Monday 22 January 2018

Don't assume the Arab Spring has chilled to winter just yet

Adrian Hamilton

We have expected too much of the Arab Spring and are now in danger of becoming too pessimistic about it. Libya, according to a report by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has descended into a state of violence as bad as under Colonel Gaddafi. Egypt has, meanwhile, witnessed the resumption of protests, and the brutality of its suppression as oppressive as during President Mubarak's time.

But then much of the violence in Libya can be put down to the way foreign intervention served to promote the war there. At least there is a change in regime and the possibility of a better framework for the future.

It is Egypt, the Arab world's most populous state and its most influential, where the disappointment seems highest, because the hopes were greatest. Instead of applauding a people ready to take to the streets again and risk their lives to oppose the military, we seem more obsessed with what has gone wrong than the spirit that survives. It's as if we wanted to be reassured in the view that the Arabs are hopeless and their region doomed to everlasting tyranny.

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