This succinct, timely analysis situates the assault on Libya in the context of the winds of revolt that swept through the Middle East in the Spring of Author Vijay Prashad. Letters to Palestine. Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. Red Star Over the Third World. Author Peter Frankopan.
“Arab Spring, Libyan Winter” by Vijay Prashad
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Bookends and reading rests Reading Accessories Bookmarks. Posters Gift Tags. On December 17, , the central Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi — a graduate who could find no other work — set himself on fire; he died on January, 11, Nationwide protests erupted, and within three days the year reign of Zine el Abedine Ben Ali ended as the despot fled to Saudi Arabia.
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They had had enough. Of course the international media loved the events in Tunisia and Egypt. Young people using the latest gadgets to tweet, facebook, and text their plans were, it seemed, the embodiment of technologically-driven liberation. Furthermore, the young protesters infuriated their rulers, who were bewildered at their own inability to control the protests and, in the glare of instant video and mobile-phone images, could not respond with their usual violence.
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Yet when it came to elections, the tech-savvy urban youth, without the funds to create a mass base or organise nationally, stood little chance. In Tunisia, where the electoral law required half the candidates to be women and the names of male and female candidates were alternated on the ballot papers, the Islamist party, Ennahda, also won.
What the media missed was that trouble had been simmering for a long time and that a key cause was a material one, namely mass hunger — as it had been in the French Revolution. The Russian and Australian droughts had pushed grain prices sharply upwards; both Egypt and Tunisia import wheat, and angry demonstrations about food prices and cuts in subsidies occurred repeatedly in the years thereafter. The reasons are not far to seek; Bahrain hosts the U. All those regimes get away with repressing their Shia minorities.
For the west, the exceptions were Syria and Libya. The Syrian tragedy is still unfolding, as international action is blocked by strategic and other alliances, as well as Russian and Chinese anger over the way the Atlantic powers traduced the United Nations Security Council in order to impose violent regime change on Libya.
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Millions of Syrians are paying a terrible price. Over Libya, Prashad shows just how dirty western conduct has been. The chaos following the illegal invasion of Iraq in , however, revived western fears over access to oil; George W. Bush and Tony Blair renewed links with Qadhafi, who while no saint himself was now easy prey for Libyan neoliberals — including his son Saif al-Islam, the politician Mahmoud Jibril, the oil corporations, and consultants like McKinsey.
Sensing likely exclusion from the spoils, the eastern region of Cyrenaica rebelled.
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