Friday, 18 February 2011

Arabian Spring: Storm in the Desert

Background: Desert Storm and Shifting Sands

The desert landscape whilst breath-taking and awe-inspiring is rather bitter, bleak and prone to change. The winds blow one way and huge sand formations - dunes, shift. To be out in the desert when this occurs is challenging - fixed points no longer appear to be where they were and for those not versed in the art of desert survival, the disorientation and the lack of being able to mark out your navigation points to safety, can mean incumbent disaster.

The point is, whilst we may be nostalgic about, and sometimes at pains at, how things are, sometimes radical shifts occur. This means it's not the same any-more and in the midst of change, we have to navigate our  own unique ways through to betterment and safety. Whilst the changing nature of the desert makes it less predictable, the constructs of society are more within human control. It is perhaps easier, to find pathways in society than it is in the desert. We can shape, change and build, in a way that we can't tame nature. 

As I write, we are living in the midst of significant shifting of sands. The Arab World is demanding change. What we see in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Yemen, in Saudi Arabia, in Libya, in Bahrain, in Algeria - over and over, is the demand for change. Today, thousands of  people in Bahrain have entered Pearl Square - the tanks and the security forces are in direct conflict with the crowds. In Libya too, anti-government protesters are out in the streets and there appears to be little stopping of opposition movements across the region.

Living in the UAE, the tides of unrest and the storms within the Arabian landscape, are felt ever more powerfully here. The nature of the protest movements and how they have spread his interests me as a student of Digital Technologies and Communication. The political and social dimensions are important to me as a Muslim too. Governments are watching and waiting to see how this unfolds.

continued in the next posting

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