“Arab Spring”

Oliver Kearns on pambazuka.org has drawn my attention to a powerfully multimodal critique of the narrative of the “Arab spring” that the mainstream news has been following. Swamppost‘s dynamic map highlights the truly global range of protest. North Africa and the Middle East are there. And so is – by mid-February – South Korea, the USA, the UK, and a long stretch along the eastern coast of Africa.


My point in highlighting this is not necessarily to argue that all protests happening across the world should be understood as developing as part of a homogeneous protest wave – each protest movement has its own particular dynamics and reasons for evolving the way it has. What I am arguing is that the public narrative of an Arab Spring excludes much of the world’s population both from public attention and concern and from discussion of what meaningful political change might look like and how it can be supported by people in other places.


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