We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lapp√©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, September 2, 2011

Escaping Mumana'a and the US-Saudi Counter-Revolution: Syria, Yemen, and Visions of Democracy

Click here to access article by Ahmad Shokr and Anjali Kamat from Jadaliyya. 

This is an interview with Fawwaz Trabulsi, a Lebanese leftist historian at Lebanese American University in Beirut, who provides a number of interesting insights on what is happening in the Middle East with a focus on Syria and Yemen. For example, regarding Syria:
Now, one thing should be said about the Syrian movement: it’s been very much a rural movement. Contrary to the Egyptian revolution, which was almost entirely urban, the Syrian uprising is not. There are a couple of reasons for this.... 
And, regarding Yemen:
The positive thing that has happened recently is that the Yemeni opposition has united to elect what they call a transitional national council—majlis watani intiqali. It was inspired by the initial Egyptian transitional council that never materialized, but in Yemen they actually did it. I think it has 142 people representing all the regions of Yemen. The council was declared late last month against a lot of pressure on the more traditional opposition by both the American administration and the Saudis to delay its formation as it “complicates matters.”