Monday, February 1, 2016

The Unsexy Truth About Why the Arab Spring Failed. By Amanda Taub.

The unsexy truth about why the Arab Spring failed. By Amanda Taub. Vox, January 27, 2016.


Tarek Masoud of Harvard on the Failure of the Arab Spring.

Tarek Masoud (Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government) on the Failure of the Arab Spring. Transcript excerpt. Fareed Zakaria GPS. CNN, January 31, 2016. Video clip at Internet Archive. Also here.

MASOUD: This question that you asked Leila about, sort of, where the revolutions are and where the revolutionaries are, it’s really difficult for me to think about Egypt’s revolution without alternatively feeling either really stupid or really callous.

Because, you know, I remember back – being on your show in January of 2011 and totally believing with every cell in my body that Egypt could and would move from Mubarak to a liberal democracy. And now, of course, that that dream has really come apart, we can come up with multiple reasons why the dream was never a rational one to begin with. And everything that I was taught in graduate school should have caused me to not be optimistic about the chances of democracy.

So I feel really, sometimes, stupid when I think about how optimistic I was. But then, when you think that, look, democracy could never have succeeded and really all they can hope for in those places is some kind of stability, you feel really callous and you feel really – you feel really brutal, because, as Leila pointed out, many of these young people who were at the forefront of trying to agitate for a more hopeful Egypt, or more hopeful countries throughout the region, are now behind bars. And it is a very sad fact of life that today everybody is excluded, not just Islamists but liberals and secularist – they’re also excluded from governance. And you have to ask yourself not just if Islamists are going to be radicalized but if this entire population is going to be alienated and atomized, and what kind of politics is going to result from that? It can’t be pretty.