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The Arab Spring In Winter

2011 was the year of “the Arab Spring.” As the year ends, we ask where it really stands.

Egyptian protesters throw rocks at military police during clashes near Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Activists say the clashes began after soldiers severely beat a young man who was part of a sit-in protest outside the Cabinet building. (AP)

Egyptian protesters throw rocks at military police during clashes near Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Activists say the clashes began after soldiers severely beat a young man who was part of a sit-in protest outside the Cabinet building. (AP)

Wherever it goes, however it ultimately unfolds, 2011 will be remembered as the year of the Arab Spring. Those jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring nights in February when masses of Egyptians shouted down a tyrant in Tahrir Square.

The Tunisian fruit vendor who preferred burning alive to submission. The uprisings in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya. The crowds still singing and dancing and dying for change, rolling straight into gunfire in Syria. It’s felt epochal. It’s been inspiring. Where does it go? What has it meant? What will it mean?

This hour, On Point: the year of the Arab Spring.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Shadi Hamid, expert on Arab politics and democratization in the Middle East at the Brookings Institution.

Rami Khouri, an internationally-syndicated columnist and editor-at-large for Lebanon’s Daily Star Newspaper and Director of the Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University in Beirut.

Anthony Shadid, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

From Tom’s Reading List

Slate “A year ago, the unrest that came to be known as the Arab Spring had yet to be sprung. The anniversary most point to in retrospect – the self-immolation of a jobless Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, to protest his treatment at the hands of a dictator’s police, took place on December 17, 2010. Within a month, the unrest that began with Bouazizi’s suicide ultimately toppled that dictator.”

Foreign Policy “Egypt is spinning out of control. But it’s not only the fault of the ruling military junta — the protesters in the street deserve plenty of blame, too. ”

Al Jazeera “Thousands of people filled the streets of the Egyptian capital on Tuesday in protest against the beating of female protesters by the ruling military during clashes in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square.”

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