The Arab Revolution: Ten Lessons from the Democratic Uprising

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Oxford University Press, USA, Nov 23, 2011 - History - 195 pages
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The Arab revolutions that began in Tunisia in early 2011 spread like wildfire through the region, shocking observers across the world who had thought that Arab societies were incapable of turning on their repressive regimes. As Jean-Piere Filiu shows in his concise yet sweeping account of the revolution's pivotal first stage, the revolts that began in Tunis and continue today in Syria have exposed the fallacy of Western pronouncements about Islamic societies' inability to incubate modern democratic movements.Stressing the deep historical roots of the events and organizing the book around 'ten lessons,' Filiu's authoritative command of the events in all their diversity shines through. Facebook-savvy youth from the urban middle class proved central in the relatively leaderless movement that drove events in Egypt, but disenfranchised youths from the wrong side of the tracks spearheaded the Tunisian revolution. Regardless of who led the revolution, ruling regimes that have managed to survive are attempting to adapt, whether through carrots or sticks. As we move forward, one of the most intriguing issues is the role that political Islam, particularly in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, will play in evolving Arab societies. Will they embrace democracy and higher levels of tolerance, following a Turkish model? Recent events in Egypt suggest that this may be indeed be the case, which will undercut much of what Western commentators have said about the movement for decades. Interestingly, the main losers could well be the jihadi groups whose discourse and violence have been invalidated by the mass protests and their pluralist agendas. Regardless, even though the situation is still volatile, nothing will be the same again in the Arab world. Filiu's taut account of this major revolutionary movement points to what else might change, and at what cost.

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1 Arabs are no exception
2 Muslims are not only Muslims
3 Anger is power for the younger
4 Social networks work
5 Leaderless movements can win
6 The alternative to democracy is chaos
7 Islamists must choose
9 Palestine is still the mantra
10 No domino effect in the renaissance
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8 Jihadis could become obsolete

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About the author (2011)

Jean-Pierre Filiu is Professor of Middle East Studies at Sciences Po in Paris, and has held visiting professorships at both Columbia University and Georgetown University. His book The Apocalypse in Islam was awarded the main prize by the French History Association. His books on the Arab world have been published in a dozen languages.

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