Monday, 21 November 2011

Should we be calling the Arab revolutions the "Arab Spring"?

Does anyone else think the term Arab Spring is rather out of line? It's a very euphemistic label employed by Western commentators that, I believe, whitewashes and severely downplays the bloodshed and the challenges Arab protesters face. It also has some serious Orientalist connotations. Protesters and journalists in the Arab world don't even use it. The Middle East is seeing revolutions, awakenings, uprisings, revolts. Thawra, intifada, nahda. 

It's just as problematic as the Arab revolutions being referred to as Facebook and Twitter revolutions. The roles of Facebook and Twitter are overemphasised in order to make the uprisings a more digestible narrative for the West. Social media websites are simply today's vehicles and platforms for sharing and organising. And you can't forget that most protesters don't even have access to the Internet or those sites. Revolution is born from a state of mind and the state of the state. Not social media sites. It implies that Arabs are out of touch and are unable to find their feet without the help of western innovations.

It wouldn't be another day without western hegemony, would it?


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