Demise of the Dictators

Fouad Ajami is a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. In this article, Demise of the Dictators, from Newsweek of 14th February 2011 he puts “the Arab revolution of 2011” into perspective.

He begins:

Historians of revolutions are never sure as to when these great upheavals in human affairs begin. But the historians will not puzzle long over the Arab Revolution of 2011. They will know, with precision, when and where the political tsunami that shook the entrenched tyrannies first erupted. A young Tunisian vegetable seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, in the hardscrabble provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, set himself on fire after his cart was confiscated and a headstrong policewoman slapped him across the face in broad daylight. The Arab dictators had taken their people out of politics, they had erected and fortified a large Arab prison, reduced men and women to mere spectators of their own destiny, and the simple man in that forlorn Tunisian town called his fellow Arabs back into the political world.

Ajami’s eloquent piece ends thus:

From afar, the “realists” tell the Arabs that they are playing with fire, that beyond the prison walls there is danger and chaos. Luckily for them, the Arabs pay no heed to these realists, and can recognize the “soft bigotry of low expectations” that animates them. Arabs have quit railing against powers beyond and infidels and foreign conspiracies. For now they are out making and claiming their own history.

Interesting choice to quote a George W. Bush speech in his last point.

Ajami , Fouad . “Demise of the Dictators.” Newsweek, published 6 Feb. 2011. Web. Accessed 27 Feb. 2011. <>.

Other articles of note on the people’s uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya also consider the issues at the heart of the matter: the desire to live a safe, free and happy life:

Stealing Libya’s Revolution by Michael Mullins, Eureka Street, February 28, 2011.

Egypt’s Revolution Belongs to the Young People, Not the Muslim Brotherhood by H. Boulard & S. Chafik, AsiaNews, February 7, 2011.

The Springtime of the Arab World by Samir Khalil Samir, AsiaNews, February 24, 2011.

morgestraich & latärne by dongga BS at


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