Monday, April 28, 2014

“Change is a healthy thing. The most important thing that happened in this change (Arab Spring) is that there has been a place for the youth — the youth have been an important element of change — and that’s new.
“They are taking their own destiny and saying, ‘Yes. I can do something about it.’ Before they used to say, ‘This is none of my business. There’s too much corruption; there’s too much of this and I can’t help it. O.K., give me immigration. I want to leave.’ Now they are really going to the squares.”

“The flowering of the Spring was done by youth and women.”

“I think what the youth did in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen is that they played the historical role — they broke 60 years [of stagnation due to corruption].
“That was their role. It is not up to them to take it to the second stage. This is left to the politicians, to intellectuals, to other forces in society.
“When they took over, they made a mess of it, but the youth played that historical role. Good for them; we’re all happy about it.
“They are still there — they are watching. If things don’t fix themselves, they’re going to jump back again.

Above are excerpts from a conversation between Raghida Dergham of the Beirut Institute, former Yemeni Prime Minister Abdul Karim Al-Iryani and Abdulkhaleq Abdulla of UAE University.

Revolution is in the air. It truly is an unstoppable force. It spreads like wildfire.

Many comparisons can be drawn between the Arab Spring and other protests around the world — in Taiwan, Venezuela, etc. But what is it that Russia is missing in its quest for reform? Could it be youth?

What we see clearly from these protests and political upheavals is that true change only comes when the force is bottom-up — and not top-down. There’s been enough of that top-down nonsense it seems.

The youth might be directionless, audacious, messy and, sometimes, just plain rude, but one cannot help but applaud their efforts, for they are doing for others what others cannot do themselves: they are being change.

It’s scary, I know. I feel it just as strongly as the next person. I don’t want to see rioting on the television and in my morning newspaper, but isn’t this what we pray for in a democracy? — an impetus for change and an intolerance for mediocracy. JSF.

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