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Understanding "The Arab Spring"

Presentation by Gilbert Achcar (London) "Understanding 'The Arab Spring'" within the framework of "Human Rights" Seminar (58-60 Galernaya Street).

The euphoria that welcomed the mass uprisings in several Arab countries in early 2011 has now given way to a deeply pessimistic view of the future of the Arab-speaking countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Both the initial euphoria and the present gloominess are based on a misjudgement of the key factors behind the Arab uprising, its initial innovative forms of mass mobilisation, and its long-term dynamics. What started in 2011 is a revolutionary process that will stretch over decades: it involves a triangle of forces, of which two are profoundly counter-revolutionaries, whereas the representatives of the aspirations expressed in 2011 have yet to emerge as a credible alternative. Failing this, the future of the region may well unfold according to the worst-case scenario.