The Arab Spring: Has It Failed?
A quest for democracy has been underway in North Africa and the Middle East since 2010. Supporters of democracy for the region may assume that the Arab Spring movement is doomed, with a military coup that deposed Egypt’s elected president and civil war raging in Syria, suggests an essay in The Economist. Critics may blame Islam, the predominant religion, and suggest that modern authoritarianism is needed. Yet “Democratic transitions are often violent and lengthy,” the introductory essay to a special section contends. The writer describes Egypt’s coup as tragic, adding “Had the Muslim Brotherhood remained in power, they might have learned the tolerance and pragmatism needed for running a country.” Islamist politicians in Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia have demonstrated that they can adopt democratic habits and practices, and history tends to summarize long struggles and overlook setbacks. The essay concludes that the Arab reawakening – encouraged by the internet and global conversations – cannot be erased or ignored, that the Arab experiment in democracy could take decades. – YaleGlobal