A recent Financial Times article argued that inflation could have been an important contributor that spurred the revolution in Egypt and Tunisia. We cannot ignore the fact that economic repression and the lack of opportunity (youth unemployment) were important contributing forces. Also equally important are the political factors. Egyptians and Tunisians have been denied many political and social rights – the right to a free press, for some to practice their religion, and to assemble an effective opposition. This kind of economic, political, social repression as well as corruption are perhaps the biggest factors that encouraged the revolution.
Much has been said about the importance of social media in propagating the revolution. A recent panel that we hosted at the College of Wooster featured Ms Hoda, Skyping in from Egypt. We also “conferenced-in” a Tunisian professor, Mehdi Ben Guirat. These speakers interacted with our students and a local panel, including Wooster student Adel El-Adawy, and Professors Matt Krain (Poli Sci), and Mazen Naous (English). The panelists suggested that since few Egyptians and Tunisians have access to social media, facebook and twitter were perhaps not as important as it would seem. Personal networks seemed more important in spreading the revolution.
The situation in the Middle East and North Africa continues to evolve. Check out our Wiki for more information. More importantly, continue the conversation with us. On Tuesday February 15th, come join us at the CDGE Lounge at 4pm for a panel on “Contemporary challenges in the Middle East and the Islamic World”. Mazier Bahari, an Iranian Canadian Journalist and Maher El-Adawy, an Egyptian diplomat will share thoughts and answer questions. Later that evening, Bahari will give a lecture on “Iran: Then and Now” in Scheide at 7pm. On Wednesday, join us for one more lecture in Scheide sponsored by the Great Decision Series on Egypt by Maher El-Adawy. Listen to three generations of El-Adways on WKSU.