Weekend Roundup: The Bitter Fruits of the Arab Spring

The tragic outcome of the Arab Spring doesn’t get any less bitter with time. The repercussions of that pan-Arab rebellion five years ago are still traumatizing the region and the world.

As Amira Yahyaoui wrote from Tunis earlier this month, even in Tunisia a counterrevolutionary narrative of “it was better before” is taking hold as virulent protests against the lack of jobs have erupted. Egypt has gone from repressive autocracy to revolt to democratic elections back to repressive autocracy. The self-described Islamic State is establishing bases in the post-Gaddafi vacuum in Libya. Assad’s ruthless resistance to the revolt in Syria has devastated that country.

From Greece to Denmark, political reaction to the influx of refugees fleeing the carnage poses the most serious challenge yet to the decades-long advance toward an integrated Europe with open borders.

Writing from Cairo on the anniversary this week of the Egyptian uprising against then-President Hosni Mubarak, Walid Akef says his country today is like “hell” after the “paradise” of the Arab Spring. “I had a dream like any other Egyptian,” he writes. “I lived through the unforgettable moment when Mubarak was obliged to cede the throne. I was waiting for a new Egypt, for a different future to come. Now, we are living through the worst moments Egypt has ever lived. Yet even in this complex reality, we still have hope.” In an interview, Egyptian historian Khaled Fahmy recalls the excitement of the Tahrir Square protests and his support of, and then disillusionment with, the Muslim Brotherhood. His great regret, like so many others, is that “we didn’t transform this energy into something more durable.” World Social Media Editor Rowaida Abdelaziz talks to the Egyptian artist Ganzeer, whose —> Read More