober plans for an alternative system, i’m not sure the youth are co-ordinating with any notable intellectuals, or are aligning with a strong ideological agenda that runs counter to the status quo. At the moment they are fresh and ripe and easy pickings for the older, shrewder more canny western vultures, along with the opportunists within their own ranks, particularly the military ranks. And believe me as soon as the dust settles they will be circling. This is the current predicament.

janbb's avatar

@mammal Are the vultures only Western? I suspect there are vultures in the East as well.

mammal's avatar

@janbb Sure re-read my post, but yes i include the local opportunists, Western clientele. you are right.

Summum's avatar

It is interesting to note that all the biggest conflicts and focus is on the mid east with the oil being one of the paramount reasons. If you read not only the Bible but other prophecies about today’s world and the coming tribulation then they all point to this area of the world and the conflict now taking place. Even the talk about The Battle of Armageddon is focused right there in the middle of the mid east.

mammal's avatar

@Summum yeah well, let’s not capitulate to Biblical doom mongering quite yet, hopefully this is the beginning of a new chapter, most people in that region read the Koran, not the Bible.

Summum's avatar

@mammal Oh I agree was just pointing out an interesting point. Thanks

Qingu's avatar

It seem I think the op-ed misses a primary cause: lack of jobs for a bulging youth population. (It claims education is a problem, but in Egypt the population is actually pretty well-educated). In this respect, these revolutions are part and parcel of the protests against “austerity” in Greece, and even the protests in Wisconsin. We are living in a world where wealth inequality is greater than at any time since the Great Depression… a period that also brought about huge political instability. Everywhere in the world, most people are getting poorer, and unemployment remains soaring, but a small group of wealthy people are getting even richer.

In the middle east, those wealthy people are simply the rulers of the countries; in Europe and America they’re more diffuse and their actions are more effectively coded (“austerity” and “fiscal responsibility” sound nice, don’t they).

But of course, it’s not just economics (I’m not a Marxist). I think a critical mass of people in these countries, mostly young people, have become aware of the ridiculousness of living in de facto monarchies while the rest of the world has governments that are at least somewhat accountable to their people. Al Jazeera also deserves tons of credit for spreading this notion and fanning the flames of revolution; and it looks like the Internet has played a large role in organizing the movements and documenting abuses. So in this respect, the revolutions remind me mostly of the American revolution and European revolutions against monarchies, which took place of increasing global awareness and media distribution.

Qingu's avatar

Also: I thought this editorial (about Nepal, which also had a revolution) was much more insightful than Friedman’s.

lloydbird's avatar

Myself ; I think that they are about the societal effects of our current technological developments (Particularly with regards to our mass inter-communicative abilities).
For a more nuanced response, I am inclined to defer to someone who is far better qualified.
Check out his response (which I am unable to link to directly, for some reason.)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@lloydbird : I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be looking for on the link you provided. If you can’t link the article directly, can you give its title?

lloydbird's avatar

@hawaii_jake I tried to link directly to it but was informed that was “not possible”.
Assuming that you are allowed to access the link that I have posted – look to the top right hand of the page, headlined ” The Egyptian revolt is coming home.”

RareDenver's avatar

There is a theory known as the paradox of plenty that basically states that when a nation has an abundance of a natural resource, as many of the Arab nations do with oil, that the Government is less inclined to tax the citizens heavily as income can be derived from the natural resource. And that this not-taxing leads to governments and citizens having less discourse which leads to alienation which eventually leads to suspicion which eventually leads to what we see on the news.

mammal's avatar

@RareDenver that’s strange because if one were to tax them it would also lead to what we see on the news is that the paradox?

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
RareDenver's avatar

@mammal seeing as I know you are an inteligent person I’ll assume that was sarcasm

mattbrowne's avatar

The same the revolutions in Eastern Europe in the late 80ies were about:

1) freedom of thought
2) tolerance and pluralism with peaceful co-existence of competing ideas and views
3) full access to knowledge and innovative action
4) economic opportunities

The lack of number 3 is mainly caused by this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_published_per_country_per_year

In the Netherlands there were 34,067 books published in 1993, while it were 2,215 in Egypt and 26 in Libya.

The total number of books published in modern Greek for 12 million native speakers is five times higher than the number of books published in Arabic for 300 million native speakers (and most of these books are of ultra-conservative religious nature sponsored by Saudi Arabia).

The young people in the Arab world are thirsty for knowledge, freedom and pluralism. Most of them reject religious tyrannies. They want American or European-style democracy.

mammal's avatar

@mattbrowne do they want Amercan and European style social problems though?

mattbrowne's avatar

@mammal – What exactly do you mean referring to American and European-style social problems? Minimum wage workers? Drug abuse?

lloydbird's avatar

Oh yeah….., and about their ( ”..the Arab world..”) crying out for Democracy.
Just like we enjoy!

mammal's avatar

@mattbrowne fractured families, nervous break downs, drug, alcahol abuse, teenage pregnancies, depression et cetera.

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