Arab Spring: Against Shallow Optimism and Pessimism

Said, Atef

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/03/2017
Year Published:  2017  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21549

Book review of Gilbert Achcar's Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising, and Joel Beinin's Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.



In 2011, millions in the Middle East and around the world rejoiced over the Arab Spring uprisings. By 2013, however, most were disappointed at the apparent major defeat of these uprisings.

What went wrong? People had moved from extreme optimism to extreme pessimism. Was the problem in the actual events that happened, or in people's perception of these events? Will getting the story right help us navigate the way between (shallow) optimism and (shallow) pessimism?

Grasping the multifaceted complexity of the story will not only shield us from superficial political emotions, but will also provide us with the right lessons for future conflicts. Morbid Symptoms, by Gilbert Achcar, and Workers and Thieves, by Joel Beinin, are good exemplars of critical analyses that aim to get the story right.