The Arab Spring (Arabic: الثورات العربية; literally the Arabic Rebellions or the Arab Revolutions) is a name used for a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests that have been taking place in the Middle East and North Africa since 18 December 2010.
- Alphabetized by author
- People all over the Arab world feel a sense of pride in shaking off decades of cowed passivity under dictatorships that ruled with no deference to popular wishes. And it has become respectable in the West as well. Egypt is now thought of as an exciting and progressive place; its people’s expressions of solidarity are welcomed by demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin; and its bright young activists are seen as models for a new kind of twenty-first-century mobilization. Events in the Arab world are being covered by the Western media more extensively than ever before and are being talked about positively in a fashion that is unprecedented. Before, when anything Muslim or Middle Eastern or Arab was reported on, it was almost always with a heavy negative connotation. Now, during this Arab spring, this has ceased to be the case. An area that was a byword for political stagnation is witnessing a rapid transformation that has caught the attention of the world.
- Though it took a decade to find bin Laden, there is one consolation for his long evasion of justice: He lived long enough to witness what some are calling the Arab Spring, the complete repudiation of his violent ideology.
As we debate how the United States can best influence the course of the Arab Spring, can’t we all agree that the most obvious thing we can do is stand as an example of a nation that holds an individual’s human rights as superior to the will of the majority or the wishes of government? Individuals might forfeit their life as punishment for breaking laws, but even then, as recognized in our Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, they are still entitled to respect for their basic human dignity, even if they have denied that respect to others.
- There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same. … Egyptians have inspired us, and they’ve done so by putting the lie to the idea that justice is best gained through violence. For in Egypt, it was the moral force of nonviolence — not terrorism, not mindless killing — but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more. … Today belongs to the people of Egypt, and the American people are moved by these scenes in Cairo and across Egypt because of who we are as a people and the kind of world that we want our children to grow up in.
The word Tahrir means liberation. It is a word that speaks to that something in our souls that cries out for freedom. And forevermore it will remind us of the Egyptian people — of what they did, of the things that they stood for, and how they changed their country, and in doing so changed the world.
- What happened in Abbottobad … has been the second death of Osama bin Laden. His physical one. Meanwhile, his symbolic, political and ideological [death] had already occurred on the squares of Cairo, Tunis, Damascus and Bengasi, where Al Qaeda had been ignored. Nobody exhalted it. Nobody mentioned it. The "Arab spring" has blossomed and exploded for want of democracy and freedom. It is not provoked by Islamic fanaticism, and even less inspired by the idea of a caliphate... launched by bin Laden. His terroristic instrument, Al Qaeda … has been, and is, ignored by the Egyptian, Tunisian, Syrian or Libyan youth. For them, [Al Qaeda] is a bloodstained and obsolete tool. It is not a choice. It is outdated, even if its sporadic followers are still able to strike. Before the Americans, bin Laden had been symbolically killed by the people on Tahrir square and Burghiba avenue.
- Bernardo Valli, in "Il giovane viziato con lo sguardo timido diventato il 'principe del terrore': I soldi del padre e la svolta nella lotta contro l'Urss in Afghanistan" in La Republica (3 May 2011)