A decade ago, the Arab uprisings were celebrated as world-changing events. Ordinary people ignited a historic upheaval of a kind the region at large has not witnessed since the anti-colonial movements of Africa and West Asia in the 1950s. Nonetheless, these united efforts against authoritarianism also morphed into divisive violence, and much of the attempt to undo unjust socio-economic conditions also faced stubborn resistance from the state, capital, and foreign interventions. We have seen a brutal descent into civil wars in Syria, Libya, and Yemen, and a succession of crackdowns in Gulf countries like Bahrain, indicating the cynical proxy logic so reminiscent of the colonial schemes this region is all too familiar with. Against the backdrop of these dynamics, it became clear that the inspiring demands “bread, freedom, justice, and dignity” were not enough to push against the waves of counter-revolution.
While considering the long-term revolutionary process as imbued with ups and downs, periods of gains and setbacks, this webinar will re-visit some of the case studies with the in-depth expertise of our speakers. We will look back to try and unearth the complex features and the trials and tribulations generically called “counter-revolution”, precisely with the intention to look forward and retain the possibility of change.
Yasser Munif is a Syrian Sociology Associate Professor in the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emerson College. He is the author of the The Syrian Revolution: Between the Politics of Life and the Geopolitics of Death.
Ala’a Shehabi is a Bahraini activist-scholar. She is the Deputy Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London (UCL). She is the co-editor of Bahrain’s Uprising: Resistance and Repression in The Gulf.
Lucia Pradella is a Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College London. She works on capitalism, border imperialism in Libya, and the disciplining of labour across the Mediterranean.
Helen Lackner has worked in all parts of Yemen since the 1970s and lived there for close to 15 years. She is the author of Yemen in Crisis, the Road to War (Verso, 2019) and is completing Yemen, Poverty and Conflict.
The discussion will be conducted in English and Arabic with simultaneous translation. Register to participate here: bit.ly/3uCbbS3
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